Finally it’s the day of your first driving test! Your driving instructor is rearing to go and you’re ready to get in the car for the first time. While this is naturally an exciting time – it can also be stressful!
One thing that can really help is knowing what to expect! If you know what’s coming it’ll be easier for you to pick things up. This can feel confident about steps further down the line.
Here are 6 steps to take in order to ensure your first driving lesson goes to plan and you come out thirsty for more!
What to do before your driving lesson
- Sleep! Make sure you get a good night’s sleep beforehand
- Take a night off alcohol beforehand
- Don’t show up on an empty stomach
- Make sure you’ve confirmed the time and location of your pickup
What to take to your lesson:
- Comfortable shoes that don’t come off easily
- Contact lenses (in your eyes) or glasses if applicable
- Flask/bottle of water
- Provisional license
Getting picked up for your first driving lesson
Try not to be late! Time is money. While many driving instructors will wait in their car, some will ring your doorbell and greet you at the door so pay attention when it gets closer to your pickup time.
One thing many learner drivers worry about is having to get in the drivers seat right off the bat – don’t worry about this! You’ll be in the passenger seat until your driving instructor has had the chance to take you somewhere a little quieter and teach you the basics.
The car cockpit drill
Once at a quieter road with less traffic, it’s your turn to get into the drivers seat!
Your driving instructor should take you through the cockpit drill. This is where they will show you the important checks you need to carry out every time you drive so, so pay attention! Getting into a habit of doing these from the get go is important, in due course they will become second nature.
- Are all doors closed properly?
- Car seat in an acceptable position?
- Steering position established?
- Seatbelts on?
- Mirrors adjusted?
After the cockpit drill, your instructor will run you through the clutch, brake and accelerator followed by how the indicator and handbrake work and well as how to change gear. These things can be tricky to grasp initially so don’t be hard on yourself if it takes you a little while to get used to.
Make sure that you are confident with these fundamentals before you get on the road – your driving instructor should be accommodating to this and talk you through each stage step my step if you’re finding it a little tricky. Never be afraid to ask!
Two hours is a good amount of time for one’s first lesson. It gives you a chance to get a feel for the fundamentals and get a small amount of driving in too. The first two hours always fly right by!
Your driving instructor will probably run you through a number of procedures before you rev up the engine for the first time.
Here are a couple of things you’re likely to be taught in your first session:
- Getting prepped to use your gears
- Biting point + clutch control
- Checking your blind spot and mirrors
- Shifting gear
- Bringing the car to a stop, covering the brake and the clutch
- Parking on the side of a curb
While it may seem like a lot, try and stay calm and know that your driver has their own set of controls; this should allow you to focus on absorbing all of this new information without being too worried! If you feel comfortable enough and your instructor is happy try and get some time on the road so you can experience what it’ll be like when you’re fully qualified.
Following your first driving lesson
Reflect on your first lesson before your instructor has dropped you off. Mention anything you think went particularly well as well as anything you’d like to spend a little more time on in your next session.
Many driving instructors offer markdowns for block bookings – try and take advantage of this if it suits you. Most instructors recommend between 2-6 hours weekly. This tends to be the sweet spot between taking too much time between lessons and rushing. If you’d like to get a gauge of how long this will take you/how many hours of tuition you’ll require read our piece on how many driving lessons you’ll need in order to pass your test first time round.
The most important thing is to keep moving at your own pace, continuing to ask your instructor questions and most of all to stay safe and enjoy the experience!
Let us know in the comments what your first driving lesson experience was like! Did we miss anything out? Do you have any tips from your own personal experiences?