Your first driving lesson can be daunting. You’re not sure what to expect, you often can’t picture yourself sitting in the driver’s seat being in control of a vehicle and your confidence isn’t going to be high.
There may be a lot of bravado around getting behind the wheel for the first time from some of your friends, family and colleagues, but the fact is, everyone is nervous. In this article we’ll look at what you can do to make your first driving lesson go as smoothly as possible with these 10 tips.
1. Speak to Your Instructor on the Phone Before Your Lesson
We have previously spoken about what makes a good driving instructor. Customer service is one of the most important factors. If you speak to the instructor who is going to be teaching you before your lesson, then it makes the first meeting a little less daunting. You would have already spoken, built up some rapport and it won’t be as cold an introduction as if you had spoken for the before. If you’re not confident on the phone, most instructors are more than happy to text, so that might also be a good place to start building the relationship before your first lesson.
2. Don’t Forget Your Provisional Licence
When you’re eager (or anxious) to get behind the wheel, then it can become quite easy to forget your provisional licence. You need a provisional licence to take to the road as a learner driver, so you’ll need to present it to your instructor on the first lesson so they can make a note of it. If you don’t have your provisional licence, don’t book your lesson!
3. Get a Basic Understanding of the Highway Code
Getting to grips with the basics of the Highway Code is important and gaining a basic understanding of it will set you in good stead for your first lesson, and impress your instructor. If you start learning the basics rules of the road, then you’ll be much more relaxed and confident the first time you get behind the wheel.
4. Wear Comfortable Clothes
There would be nothing worse than to take your first driving lesson wearing an outfit that isn’t comfortable. You’ll of course be sitting still for long periods of time, so wearing uncomfortable, or even worse, inappropriate clothes will hinder your concentration. Be sure to wear comfortable and loose fitting clothing.
5. Wear Practical Shoes
You’re going to be getting to grips with using pedals and getting the basics of the “biting point” right in your first lesson. So be sure to wear practical flat soles shoes. Avoid wearing heels, flip flops, platforms and wedges. A pair of trainers, or any flat soled practical shoe will do the job. There would be nothing worse than stalling because of your footwear.
6. Wear Your Glasses / Contact Lenses if You Need Them
If you normally wear contact lenses or glasses, be sure to wear them when you take driving lessons. One of the first things your instructor will do is test your eyesight with the standard sight test you’ll need to do when taking your practical driving test.
The test simply requires you to be able to read a registration plate from a distance of 20.5 meters or around 5 car lengths. You might even discover you need glasses if you’re not able to do this, so it might even be worth getting your eyes tested ahead of your lesson if you haven’t had an eye test for a long time.
7. Turn Up on Time and Well Rested
It might sound obvious, but if you are tired you won’t be able to focus. In fact, driving while tired is dangerous even for seasoned drivers of 20 years. As a first time learner, you need to make sure you turn up to your lesson well rested to maximise your concentration.
You should also leave plenty of time to prepare. If you aren’t on time it can negatively impact your lesson in 2 ways. Firstly, your instructor will be annoyed and it starts the relationship off on the wrong foot. Secondly it will make you more anxious and stressed because you’ll be rushing to get out the door on time.
8. Ask Plenty of Questions
Your driving lessons provide an opportunity to ask as many questions as you like on your journey to becoming a driver. No question is too silly or ridiculous, and your instructor would have heard them all, so use your first lesson to ask plenty of questions and develop your knowledge. Of course you should also learn the highway code and study for your theory test in your own time, but you should ask questions in your lesson as you encounter specific scenarios.
When you’re learning a new skill it’s OK to accept that you are starting from zero. Relax and try not to be anxious about your abilities behind the wheel. You are going to stall, you are going to make mistakes and you will struggle a to some degree. That is perfectly OK. You’re on a journey to becoming a driver and that isn’t going to happen overnight. Your instructor will keep you safe, so you’ll never be in a position of danger.
10. Enjoy Yourself
Learning a new skill, particularly one as empowering and exiting as driving is going to change your life for the better. Don’t forget to have fun.