We know that driving lessons aren’t cheap. So how do you get the most from your lessons and increase your chances of passing first time? We’ve got lots of driving lesson tips from driving instructors and experienced drivers, giving you practical advice that really helps.
If you’re new to driving and fretting about your very first lesson, check out our First Driving Lesson page. It’s packed full of advice and tips especially for you.
There are a few steps that you can take to ensure that you feel fresh and ready for driving lessons. Book them at a time when you’re feeling at your most alert, awake and receptive to learning. Are you an early-bird-catches-the-worm type, or do you spend your mornings battling with the alarm clock and don’t feel truly awake until lunchtime? Just try to pick a time which suits you and fits around your daily schedule.
The right instructor
Over the coming months you'll be spending a lot of time with your driving instructor, so it can make all the difference when you are learning with someone that meets your needs and that you get on with.
Studies show that being happy, calm and relaxed helps you to learn and remember better. So don't be afraid to change instructors if you don't feel that they provide the right environment. A good driving instructor should be experienced and qualified, as well as someone you feel comfortable with and trust.
Start prepping for your theory test now
It may seem like early days, but preparing for your theory test from the get-go will help you perform better and get more from your driving lessons. Familiarising yourself with road signs and the Highway Code early on means you’ll feel more confident during your lessons. Check out our How Many Lessons Should I Take? section for advice on when to book your theory test.
Check a map of your test area
Not everyone has a great built-in sense of direction. Get a head start by checking out a map of the area where you’ll be taking your driving test. This will prepare you for the roads you’re going to be driving on and means you can identify any tricky junctions, one way streets and roundabouts.
Are you taking any medications? Some medicines can cause drowsiness, anti-histamines for example - so take this into consideration when you’re scheduling your lesson times. If in doubt it doesn't hurt to check your medication for advice about driving.
Be realistic with your learning goals - break up your learning
Learning to drive takes time. No one’s going to be able to pick it all up at once. Break your learning up into smaller, bite-size chunks. Instead of trying to do it all, focus on learning new skills in every lesson, and you’ll soon build up your learning in a safe and solid way that’ll serve you for the rest of your driving life.
Forget the test - learn for life
Every learner driver is focused on, or stressing about, their test. It pays to remember that your driving lessons are about far more than passing first time. They’re about giving you the vital skills you need to drive safely for the rest of your life. Bear this in mind rather than just focusing on your test. Ask yourself if you’d feel safe driving with a small child in the back of your learner car - that’s when you know you’re really ready.
What to wear? Driving lessons can be stressful, so think about what to wear to make sure you’re as comfortable as possible. Stick to clothes that aren’t restrictive, allow for easy movement, and that aren’t too hot or heavy.
Put your best foot forward - it might not be the first thing you think about when you start driving lessons, but wearing the right footwear makes a big difference. Heels, and heavy footwear with thick soles, aren’t ideal. Clunky shoes make you a clunky driver. Stick to flat, thin-soled shoes so that you can really feel the car respond to what you’re doing.
Take a chill pill
Nerves and anxiety have been the cause of many failed driving tests and plenty of stressful lessons too. There are lots of relaxation techniques you can use, during lessons and in-between lessons, to reduce your anxiety levels and help you perform better behind the wheel:
- Get enough sleep
- Stay hydrated
- Practise deep breathing exercises
Take time out from work, your studies, or cramming for your theory test regularly - and spend some time doing something you love - rewarding yourself and giving your brain and body a break can really help
Studies have shown that people learn more effectively when they’re happy. Staying positive about your driving experiences can really help. Make changes to your thinking patterns so you’re focusing on the positives rather than the negatives.
- Think about all the aspects of driving that you really love - from the feel of driving on an open road, to the excitement you felt when you completed your first successful manoeuvre
- Don’t beat yourself up over your mistakes - everyone makes them. This is a learning process, and mistakes give you the opportunity to learn and improve.