As former novices, we at Ashley Neal know that getting behind the wheel can sometimes feel terrifying. But don’t worry, we’ve all been there. Pre-lesson jitters are part of the learning curve, and the more you practice, the more natural it’ll feel. 

Even the best drivers experience on-road anxiety, but that’s nothing that can’t be solved. Today, we’ll tell you how to calm your nerves before a driving test. Put our tried-and-tested tips into practice, and we promise driving will soon feel second nature. 

  1. Preparation 

Get a good night’s sleep

We can’t stress this enough: a well-rested mind is a calm one. Aim for at least 7-8 hours of quality sleep the night before your lesson. By resting your body and brain, your reactions will be significantly improved. 

You’ll be able to make decisions quicker, meaning more control and less anxiety over the lesson. 

Organise your documents

There’s nothing more stressful than frantically searching for your provisional (or any other required documents) just minutes before your lesson. Make sure everything is organised and ready to go the night before.

That way, you’ll have one less thing to worry about. 

  1. Nutrition and hydration

Eat a light, nutritious meal 

Not everyone deals with hunger the same way: for some, taking a driving lesson on an empty stomach could lead to a lack of concentration. For others, eating on a full stomach may encourage feelings of sluggishness. 

Try and find the perfect balance with a light yet filling lunch. Eat a meal rich in protein and low in sugars around an hour before your lesson to keep your focus sharp. 

Stay hydrated

It’s well-known that dehydration can increase anxiety, lethargy and dizziness. Ensure you drink enough water before your lesson, but not so much that you’ll need a bathroom break every 15 minutes!

  1. Mental tasks

Deep breathing

Breathing techniques are a quick, sure-fire way to reduce your heart rate. 

As a form of self-care, set aside some time before each lesson to practice deep breathing. Start by inhaling deeply through your nose. Hold for a few seconds (or as long as you feel comfortable), then exhale slowly through your mouth. 

Repeat this 5-10 times to help steady your nerves.

Visualisation techniques

Close your eyes and visualise a positive driving experience. Imagine confidently navigating through traffic, smoothly turning corners, and successfully parking the car. Visualisation tactics can set the tone for your lesson and help keep anxiety at bay. 

  1. Physical exercise


The wonders of simply stretching truly can’t be underestimated. Take 5 minutes before your lesson to do light arm, leg, neck, and shoulder stretches. They’re excellent for relieving physical tension!

Quick walk

A 5-minute walk can be both mentally and physically invigorating. Even a brisk lap around your neighbourhood before your lesson can release endorphins (also known as natural mood enhancers!) 

  1. Dress comfortable 

Wear comfortable clothing 

Wear something you feel comfortable and confident in. Avoid tight, restrictive clothing that could make you feel physically uncomfortable and add to your stress.

Bring comfort items 

If you have a small item that brings you comfort, like a stress ball or a favourite keychain, bring it along. Sometimes, a familiar object can provide comfort and normality in a new situation.

  1. Timing

Arrive early

Aim to arrive 10-15 minutes before your scheduled lesson. By doing this, you can avoid the worry of being late. 

Time management

Don’t schedule your driving lesson in between stressful or time-consuming activities.

Ensure you have a clear schedule before and after the lesson to avoid additional stress.

  1. Talk 

Speak to your instructor 

If you’ve tried all these tactics and still feel nervous, don’t hesitate to communicate with your instructor. Ashley Neal instructors are trained to help learners of all confidence levels can adjust the lesson to better suit your needs.

You can set yourself up for success by preparing yourself mentally, physically and emotionally. Remember, it’s completely normal to feel a bit anxious before something new and important.

What matters is how you manage that anxiety and turn it into a positive, focused energy.