Your first driving lesson is a big milestone and you’re probably pretty excited about it, but it’s also very nerve wracking. Taking control of a car is a big deal, and it’s a lot of responsibility to take on. In the lead up to your first lesson, you will invent so many hypothetical scenarios in your own head, most of them bad. What happens if I crash the car? What if I accidentally run somebody over? What if I can’t even get it started in the first place? It’s so easy to think of the worst case scenario and get worried about your first driving lesson, but the reason that you have driving instructors is so you are safe and you don’t make any of these dangerous mistakes.
If you are concerned about your first driving lesson, it helps if you know what to expect and how to prepare yourself properly. That way, you are not in for any surprises and you will be less worried about what might happen. Here’s what you can expect from your first driving lesson.
Before you start the first lesson, there are a few important things you should do to prepare. First off, make sure that you get a good night’s sleep the night before. You need to be alert when driving, so being tired will make things difficult for you. Secondly, make sure that you are not drinking the night before your first lesson. Even if it is just a few drinks, this can still affect your cognitive ability and your reaction times in the morning. Finally, eat a good breakfast before you have your lesson because you will find it harder to concentrate if you are hungry.
There are also a few things that you should bring with you on your driving lessons. You will need your provisional driving license, some comfy shoes that have good grip, and glasses if you wear them. Don’t forget to bring cash or a cheque to pay for your lesson as well. Driving instructors won’t work for free, but if you do happen to forget, they’ll probably let you off until next time.
Getting Picked Up
You need to arrange the pick up with the driving instructor before the lesson because some instructors will wait in the car while others will come to the door. When they do pick you up, you won’t have to get in the driver’s seat right away, so you can just relax. You’ll get in the passenger side and they will drive you to a safe location.
The Cockpit Drill
Most driving instructors will take you to a specific place that they know is quiet, before switching seats with you so you are in the driver’s seat. Before they let you loose on the controls, they will take you through the cockpit drill. This is the set of checks that you need to do every time you get into the car.
You can remember these checks using the acronym, DSSSM:
- Doors – Are the doors securely closed?
- Seat – Is the seat in a comfortable position?
- Steering – Is the steering position correct?
- Seatbelts – Does everybody in the car have their seatbelt on?
- Mirrors – Are all of the mirrors adjusted correctly?
It’s a good idea to try to memorize this before you have your first driving lesson so you already know what you’re doing, but all driving instructors will take you through it step by step anyway.
Learning The Basics
Once all of your checks are completed, your driving instructor will start taking you through the basics. They will run through the clutch, accelerator, and brakes, and show you how to use the handbrake and change gears. If there is anything that you are unsure about here, it’s perfectly fine to ask if they can run through it again. It’s important that you know what you are doing before you set off because, even if you are only going 20mph, it’s still going to be scary if you don’t feel in control of the vehicle. It’s a good idea to make your first driving lesson 2 hours long, so you have enough time to get to know the controls and get some driving in.
Hitting The Road
Now that you know how all of the basic controls in the car work, it’s time to put it into practice and hit the road. This is the most exciting, but also the most nerve wracking part of the lesson. But don’t worry, your instructor will be there every step of the way.
In your first driving lesson, you will learn a few key procedures that your driving instructor will explain before you set off. These will include:
- Starting the engine.
- Clutch control. More specifically, finding the biting point.
- Checking your mirrors and your blind spot.
- Using indicators to signal.
- Changing gear.
- Bringing the car to a safe stop.
- Curb side parking.
These are the basics of operating a car and, hopefully, you should feel confident enough to move onto the road and try some real driving by the end of your first lesson. Keep in mind that your driving instructor will have their own set of controls for the car, so you don’t need to worry if you feel overwhelmed and they need to take over.
After Your First Driving Lesson
When the lesson is over, your driving instructor will drop you back at home. At this point, they will have a discussion with you about how the lesson went, and tell you some of the things that you can improve on next time. Make sure that you listen carefully and take note of everything because you may be able to study up on some of these things at home between lessons.
Before you leave, it’s time to book your next lesson. Ideally, you should minimize time between lessons and try to have 2 or 3 a week if your schedule allows it.
Congratulations, you’ve successfully made it through your very first driving lesson and you are well on the way to passing your test.