What to expect on your first driving lesson

Lesson Type
Last updated: 16 Oct 2019

Knowing what to expect in your first driving lesson is the easiest way to calm your nerves and ensure that you get off to a great start behind the wheel.

Your first driving lesson

Your first driving lesson usually occurs a while after booking a driving lesson package. It’s the first time you’ll meet your driving instructor as well as being your first time behind the wheel, so it’s natural to feel a little nervous beforehand.

What to bring to your first driving lesson

  • Your provisional licence
  • Comfy shoes
  • Your glasses (if you wear them)
  • A bottle of water
  • A jumper

What happens on your first driving lesson

On your first driving lesson, don’t expect to get behind the wheel straight away, especially if you get picked up somewhere busy. Your driving instructor will probably drive you to a more appropriate location before switching seats with you and teaching you the basics.

What do you do in your first driving lesson?

  • You’ll learn the cockpit drill
  • You’ll be introduced to the car’s controls
  • You’ll learn about clutch control
  • You’ll learn how to safely move off and stop

Your first lesson walkthrough

1. Your instructor will check your provisional licence

Your driving instructor will want to see your provisional driving licence to make sure that you’re legally allowed to drive. This only applies for your first driving lesson, but make sure you remember; you won’t be allowed to drive without showing your instructor your provisional first.

2. You'll find a quiet place to learn

Depending on where your instructor is picking you up from, you may not be able to jump straight into the drivers’ seat and start your first driving lesson. If you live on a main road or in an area that gets a lot of traffic, your instructor will probably ask you to sit in the passenger seat and will then drive you to a more appropriate location such as a quiet residential street or perhaps an industrial estate.

3. You’ll learn the cockpit drill

The cockpit drill is essentially just setting up the car’s seat and mirrors correctly. Sounds simple, but it’s really, really important. Your instructor will probably spend a good chunk of your first lesson explaining how to set up the vehicle. It’s not the most thrilling lesson you’ll learn, but it’s a vital one. You can save yourself a bit of time by practising setting up the mirrors in your own/your parents’ car or reading our guide to the cockpit drill.

4. You’ll start with the basics

Don’t expect to dive straight in and start learning reverse around a corner, your first driving lesson will focus on the most basic elements of learning to drive. You’ll be introduced to all the car’s controls, from the windscreen wipers to the heater dials, and you may begin learning how to safely move off and stop. You’ll definitely begin learning about clutch control and how/when to check your blind spots.

5. You will get to drive

You should get to drive before the lesson’s over. You won’t be doing 50mph on a dual carriageway, but you’ll almost certainly get to do a few laps or a housing or industrial estate at a sensible speed. Believe us, on your first driving lesson, even 30mph feels like you’re flying.

6. You’ll probably stall, and that’s okay

Stalling is the nemesis of almost every learner driver and it can be really easy to let a few stalls annoy you. Don’t let stalling ruin your first driving lesson, it’s a perfectly normal part of learning clutch control and it’s nothing to get stressed about. Your instructor has probably taught hundreds if not thousands of learners and will be full of tips to help you to get the hang of using the clutch.