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  • Writer's pictureDean Wyatt

"What to expect on your first driving lesson.”

Updated: Mar 12, 2021

By Dean Wyatt (ADI)

January 2019

So, you may be approaching your 17th birthday; have your first driving lesson booked; or are just starting to think about taking the leap into learning to drive after putting it off for a while. Whatever your situation is, one of the most common questions people ask is "What can I expect on my first driving lesson?” This blog will explore some of your potential thoughts about your first driving lesson, and hopefully make it easier to deal with.

“What do I need to bring with me?”

You should have already been contacted by me before the day of your first lesson, and your provisional driving licence should have also been validated by me by then. All you need to bring along on the day are your actual provisional driving licence for a visual check by me and any glasses/contact lenses that you need for driving. As a guide, you need to be able to read a number plate from 20m away to check that your vision is good enough to drive. I will ask you to do this at the beginning of your first lesson so if you do need glasses/contact lenses, it may well be worth having your eyes checked just before your first driving lesson in case your prescription has changed. Feel free to bring along a drink if you feel you’ll need it during your lesson too.

“What should I wear?”

The main thing is that you’re comfortable. Layers are advised in case you get too cold/hot in the car. You should wear flat shoes (no high heels!) with a sole that’s not too thick as that could affect your feeling on the pedals.

“What will the car be like that I’ll be driving?”

My tuition vehicle is fitted with ‘Dual Controls’ which means there will be a brake and clutch pedal (as it’s a manual car) on the passenger side (if the car was an automatic, there would just be a brake pedal on the passenger side). These are fitted to keep everybody inside and outside of the car safe as it allows me to intervene if necessary. It will also have ‘L’ plates and/or a ‘Top Box’. ‘L’ plates are visible from the front and back of the vehicle to show other road users that you’re a learner. A ‘Top Box’ is a plastic box fitted to the roof of the car (which may also have an ‘L’ plate on) for the same reason as ‘L’ plates, but it will be visible from further away. My car is a Vauxhall Corsa, so not too big to manoeuvre around.

“Will we start on a road?”

When I come to pick you up, I will drive you to a suitable quiet area. This drive gives us both time to have a chat about any driving experience you may have, as well as getting you away from your front door where family members may be trying to peek through the curtains to try and watch you drive for the first time! I’m very experienced in where the best areas to start you off are. Don’t worry; I won’t be throwing you out onto a dual carriageway or motorway on your first lesson!

“I don’t know anything about driving. Will I look stupid?”

No! I’m there to help you with any parts of the car or driving that you don’t know or are unsure of. Everybody knows a different amount. Some people know what some of the controls of the car do as they’ve watched others drive or have chatted to their mates about it, but others don’t. It’s no problem, and I will guide you through anything you’re unsure of. Most learners hate the prospect of stalling and feel ‘stupid’ when it happens. For those of you that don’t know, ‘stalling’ means the car’s engine cuts out due to a slight driver error. You will stall the car one day (I promise!) and you may well stall on your first lesson. Don’t worry about it - we all stall! I guarantee after your first lesson someone will ask you “Did you stall?”, and if you say yes, they’ll say “Oh, OK.”, like it’s the worst thing in the world, and if you say no, they’ll be surprised and say “Oh, wow, well done.” But stalling is not the be all and end all of whether you’ve done well or not, so please don’t worry if (when!) it happens.

“What will I be doing on the first lesson?”

Once I’ve taken you to a suitable area, we will swap seats and then get everything set up and adjusted so that you’re in the correct driving position. This is called ‘The Cockpit Drill’. After this, I can explain any of the major controls and instruments of the car that you’re unsure of. Once you’re happy with your position and the cars controls, the next step is to think about how to get the car moving and then how to stop it again. When you feel comfortable with this, you can practice it, but rest assured, I will not force you to do anything you’re uncomfortable with and I will be on hand to help you every step of the way if you need it. At the end of your lesson we will both discuss how the lesson went and what you want to try and achieve next time.

“What if I crash?”

I am there to keep you both, and everybody else, safe. It’s my responsibility to do this, and remember, as mentioned above, the car you’ll be driving will be fitted with dual controls, so I am able to stop (or slow) the car if needed. I won’t allow you to crash the car.

“Will it be awkward sitting in a car with a stranger?”

I understand that you’ll be nervous, and I’ll do all I can to put you at ease, whilst staying professional with it. Feel free to ask questions throughout all your lessons. Trust me, what you ask will not be the silliest thing I’ve ever been asked! If you don’t understand something, or want extra clarification, just ask. I will gladly go back over anything you want.

Hopefully the above answers a few of the questions you’ve been thinking about, leading up to your first driving lesson. Over the coming weeks and months, I’ll be building up these blog topics, so feel free to get in touch with any other questions that you would like some help with.

Thanks for reading. And good luck for that first driving lesson!

January 18th 2019 | Dean Wyatt

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