What Happens on Your First Driving Lesson?

What Happens on Your First Driving Lesson?

Many people get quite anxious about their first driving lesson, and this is due to now knowing exactly what to expect.

In this blog I aim to explain what happens on your 1st driving lesson with a Spot On instructor.

I hope that by the end of this blog you’ll see much clearer what will happen on your first lesson. I’ll explain how you can be fully prepared for it, so you can feel much more confident and happier about your lesson.

Instructor will drive you to a suitable location

Your instructor will collect you and drive you to a suitable location. They will not expect you to drive from home, even if you’ve been driving before with friends of family.

There will be dual control pedals in the front passenger footwell, so you’ll need to keep your feet away from them.

Depending on where you live, the instructor may give you a choice of a couple of locations for your first lesson. It will be somewhere quiet and not too busy.

You can use the journey time to get to know each other. You might want to tell your instructor what you’re studying, what job you do, what your hobbies are and so on. These bits of information will help your instructor tailor lessons and explanations to your type of learning and interests.

You can also use this journey time to see a demo of good driving. Your instructor may chat to you about steering skills or mirror use.

Eyesight Check

You must be able to read a number plate from a distance of 20.5 metres to be able to take your driving test. Therefore, your instructor will test this on your first driving lesson. If you can only read it with glasses or contact lenses in, you must wear these for driving.

If reading is going to be a problem, please let your instructor know and an alternative will be arranged for you.

Driving Licence Check

Take your driving licence along with you to your first driving lesson.

Your instructor will want to see it. S/he may have checked the details of it before your lesson but take it with you as well.

Cockpit Drill

You’ll get into the driver’s seat and need to set it up so that you can reach all the controls to be able to drive. This may take a few minutes on this lesson; your instructor will make sure you fully understand everything.

You’ll set up the:

  • Doors
  • Seat
  • Steering
  • Seatbelt
  • Mirrors

Think about the acronym, D S S S M to remember what you need to do.

This Spot On video will help you to remember the Cockpit Drill:


If you watch it you’ll get a head start in your lesson. You’ll already know what your instructor will cover so she/he’ll be able to ask questions rather than telling you.

If you’ve been a passenger in a car, you’ll already have an idea about most of it.

Foot and Hand Controls

Next, you’ll learn about the foot controls. You’ll cover what each pedal is and how to use it. You’ll be able to practice while the engine is turned off so help you become familiar with them.

You’ll learn about the main hand controls.

In particular you’ll cover the:

  • Gear lever
  • Steering wheel
  • Indicators
  • Handbrake

Depending on the weather on the day of your lesson, you may also cover the headlights and the windscreen wipers.

Other controls will be covered as you go through your driving lessons on other days. You don’t need to learn about everything on the first day.

Moving Away and Stopping

If you can’t already drive a car, your instructor will explain or chat to you all about how to move a car away safely and how to stop a car safely.

You can look at diagrams, images, an App on an iPad or watch a demonstration of moving and stopping safely. Whatever suits your way of learning.

You’ll then practice moving away and stopping the car. You may want to just have a go, and the instructor can help you to improve. Or you may need full talk through, with the instructor telling you exactly what to do and how to do it.

As you go through the lesson you may start to move and stop with less and less help as you develop confidence and start to remember the procedure.

I hope this blog has helped you to understand what happens on your first driving lesson.

Get in touch if you’ve got any questions.

Remember, your instructor has a brake and clutch pedal, and they can help with steering if necessary. They will only help if needed but they have lots of experience in helping so can keep you safe!

You can prepare for this part of the lesson by watching the video below. It explains and demonstrated the whole procedure so you know what to expect and can start to learn the steps.


Other things you may practice

Depending on how you get on with moving and stopping the car, how long the lesson is and what you want to learn, you may move on to practice other things in this first lesson.
You may learn about and practice:

  • Reversing
  • Clutch Control
  • Steering
  • Turns

Reflective Log

In every lesson there will be a clear aim, set by you and with your instructors’ guidance. You’ll be clear about what they syllabus is and what standard you need to achieve to be safe. Therefore, you will be clear about what you need to cover.

Lessons will be planned to be appropriate to you and your ability. Instructors will not take you to areas that are too complicated for your ability, or to areas that don’t challenge you at all when you need to develop.

Near the end of a lesson you’ll fill in your Reflective Log (you don’t have to do the writing if you don’t want to). Your instructor will give ideas and remind you how you managed, to make it easy for you to fill in.

You’ll answer questions like:

  • What were the aims of the lesson?
  • What have you achieved?
  • What has improved?
  • What do you want to improve?
  • How can you improve?
  • What do you want to do next lesson?

Reflecting like this helps you to develop a deeper understanding the learning process.

Your instructor will give you ideas on how you can prepare for your next lesson. That may be to complete the next section on the Spot On eLearning course or to read a section of the Highway Code.

Preparing for lessons is entirely up to you. We encourage lessons prep because will help you to get through learning to drive process quicker, therefore saving you time and money.

The Drive Home

Whether you drive home, or your instructor drives you home, will depend on a few things. First and foremost, it will depend on whether you want to drive home or not.

You may feel like it’s a challenge you want to undertake, or you may feel you’ve had enough driving, or the route will be too challenging.

Whatever you decide on the day will make no difference to your progress and how quickly you get through the test.

You cannot compare yourself to other learners either. They may not live where you live, some times of the day are more challenging to drive than others, and they are not you!