It’s really up to you how much preparation you put in for your first driving lesson. Some learners prefer to prepare by gaining as much knowledge as they possibly can before their first lesson, while others are happy to leave it all for the instructor to explain.
Ultimately there’s no requirements for you to prepare anything other than to take yourself and your provisional driving licence along to your first lesson. However, good preparation often helps things to go smoothly and also helps to anxiety to a minimum. So, if preparation is your thing, here’s how to prepare for your first driving lesson:
1. Learn the Highway Code
You’ll not be doing too much driving on your first driving lesson but learning the Highway Code and having knowledge on the rules of the road will certainly prove beneficial in later driving lessons. Besides, you’ll need to learn the Highway Code in preparation for the theory test. It helps to learn the Highway Code early on as it allows you to concentrate on learning to drive and theory test study.
2. Know What’s Going to Happen on your First Driving Lesson
Knowing what’s going to happen on your first driving lesson is preparation that helps to reduce anxiety and nerves. On your first lesson, your driving instructor will introduce the car cockpit drill. This involves the instructor explaining what the essential controls do, how to use them, how to set up the car’s mirrors and how to safely adjust your seat so that you can comfortably reach the controls.
After the cockpit drill, you may go for a short drive that essentially involves you moving off from a stationary position at the side of the road and stopping next to the kerb a short distance ahead.
3. Practice Changing Gears
Learning to drive requires a lot of multitasking. Changing gears while operating the clutch, steering and observing takes some getting used to. You can prepare for your first driving lesson by practicing gear changes on a friend or family car. If you’re learning in an automatic, then there’s little point in this, but if you’re going to be driving a manual, simply practice with the engine off and with the clutch pedal fully pressed down.
Don’t worry about any techniques, just practice until you have a basic idea on how to change up through the gears from 1st to 5th (or 6th) and then back down again. Having a good idea on where each gear is will take the pressure off slightly during your lessons. You can read up on how to change up gear and how to change down gear in the learning to drive tutorials.
4. Be Prepared to Set Enough Time Each Week for Lessons
Before you start a course of driving lessons, you’ll need to ensure that set aside and have enough spare time for regular weekly lessons. This can be difficult for some busy individuals, but as driving instructors, we know that learners who take irregular driving lessons if and when they have time often struggle to gain in proficiency. You’ll need to prepare for at least 30 hours of lessons.
Also take into account that at the start of each new lesson, some of this lesson time is spent ‘getting up to speed’ from where you left off on the previous lesson. With that in mind, try to prepare enough time each week to fit in at least one, two hour lesson. Future lessons can be planned with your instructor at the end of your first driving lesson.
5. Wear Comfortable Shoes and Clothes
On all driving lessons, ideally wear comfortable cool clothes and shoes that do not have too thicker sole. Shoes with thick soles can make it a little harder to get a feel of the floor pedals.
6. Take your Provisional Driving Licence
On your first driving lesson, you’ll need to take along your provisional driving licence and show it to your driving instructor. This is so that the instructor knows you’re legally entitled to drive.
7. Nerves and Anxiety
If you’re anxious and nervous about your first driving lesson, don’t worry, that’s quite normal. Driving instructors are used to this and will do their best to keep you calm. For your first lesson, your instructor will drive you to a quiet location with little traffic. You’ll not be having to deal with busy roads and hectic traffic, so there’s nothing to worry about.
8. Don’t be Afraid to Ask
If during your first lesson (or any other lesson) you’re not sure what the instructor means when they explain something, be sure to tell them you don’t understand. Instructors have many methods of teaching and explaining what needs to be done and how things work.
Additionally, instructors do their best to match the speed in which they teach to the speed that you learn. However, if you feel that the instructor is going a little fast for you, ask them to slow it down a little.
Should I Prepare for my First Driving Lesson?
Whether you prepare for your first driving lesson or not is entirely up to you and makes no difference to the driving instructor. If you have knowledge of the Highway Code and some of the basics on how a car operates, then it may help you to progress a little quicker through your driving lessons. If not, your driving instructor will teach you all you need to know.