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First Driving Lesson Guide

Knowing what to expect in your first driving lesson is the best way to calm any nerves and ensure that you and your instructor get off to a great start.

Your first driving lesson: what to expect

If you’re wondering what to expect on your first driving lesson, then you’ve come to the right place. Once you book your driving lesson, you might feel a bit nervous about actually getting in the driver’s seat, but our handy guide will let you know how to prepare for your driving lesson.

The first lesson will cover the basics functions and what you will need to do before you actually set off driving; changing gears, finding the biting point, signalling – it might all sound foreign now, but after a few lessons and it’ll all be second nature.

You won’t be driving straight away, so don’t worry; your instructor will most likely take you to a quiet road before you get started. And even when you get into the driver’s seat, your instructor will talk you through the cockpit drill first.

What’s the cockpit drill?

These are basic checks you should do every time you drive. If you’re keen on abbreviations, you can remember DSSSM for short.

Doors: check all the doors are closed and locked.
Seat: adjust your seat so all the controls are within easy reach and you have a good view of the road.
Seatbelt: make sure you wear your seatbelt and ensure that all your passengers have done up their seatbelts too.
Steering: your arms should be slightly bent when holding the steering wheel, so make sure you adjust your seat accordingly.
Mirrors: adjust your front and side mirrors so you’re able to see as much of the road behind you as possible.

What next?

Once you’re in the car and have covered the cockpit drill, you’ll be introduced to the driving controls, including the clutch, accelerator, gear stick and indicator.

Your instructor will talk you through how to perform each action in easy to manage stages to help you grow comfortable in using them. There is no right or wrong amount of time to pick up these controls, so don’t feel like you have to rush to learn them. Take as long as you need.

Once you’re comfortable with the controls, it’ll be (you guessed it), time to turn on the engine and start driving!

But don’t worry, it won’t be zero to 60 in three seconds, though it might feel like it is at first – even when you’re doing 5mph on an empty stretch of road!

What will my first lesson cover?

Your first couple of lessons will focus on car control on a quiet road, which helps you get to grips with the car without the added distraction of other drivers. What your first lesson covers will depend on how quickly you take to driving. It could cover:

  • Checks to do before moving, such as checking your blind spot and all mirrors
  • Turning the engine on and finding the car’s biting point
  • Getting used to putting your car in gear
  • Signalling with your indicator
  • Stopping the car
  • Parking by the curb

We understand that this might seem a lot, but once you’re in the car with one of our excellent trainers, the time will fly by. If you’re nervous about colliding with other cars, our cars are all fitted with dual controls, meaning the instructor has a set of pedals their side to help stop the car quickly and help you gain composure again.

Whether it’s during or after your lesson, please don’t be afraid to ask any questions. They’re there to help build your knowledge and get you on the road as safely as possible.

After your first lesson

Once your lesson is coming to an end, your driving instructor will swap places with you again to drive you back (or to a previously agreed destination). They’ll then talk you through everything you have learnt and what to expect in the next lesson.

Your first driving lesson helps you get a better feel for the car you’re learning in and a great chance to get to know your instructor. Your instructor will also be able to understand more about your confidence in the driving seat, so you can both set out a plan for your driving journey.

Of course, this is only the first step in the process. Getting more time on the road with family and friends is also important once you’re comfortable with the controls. Remember: your driving instructor is your teacher, so only do as much as you’ve learned in your lessons with them. But this can be a great way of getting extra practise in for free.