You might feel nervous preparing for your first driving lesson, but there’s truly nothing to worry about. 

Your first driving lesson will surely be a breeze in the hands of an experienced Ashley Neal instructor. But if you want to know what to expect, we’re here to help! Here are our top eleven tips for preparing for your first driving lesson.

1. Read the highway code

The Highway Code will be the cornerstone of your driving lessons. It contains all the rules of the road, from general techniques to advice, rules for overtaking, to driving in adverse weather conditions. 

Everything you’ll ever need to know about driving on UK roads can be found inside The Highway Code. So it only makes sense to brush up on these rules before your first lesson! 

Don’t learn the whole document back to back, but get an idea of what to expect. You may even surprise your instructor with your knowledge and preparation!

2. Bring your provisional licence

Your provisional licence allows you to drive with an instructor or driver over 21 who has held a licence for over three years. To take your first driving lesson, you must have this licence on your person. 

Without it, you would be driving illegally, and your lesson would be cancelled. It’s best to order your provisional licence before booking your first driving lesson to avoid this. 

They can sometimes take a while to arrive, so wait until your provisional licence has been delivered before booking, and keep it somewhere safe until your first lesson. 

3. Get plenty of sleep the night before 

A well-rested mind and body are essential to success. 

Driving requires a lot of concentration, particularly when you first start. Your instructor will feed you plenty of useful information, and you’ll need to pay attention to your surroundings to operate the car safely. 

You should aim to get a full eight hours of sleep before your first driving lesson. Avoid taking any substances that cause drowsiness the night before, and steer clear of alcohol! 

This way, you can approach your first lesson at 100% efficiency. 

4. Settle into your seat

If you’ve never sat in the driver’s seat before, it can be a strange sensation. 

You may feel the seat is too low or high: perhaps you can’t reach the pedals! Feeling uncomfortable will be a big distraction, so take the time to alter your seating position before you start the car.

Ensure you can reach the pedals properly, moving your chair back and forth so the steering wheel is optimum for your arms. The car seat will likely be set to the instructor’s position, so these adjustments are vital and entirely normal. 

5. Don’t forget your glasses (if you wear them!)

Road signs are an essential part of driving. 

They deliver vital information to pedestrians and drivers about driving in a certain way, prohibited actions, warnings about route layouts and where you are in the country. 

That’s why remembering your glasses or contact lenses is a must! If you’re due for an eye test you’ve been putting off, take yourself to the optician before your first lesson. 

6. Wear sensible shoes 

This may sound like a peculiar tip, but the shoes you wear during your lesson can impact your driving ability. 

In manual cars, there are three pedals. The clutch stops your wheels from moving without stopping the engine. The brake slows down or stops the vehicle, and the accelerator controls the car’s speed. 

If you’re taking manual driving lessons, you’ll be taught how to use the pedals by pressing the ball of your foot down. 

But if you’re wearing shoes with thick soles, or shoes that remove easily, you will struggle to control the foot pedals with maximum efficiency. Opt for soft shoes with a thin sole for your first driving lesson so your feet and ankles can adjust to applying pressure. 

7. Wear comfortable clothes

Although you sit down to drive, your arms and legs still need the freedom to move. 

Your legs need to be able to move to operate the foot pedals. In a manual vehicle, you’ll use your arms to operate the clutch and gears. If you’re wearing tight or restrictive clothing, you may find these basic manoeuvres more challenging. 

 That’s why you should wear comfortable clothes for your first driving lesson. So long as you have unrestricted movement in your arms and legs, you should be able to operate the car with ease.

8. Pay attention to the Cockpit Drill

One of the first things your driving instructor will likely teach you is the Cockpit Drill. 

This introduces the checks you’ll need to do every time you sit in the driver’s seat. As you become a more experienced driver, these checks will become second nature. But during your first lesson, pay close attention to your instructor’s commands! 

If you want to get a head start on the Cockpit Drill, here are the main things you’ll be asked to check: 

  • Are your doors securely closed?
  • Are you sitting in a comfortable position? 
  • Are your mirrors adjusted? 
  • Are all passengers wearing their seatbelts? 
  • Are you in the optimum steering position? 

9. Remember you’re safe with your instructor

Taking your first driving lesson can be daunting, but you’re in the hands of a capable, knowledgeable instructor. 

You can take your first driving lesson with one of the most experienced instructors in the Northwest by choosing Ashley Neal. For over two decades, our instructors have become renowned for their high-quality lessons and unbeatable pass rates. 

Rest assured, you are entirely safe, and your instructor can take control of the car anytime. 

10. Ask a lot of questions! 

While driving lessons help you get real-life experience, they’re also a chance to pick your instructor’s brains! After all, driving is all about learning, and your instructor is there to answer any of your burning questions. 

If you’re confused about a basic manoeuvre or road sign, don’t feel silly: ask them for guidance. Instructors are used to teaching beginners and are there to impart their driving wisdom! 

11. Relax and practice

Taking your first driving lesson is a big step, and it’s normal to feel worried or stressed beforehand. But while on the road, try your best to relax and enjoy the experience. 

Driving is all about practice, and you can’t expect to get everything right the first time. Just breathe, go at your own pace, and before long, you’ll feel your confidence building. 

Choose Ashley Neal for your First Driving Lesson!

By following our first driving lesson preparation tips, you’re destined for success! Book with us once you’re ready to hit the road, and we promise to deliver premium lessons at prices that work for you. 

You can find our Driving Lesson Prices here, along with plenty of Driving Lesson Resources to get you started on your journey. 


What do I need to know before my first driving lesson?

We recommend studying the Highway Code and having a general understanding of common road signs. 

What do you do on your first driving lesson?

Although procedures vary from instructor to instructor, you’ll likely:

  • Become familiarised with the vehicle’s controls, seating adjustments, and mirrors.
  • Learn about seatbelt usage and proper hand positioning on the steering wheel.
  • Understand how to start the engine, brake gently, and come to a complete stop.
  • Practice gradually accelerating and braking smoothly to develop greater control.
  • Practice making left and right turns, using indicators and checking blind spots.
  • Learn about essential traffic rules, signs, and signals to follow while driving.

However, it’s important to note that the skills you learn will depend on the length of your first lesson and your individual progress.