Feeling nervous or anxious about your first driving lesson? Don’t worry, every single person who currently drives has been there, and they will tell you the same thing; There isn’t anything to worry about. This may sound like a generic, throwaway comment, but just remember that you’re in safe hands! We’ve compiled our top 10 tips for your first lesson. If you follow these and stick to the lesson plans you’ll be passing your driving test in no time!
1. Highway Code
You may think that The Highway Code is quite old fashioned, and may be overlooked in this digital age, but for those looking (Not to worry you can get it on your kindle) the guide is always a great starting point for first-time drivers. Familiarise yourself with this and pay attention to the various road signs within the book – not only will this help you for your first lesson but it will also put you in good stead for your provisional test!
2. Provisional License
I know this might seem like an easy one but you need to remember to bring your provisional license for your first lesson so that your instructor knows you can legally get on the road! You can apply for your provisional license here or at your local post office, make sure you do it in advance so it has time to arrive.
3. Footwear/ Clothing
There’s no need to dress to impress on your first driving lesson – our advice would always be dress in something comfortable (Unless you’re comfortable in a tuxedo, then go for it!). You want to wear something that doesn’t restrict your movement as you need to move your feet and arms around a lot. Wear comfortable trainers with thin soles so that you can control the clutch, brake and accelerator easier.
4. Glasses/ Contact lenses
Remember to bring your glasses or put your contact lenses, your instructor will make you read a number plate 20 meters in front of you. If you haven’t had an eye test in a while then it is probably a good idea to get your prescription up to date. It’s really important to ensure you have clear vision so you can see your surroundings and any road signs.
5. Cockpit Drill
It’s finally here, the moment you’ve been waiting for – you’re in the driving seat and you’re ready to start driving! Your instructor will talk you through the cockpit drill or the DSSSM. Are the doors closed? Seat in a comfortable position? Steering position established? Seatbelts on? Mirrors adjusted? Get used to this and remember it because you’re going to need to do this every time you drive.
6. Don’t Be Afraid to Speak Up and Ask Questions
Your driving instructor (your Passmate!) is your friend and your coach/ teacher, they are definitely not here to judge you and will most likely prefer if you ask questions. If there is something you are unsure of such as the clutch/ how your mirrors should be positioned/ how to hold the steering wheel then ask ask ask ask ask! It will spark a beneficial discussion between the two of you which will most likely result in you learning something new!
7. Book a lesson time that suits you
If you’re not a morning person (I definitely am not) then don’t book your driving lesson for 7 am when you know you could be feeling groggy or tired – book it when you feel you know you’ll be at your peak performance both mentally and physically. Arrive to your lesson having had a good clear nights sleep and under no circumstances consume alcohol the night before!
8. Don’t worry or panic
Try not to get yourself worked up or arrive feeling anxious/ nervous. This is only your first driving lesson, it is extremely unlikely you’ll be tackling any sort of manoeuvres such as a three-point turn, parallel park and bay parking or driving on motorways – unless it turns out you’re some sort of superstar driver. Your first lesson will mostly consist of you getting a feel for the car such as working on stopping and starting with some clutch control. Finally, stalling the car is a natural part of learning to drive and it’s nothing to worry about, just try not to do it too many times for the sake of your driving instructor neck!
9. Speak to Friends and Family
Tell them that you’ve booked your first lesson and see what problems they had on their first lesson, they can give you some extra pointers and useful information that will give you a head start before you even get into the car. Or if one of them crashed on their first lesson, for example, it might give you confidence knowing that your lesson won’t be as bad as theirs!
10. Ask for feedback at the end of your lesson
This is one of the most important tips – always ask your instructor for feedback on how they think the lesson went. This will be a great opportunity for the instructor to tell you what went well and what you need to improve on which gives you time to prepare for your next lesson!