By The Acclaim Team on 01st January 1970 in News

Your first driving lesson is always a memorable one. It might be something you’re a little nervous about, or you could even be beaming with excitement to get behind the wheel for the very first time.

Knowing what to expect from your first driving lesson is the best way to ensure that you get off to a great start behind the wheel and on the road.

In this guide, we’ll show what to expect on your first driving lesson from start to finish.

Preparing for Your First Driving Lesson 

Before you book your first driving lesson, you’ll need to decide which works best for you -manual or automatic transmission. Our best advice is to learn whatever makes you feel more comfortable. Everyone’s different when it comes to driving, so make sure that you think carefully about which type of lessons you’d like to take. We strongly recommend reading our guide, Manual vs Auto: Making An Educated Choice, to make an informed decision before booking your lesson.

The night before your first driving lesson, we recommend trying to get a good night’s sleep as you’ll be learning some of the basics during your very first lesson. You should remember to stay calm, don’t get ahead of yourself, and don’t worry if you forget things.

For your first driving lesson, you must bring:

  • Your provisional licence (this is mandatory as you won’t be able to get behind the wheel without it!)

  • Comfortable shoes

  • Your glasses (if you wear them)

  • A bottle of water

The Cockpit Drill / DSSSM

On your very first lesson, your driving instructor will most likely drive you to an appropriate location that isn’t too busy. You will then sit in the driver’s seat before they will introduce you to the cockpit drill, also known as the DSSSM routine (Doors, Seat, Steering, Seatbelt and Mirrors).

  • Doors: Are doors securely closed? Before you start your engine, you must check that all doors are closed as appropriate.

  • Seat: Is the seat in a comfortable position? Adjust your seat to give you a good view of the road and ensure that all of the controls are within comfortable reach. It is also crucial that you also adjust your headrest as close to your head as is comfortable.

  • Steering: Is the steering position established? Does not block the view of the instrument panel.

  • Seatbelts: Are your seatbelts on? Is the position of the seat belt correct and not twisted?.

  • Mirrors: Are your mirrors adjusted? Your mirror should be positioned in a way that gives you maximum view of the road.

Learning the Controls

Once you’ve got to grips with the cockpit drill, you’ll move on to learning the main controls of the vehicle: including the clutch, accelerator, brake, indicators and gearbox.  

Your instructor will spend most of your first lesson talking you through the gearbox and how to control the clutch when setting off (finding your ‘biting point’) and changing gear.

This can be a complicated part to learn, so don’t be afraid to ask lots of questions or ask your instructor to repeat their explanations. As there’s a lot to learn during your first lesson, you may wish to book a two-hour lesson.

Taking to the Road

Believe it or not, your first lesson isn’t just about learning the basics in a stationary car. You’ll also learn how to safely move off and stop. Once you get going, try to relax and remember that your instructor has their own set of controls, meaning that they’re in complete control of the car at all times too and are there to support you with mistakes.

You most likely won’t go any higher than second gear during your first lesson - but you’ll still be able to get a feel for using the clutch, brake and accelerator pedals.

You’ll probably stall, and that’s okay. It’s very rare for any learner to avoid stalling during their first lesson. It’s a perfectly normal part of learning and is nothing to get stressed out about! 

After Your First Driving Lesson

As your lesson comes to an end, your instructor will drive you home and discuss how you found the lesson and what areas you feel confident in. Of course, learning to drive does take time and everyone learns at their own pace. 

Don’t panic if you aren’t feeling confident in any areas on your very first lesson. Your instructor will review your driving lesson at the end to check how you feel and to prepare a lesson plan for next time. They will also be able to give you some tips in areas you feel nervous or less confident in.

Learn With Acclaim Driving

Pass your driving test with confidence and be on the road in no time with our industry-leading driving instructors. All of our instructors are super friendly and you can either book a driving lesson online or call the office and one of the team will talk you through your options.

Here at Acclaim Driving, we are always here to help with your driving test needs. Be sure to contact us, or reach out on 0800 838 440 if you have any questions about passing your driving test.