No matter how old you are or how much life experience you consider yourself to have, it goes without saying that the first time behind a steering wheel can be an incredibly nerve-wracking experience.
Most first-timers have a lot of pre-conceptions which can cause worries and even sleepless nights as they prepare for their first driving lesson.
The good news is that a competent, fully-qualified instructor will be able to allay these fears and help you to relax as you embark on the journey of a lifetime: a journey of new independence when you eventually remove those L-plates and get on the road by yourself!
What should I do before my first lesson?
- Ensure you get plenty of rest the night before. Tiredness reduces reaction times.
- Be certain to choose comfortable, suitable footwear. Driving lessons on average last between one and two hours, so the more comfortable you are the better.
- If you wear glasses or contact lenses, ensure you bring them with you. Before allowing you to drive, your instructor will most likely expect you to be able read car registration numbers at distance.
- Above all – REMEMBER to bring your provisional licence. You won’t be allowed to partake in a lesson without it.
How does a typical first lesson pan out?
Don’t worry – you won’t be getting behind the wheel straight away! Your instructor will pick you up and take you to a designated area or quiet road with low traffic volumes. It’s only natural that you might be feeling nervous at this point, although a good instructor will put you at ease, before explaining the safety checks you need to do before starting the vehicle (sometimes referred to ask the cockpit drill).
Once you’ve got to grips to this, your instructor will explain the controls of the vehicle in a clear and concise manner – what the clutch, accelerator and brake do (and where they are positioned), how to use the handbrake, how and when to indicate and how to change gears.
Don’t be surprised if it takes you more than a couple of tries before you can successfully start the car – with the right instructor, anybody can drive – it just takes a little patience!
Once you’re comfortable with starting a vehicle, you’ll get a chance to get to grips with driving the vehicle along a stretch of empty road. Don’t be worried about making mistakes – your instructor has their own set of controls, which will prevent you from causing any damage!
Above all, the important thing is to enjoy the experience, learn from it and look towards passing that test!