As one year draws to a close and we head into a new one, we tend to find that January is one of our busiest months. There are lots of you who received driving lessons vouchers for Christmas, and there will be lots of you with the New Years Resolution to finally learn how to drive. We appreciate that it can be a nerve wracking thought though. For many people, the thought of being in control of a car is a terrifying one, there is a fear of the unknown, and the potential danger, not to mention to worry about having to spend time, in a car, one on one, with someone you don’t know. What if they don’t like you, or shout at you, or expect you to be able to do things. It’s scary when you don’t know what to expect, particularly if you’re going into an environment that is well out of your comfort zone, and that you have, literally, no idea about. Hopefully this post will help to take away some of those fears and help you to look forward to that first driving lesson.
What do I need to bring with me?
Almost everyone panics about this, and we always get texts about it, either the night before, or on the day. The only thing you definitely need is your provisional licence. You, legally, need to be in possession of a valid, UK, provisional licence before you can drive a car for the first time. Your instructor will check the licence at the start of the lesson, and will take down the details from it, either at the start, or, more commonly, at the end of the lesson, depending on your instructors preference. You don’t need to bring your licence every lesson, but we need to check it before you can drive. Apart from your provisional though, the only thing you will need is money, to pay for the lesson (Unless you have already paid by bank transfer beforehand, or, of course, you received a voucher for Christmas!). If you’re a more experienced learner, who has, maybe had a previous instructor in the past, it is always useful if you bring any progress reports you may have. There’s no need to worry though if you don’t have that.
Will we start on a road?
To be honest, that fully depends on where you live. We try, where possible, to start people on the roads, but its important that we take you to an area that is appropriate for your experience. If there are roads near you that are quiet, and relatively wide, then we will start there, if that isn’t possible, then, a carpark may be more appropriate. If you’re a complete beginner, your instructor will drive once they have picked you up, and they will chat to you about what experience (if any) you have, how much you already know, and how confident you are feeling. As instructors we’re trained to assess the situation, and we wouldn’t ever put you into a situation that would result in potential danger.
I don’t know anything about cars or driving, will I look stupid?
Absolutely not! Never lose sight of the fact that that is exactly why you are there. One of the first things I always say to new learners, on their first lesson, is, there is no such thing as a stupid question. Never be afraid to ask questions. The more you ask the more you learn. It also makes our job so much easier if it is obvious what you understand and what you don’t. The more open and honest you are about that, the more you will get out of, and enjoy your lessons. Remember, if you don’t understand something, we haven’t taught you properly yet.
What will we be doing on my first lesson?
Again, that depends on how much you already know, how quickly you take in new information, and how well you pick up the basics. If you are a complete beginner, the first part of the lesson will generally involve going through the basic controls, ensuring you are comfortable with how to adjust things, and what they do. First lessons can either be 1 hour, 90 minutes or 2 hours. Whatever the lesson length, you should be driving on your first lesson. The aim will be to have you fairly comfortably setting off, pulling up and changing gear. If you are doing a longer lesson, or pick it up really quickly, then you may well be tackling some corners, basic junctions, or even roundabouts. As I said earlier though, as instructors, we are trained to assess your level, and we will never ask you to do something you don’t feel ready for, or comfortable with.
Having said that, if you do have some experience, or know your way around a car, don’t be afraid to let us know that (Even if the experience you’ve picked up wasn’t strictly legal!). If you can already do something, you don’t need to be sat for ten minutes being told all about it. If you’ve driven on a car park, or are doing mechanics at college, or have a background, in the dim and distant past, of joyriding (We wouldn’t recommend that!), then you have valuable experience before you start.
What if I crash?!
This is, without question, the biggest worry that we hear when we pick people up for their first lesson. Let me tell you, in 10 years, with, at varying points, over 30 instructors driving for Weelz Driving School, no-one has ever crashed on the first lesson, and we have no intention of letting you be the first. Everything you do will be done in a quiet area, and all of our cars have got dual controls. That means, essentially, that your instructor has a brake pedal, so whatever crazy thing you may do (and believe me, whatever you do, you won’t be the first), we will always remain in control of the car. Remember, its our car that you’re driving, so we don’t want to crash, just the same as you!
Will it be awkward sat in the car, on my own, with a strange person?
Well, we hope not! Remember though, we’re also sat in the car with someone we don’t know, we’re in this together. As driving instructors, we spend a lot of time, on our own, in cars with people. We meet people of all ages and backgrounds, and most driving instructors will tell you this is one of the things we enjoy most about the job. We have conversations about any number of subjects, every day, and we are genuinely interested in learning about you, and helping you to achieve your dreams. We don’t want you to feel nervous, and, in all honesty, our job is so much easier when the pupil is enjoying their lessons and wants to be there. Everyone learns in different ways, and the early lessons are all about us pinning down what is going to work for you. The more feedback you can give us, the more we can help. If you like something, tell us, if you didn’t understand something tell us, if you want to learn faster, or slower, let us know. Its your lesson, and you are the boss! We genuinely feel that way, we need you more than you need us, we never become complacent and lose sight of that.
It’s easy for us to say, but there really is nothing to be nervous about. Come along to your first lesson, excited, and eager to learn, and you’ll amaze yourself with what you can achieve!