What should you expect on my first driving lesson

So, you have your provisional licence, you have chosen your driving instructor or school, and you have arranged your first driving lessons for a suitable time next week. 

So, what happens now? 

On the day of your driving lesson, your instructor will arrive to pick you up from the agreed location and at the agreed time. If for any reason they are running late, they will call or text you to let you know. 

At this point if your anything like me when I was 17, I was very excited but also extremely nervous about learning to drive. I can remember my leg trembling on my first driving lesson, and although I really enjoyed my driving lessons I used to dread them while waiting for the driving instructor to turn up. So if your nervous, please don't be, your instructor will be used to helping nervous customers and they will do their best to help you stay calm and relax. 

Upon arrival, your driving instructor (especially on your first driving lesson) will come and meet you at your front door unless otherwise arranged. 

You will need your provisional driving licence and your driving licence check code. Without this your lesson cannot go ahead and you may still be charged for the booked time. You will also be asked by the driving instructor to read a car number plate that is approximately 20 metres away. This may be done before you get in the car or could be done later if there are no suitable cars available nearby. 

Remember to wear some comfortable clothing and some sensible shoes for your driving lessons, after all you might be sat in the car for anything up to two or more hours.  

Your driving instructor will likely ask you some questions about any previous driving experience you might have. Don't worry this is normal as they want to find out what you might already know about driving, so they can start you off at the best possible point with your lessons. Any previous road experience such as riding a motorbike, push bike or even just walking and using the road as a pedestrian can be helpful in your understanding of things to come. 

Once they have asked these questions and got a better understanding of where you are at, the instructor may ask you to sit in the driver's seat and start running through setting you up to drive. In most cases, your instructor will ask you to sit in the passenger seat to start with and drive you to a suitable location to start your driving lessons, we call these nursery driving routes or areas. 

Don't worry, if you have chosen an experienced local instructor then they will know the nearest safe place to start your driving lesson, so it won't take you long to get there. On the way to such an area your driving instructor will be talking to you about your previous experience and getting you to watch them drive, some instructors will also use this opportunity to give you a full talk through of what they are doing on the drive. You should also find that while in the passenger seat you have some dual control pedals by your feet, these are for the instructor to help keep you safe as you learn and they should explain that they are there and to avoid pressing them before you set off. 

Now we are going to assume that you haven't driven before and your experience so far is limited, if you have some previous experience then your instructor will adapt their teachings accordingly and may ask more questions at this point. 

Once you arrive at a safe and quiet nursery area, your instructor will then start showing you something we call the Cockpit Drill, this will allow you to exit and enter the vehicle safely and set yourself up in the best position ready to drive. This can take around 15 - 20 mins, maybe less if you have any previous experience. 

Next you will run through the controls together, this again will be a mix of questions and helping you if you don't know. The idea is to get you involved as much as possible in your own learning and Q&A is a great way of doing this. 

Next you will discuss Moving off and Stopping again using Q&A this should take around 10 minutes 

So now this is where it becomes real, the next point will be for you to move off from the side of the road and drive a few hundred feet down the road before pulling back in to the side of the road. Don't worry, your driving instructor will help you every step of the way, be it with Q&A, complete talk through or if your confident they must just ask you to have a go, but remember the instructor will adapt their teaching method to suit your needs and will always be on hand to keep you safe and manage the situation. 

Now normally on an hour lesson you might get to practice this a few times and then your instructor will drive you home. If you have a 2 hour driving lessons or more, then after moving off and stopping your instructor should start you on left and right turns and maybe a bit of emerging from junctions. Remember not to worry as your instructor will help you as much as you need and they will control the lesson and keep you safe at all times. 

At the end of your driving lessons your instructor will allow some time to review with you what you have done on today's lesson, we call this a recap and it's to determine what you have absorbed from the lesson today. Your instructor may use a driver record to record your progress, this should be done with you while you are still in the car and this can used to help both you and the instructor plan your next driving lesson.  

Before you go, your driving instructor and yourself should work together to plan your next driving lesson, this will be the date and time but also what possible subject you might practise, and don't worry if it's the same as you have just done for a couple of lessons. Remember everyone learns differently and at a different pace. So, some will progress fast and learn a new subject every week (Rarely happens) whereas most will need to still work on a subject until it is good enough to move to something new. Your instructor will work with you on this so you always know what you need to do to help you improve.  

If you need more clarification on the subjects you are learning and to the standard you need to reach in order to be test ready, then please take a look at the DVSA national driving and riding standards 

And there you have a basic first driving lessons for a new learner driver.


Other driving related subjects that you might find useful

How do I apply for my Provisional Licence?

How do I choose a the best Driving Instructor?

Should I learn in a Manual or Automatic Car?

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