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Your First Driving Lesson by Jan Hunter ADI

There's no need to be nervous on your first driving lessonIt’s natural that you may be nervous about your first driving lesson. Perhaps you are not sure what will happen or what will be expected of you.  So here is a summary of what should happen on your first lesson, assuming you have little or no previous driving experience.


On your first lesson your instructor should:

  • Be punctual, reliable, polite, friendly and interested in you.

  • Introduce himself and drive you to a quiet area (not much traffic, straight, wide roads, few or no parked vehicles). You don’t need the distractions of other drivers at this stage!

  • Check your driving licence and do an eyesight test - you will be asked to read a number plate at a distance of 67 feet (approximately 21 metres) as this is one of the first things you will have to do on your practical test.

  • Deal with any stationery items e.g. appointment cards, business cards and progress records.The Highway Code

  • Explain payment terms and conditions.

  • If required, explain about the Theory/Hazard Perception Test.

  • Advise you regarding reading material (e.g. the Highway Code).

  • Advise you regarding booking your test.

  • Explain about the practical driving test: booking it, what the test involves and how it is conducted.

  • Discuss your personal training plan for future lessons.

  • Brief you on ‘safety items upon entering the car’ e.g. seat belts, mirror adjustment, seat adjustment, blindspots, and use of dual controls.

  • Brief you on all the main controls of the car, how to use them, terms used when instructing you on their use, including practice on how to find the clutch ‘biting point’.

  • Brief you and then practice moving away from the side of the road and stopping at the side of the road safely and under control.


Depending on your progress, you may also do some gear changing and steering practice.  It is generally not an advantage to do any more than this on your first lesson, as trying to do too much, too soon, can often be counter-productive. The best way to eat an elephant is one bite at a
time...Remember, the best way to eat an elephant is one bite at a time!

During your first lesson (and all future lessons) your instructor should be keen and enthusiastic, and do his utmost to make you feel relaxed and confident.  If your instructor seems bored, then so will you be!  Don’t stay with an instructor who appears indifferent or impatient, as you will come to dread your lessons instead of looking forward to them.

Your training should proceed at a pace you are comfortable with, as every student is different. Your instructor should not place you in any situations that you are not ready to cope with, and should not use the dual controls unnecessarily.

Finally, and most important of all, make sure you enjoy yourself. Good luck with your lessons!

Best Regards

Jan Hunter

Jan Hunter is a co-founder of Pelican School of Motoring, an ADI (Approved Driving Instructor), and has helped teach over 800 people to drive since 1992.

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Amanda, Welwyn Garden City

"Second to none...I actually will miss my weekly lessons"

Amanda, Welwyn Garden City"I would really love to thank Pelican from the bottom of my heart. Jan was so friendly and helpful on the phone. I felt I had known her for ages - like talking to a friend. Steve really is a genius and a truly lovely man - the best instructor. His dedication, determination and patience really helped me. He really concentrated on my problem areas and helped me focus.

Steve was totally reliable and even after a flooding incident he still managed to conduct my lesson. Having lessons with Steve was like having lessons with an old friend who really cared and showed genuine interest.

Although I have been driving for years, and after my unfortunate incident, I really appreciate all Steve has done for me, he really has made me a better driver. I actually will miss my weekly lessons.

I have never felt so comfortable with someone teaching me to do something before, I really thought that I was going to feel patronised and awkward when I learnt that I would have to redo my test, but thanks to my chat with Jan on the phone and Steve's lovely nature I really feel I have learnt to drive 'properly' all over again.

The overall service I received from both Steve and Jan was second to none, and I almost feel like part of the Pelican family.

Again, thank you both so much for giving me my career and freedom back.

As the younger generation say, 'you rock'.

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To book a driving lesson please call 01992 589783.

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