Everyone is a bit nervous before their first driving lesson. We understand your fear, and we wrote this article to help reduce your fear by giving you an overview of a typical Lesson #1:
The NO List
- NO freeway driving on the 1st lesson
- NO angry instructors
- NO cheating you out of lesson time
Your driving instructor will arrive on time. If your instructor is delayed for any reason, we will contact you to explain the situation. Please be ready to go when we arrive. You should bring the following items with you:
- Your Instruction Permit
- Corrective lenses in necessary (ie. glasses or contacts)
- Sunglasses (If your lesson is scheduled during daylight hours, especially early morning or late afternoon)
- A comfortable pair of shoes (Heels, platforms, and sandals are not advised)
If you have a cell phone, we would appreciate you turning it off, or onto silent mode. You don’t want your Arianna Grande ringtone going off in the middle of your first U-turn, do you? 😀
The first time you get in the car with your instructor, you will be in the passenger seat. We never start a student driver out in their own neighborhood. Why? Because having your family and friends snapping pictures, and peeking out from windows as you get behind-the-wheel will make you nervous. Your instructor will drive you a short distance to a quiet residential street.
Getting In The Driver Seat
Our training car is very customizable, to allow students of all heights to control the car comfortably. Your instructor will help you to adjust the seat, steering wheel, mirrors, and seat belts. If you have never driven a car before, don’t worry! Your instructor will also identify the basic control for you.
Start Your Engines!
Now, onto the fun part. Your first driving exercise will be a short trip around the block. The purpose of this drive is to allow the instructor to evaluate your starting skill level, and to give you a chance to get a feel for the training car. This is not a graded assignment. It’s OK if you don’t know what you’re doing, your instructor will not allow you to hit anything, or damage the training car. 😉
Circles And Circles
The next driving exercise will be completing basic right and left turns. Your instructor will teach you how and when to use the gas, brake, and steering wheel to make the car go where you’d like it to go. You will also learn how and when to use the turn signals, understanding and following the speed limits, and visual search/hazard avoidance techniques. The amount of time spent on this exercise varies, depending on your starting skill level, and your ability to learn and retain new skills. At some point during this exercise you may begin to realize that you ARE DRIVING A CAR, AND IT IS FUN! Smiling and laughing may occur. Your instructor will smile and laugh with you. Congratulations, and welcome to Drive Happy 😀
The next exercise will introduce traffic and main roads. You will be leaving the quiet area and practicing right and left turns at major intersections controlled by lights. You will also learn how to locate and obey posted speed limits higher than 25mph. With more cars on the road, you will also how to measure and maintain a safe following distance, sharing the road with bicyclists and pedestrians, making protected and un-protected left turns, and how to make a right turn on a red light. Advanced students may also basic lane changes.
As you approach the last 30 minutes of your first driving lesson, you instructor will begin directing you towards your home. You will get to drive in your own neighborhood. We may also cover the skill of curb parking, and backing in a straight line. Very few new skills are introduced in the last 30 minutes because you have already absorbed an enormous amount of information and are starting to fatigue. At the end of the lesson, you will learn how to park in your driveway.
Having returned safely to your own driveway, your instructor will congratulate you on your progress and re-cap your lesson. Please do not ask your instructor if you are the worst driver we have ever seen. The answer will always be no. You are not a bad driver, you are a student driver! The instructor will then take the time to meet with your parents/guardian/spouse/etc. Your mom probably wants to get a picture of your sitting in the driver seat. Make mom happy, and don’t worry, this happens all the time! 😉
If no one is home, we will schedule a phone call or e-mail update.
Homework & Sceduling Your Next Lesson
Your instructor will probably give you a homework assignment. Don’t worry, it will be something fun (ie. go out and drive often, practice those right turns, watch the videos on our website, etc.) We will also try to schedule your next driving lesson. We are very flexible, however we suggest lessons to be no more than 2 weeks apart. If you are not able to practice in-between lesson we suggest that your lessons be as close together as possible. Repetition is the way to build good habits, drive often and you will drive safe.
This is what you can expect from your first driving lesson. Please remember that every student is an individual and there are slight variations from lesson to lesson depending on a multitude of factors. If you have any questions or comments, share them in the comment section below.
Thank you for reading, and Drive Happy! 🙂
- Step #1 for students ages 15 - 17 1/2
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- 90 minute private driving lessons with the same instructor every time
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