Ahh your first time. That nervous excitement. It’s actually happening. You’ve fantasized about this moment… and sure, you’ve seen videos, you’ve practiced in your head, but now you’re here… you don’t quite know what goes where. Where should you look? How hard should you push? How do you coordinate everything?
Driving lessons, amirite.
If you’re anything like me, you want to over prepare for everything. And my first driving lesson was no different. In this video we’ll go over some ways you can prepare for your first lesson and some practical things you can do the night before, so stick around for that.
First up: practicing with parents. This might be tempting to do before your first lesson but the risk is you’ll pick up some bad habits that will be hard to unlearn. Make your first experience behind the wheel with a qualified instructor. After you’ve had some lessons, then it’s a good idea to get lots of practice on the road with a parent, so you know you’re practicing the correct way to do things.
A good thing early on is go over the Highway Code and use Theory and Hazard Perception apps to familiarise yourself with the rules of the road. When you first start driving you’ll have sensory overload – not only do you have to operate this machine you’ve never used before, but you have to do it safely and avoid hitting anyone. It’s a lot all at once.
So having a solid understanding of how the road works is a really helpful base to build from.
However, it’s one thing to read about it and another to experience it. So, also spend some time as a passenger closely watching how the driver uses the car and interacts with the road.
As passengers we often switch off and just let the car go, but try paying attention to the driver. When do they change gears? How do they react to other road users and road signs?
Being able to pair control of the car with an understanding of the road is fundamental to being a good driver. And it starts here.
You can also watch driving lessons on Youtube to get a feeling of how your lessons will be. But do keep in mind that lessons are highly personal and your experience will be different.
The reality is that, although these things will help, it will all go out the window the moment you first press the gas. But you can put yourself in the best possible condition on the day of your lesson with a few simple but effective things.
First off, know all the details of your lesson. What time is it? Where is it? How are you gonna get there? Have your provisional license ready and know how you’re going to pay. If you need glasses make sure they aren’t lost. Don’t be stressing about these details.
Second, wear something comfy that you feel relaxed in, and most importantly wear sensible shoes. So much of driving is feeling the engine vibrations through the pedals and so if you wear heavy boots, you’re majorly limiting what you can sense. Flip flops and high heels are also difficult to drive in. Your safest bet is your favourite pair of trainers. You know those ones that you’ve worn ragged. Those ones.
Get a good night’s sleep and if you know you aren’t a morning person, book your lesson for the afternoon.
If you like to have breakfast or lunch, eat before your lesson. If you’re too nervous don’t force yourself to eat, although making a piece of toast or something simple is a good way to occupy your mind.
Also, stay hydrated. Everyone says it and it’s true, drinking enough water is the best way to keep your body and mind operating at peak condition.
Finally, don’t be afraid to ask your instructor what you’ll cover in your first lesson. Most first lessons follow a similar format so you’ll be able to find examples online. Knowing what to expect can be a great way of calming your nerves.
Most of all, don’t panic. Being nervous and a bit excited is totally normal – whatever you’re worried about, don’t worry, your instructor will have seen it all before!
Find a RED Driving Instructor near you
RED’s experienced instructors operate nationwide. So whether you’re learning in Newcastle or Norwich or Plymouth or Preston, they’ll find the perfect instructor to help you on your journey to passing.