What to expect from your first driving lesson

Your provisional licence has arrived, you’ve chosen a driving school, and you are about to get behind the wheel for the first time. You’re probably excited. Possibly a bit anxious. Maybe both at the same time! However you feel, here’s what to expect from your first driving lesson.

Don’t worry. Your instructor is a professional who is used to guiding nervous first-timers through the techniques needed to drive a car. They’ll start you off with the basics.

Getting ready

A good night’s rest will make sure you are alert and ready to learn. Have something to eat and drink before the lesson starts to keep your energy levels up. It’s best to wear comfortable clothes and shoes that will allow you to operate the pedals easily.

Don’t forget to have your provisional licence with you, and keep an eye out in case the instructor waits for you outside rather than ringing the doorbell.

Passenger ride

Don’t expect to be thrown in at the deep end. Your instructor will take you to a quiet road before swapping seats. Listen to what they tell you as it will be your turn in a minute!

Before you drive

There are some checks you should always make before you set off. Many instructors will use an acronym to help you remember. DSSSM is one you may be taught in lesson one.

  • Doors securely closed
  • Seat in a comfortable position
  • Steering wheel is positioned correctly
  • Seat belt on
  • Mirrors adjusted

The controls

Next, you’ll learn what the controls do. You probably have a pretty good idea already, but the instructor won’t take anything for granted. They’ll give you a rundown on steering, what all the pedals do (three in a manual, two in an automatic) and the gear lever and handbrake. Ask them to repeat anything that isn’t clear to you.

Moving off

You’ll learn how to pull away. Each and every time you move off you have to be safe as well as in control of the car. That means checking in your mirrors, looking over your shoulder to check your blind spot, and signaling before moving off: mirror, signal, manoeuvre, or MSM for short.

To pull away smoothly you’ll need to learn how to balance the clutch and throttle, and find the ‘biting point’ (you’ll hear the engine note change and the car will want to move forwards). You’ll learn how to stop without stalling and will find out how to use the gears.

It’s going to be okay!

So, that’s what to expect from your first driving lesson. Remember, the instructor has their own pedals so they can stop the car if necessary. Put your faith in them, and believe in yourself too!

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