Learning how to drive can be a daunting prospect for new drivers. As exciting as it can be—your keys to independence and adventure—the learning experience can prove stressful and difficult at times for even the most enthusiastic students.
That’s why we have taken the time to put together some tactics that are designed to help new drivers get the most out of their time as learners so that the learning experience is as smooth and stress-free as possible.
Our 8 tips for a smooth learning experience
Find the perfect instructor
A professional driving instructor that you click with is key to making your learning journey easier. Learning from someone who understands your learning style, and combines expertise and experience to provide you with clear and easy-to-follow instructions will make all the difference. When in lessons with your instructor, don’t be afraid to ask questions - they’re there to help you and are rooting for your success. There are no stupid questions when you have the safety of yourself, your instructor and others on the road in your hands!
Know what to expect
Before your first lesson, take the time to get an idea of what to expect. Ask friends and family about their experiences learning to drive, and if they have any tips or advice that they can give you. If you are yet to embark on your very first professional driving lesson, you can take a look at this guide by EzLicence on what to expect on your first driving lesson. Mentally preparing is a great way to eliminate anxiety and uncertainty going in, especially if you are someone who struggles with nerves before new experiences.
Know your theory well
Of course, properly studying the UK road rules before hitting the road is essential, but as you continue learning and growing in your practical skills, it is a good idea to hit the books now and then to revise the theory side of things. Keeping on top of the road rules and protocols allows you to avoid mistakes before they happen and avoid complacency and over-confidence.
Find a comfortable position
There are several things you can adjust when in the driver's seat before taking off to maximise your comfort and safety:
One of the most effective ways to improve your confidence as a driver is to drive often. This means getting behind the wheel as much as you can. Don’t just drive when you have a professional lesson. Consider asking your parents if you can drive your sister to hockey practice each week with their supervision or if they’ll take you for a leisurely Sunday afternoon drive just to go for a spin.
Start on quiet roads
Throughout your life, people will often tell you to ‘get out of your comfort zone’, and while this is a great sentiment that applies to many other aspects of life, it might not be a great mantra for beginner drivers. Starting on quiet roads gives you a safe(r) space to get the hang of the basics; taking off, turning, braking and getting a feel for the vehicle's dimensions and the space it takes on the road.
Take your time
You can’t rush learning to drive, it is a skill that like any other takes much time and patience to master. Don’t get frustrated if you’re not progressing at the rate you thought you would or as quickly as your friends claim to be, everyone faces their own setbacks and progresses at different paces.
Practise defensive driving
Defensive driving is a practice that encapsulates the above principles in one holy-grail approach to driving. To drive defensively is to constantly exercise vigilance, anticipate the actions of others and use behaviours such as leaving a 3-second gap and scanning the road to avoid accidents and improve the safety of not only you but everyone on the road.
Learning to drive is an important life skill that takes time and patience to master. Using our tips will help with the process, but there are no quick-fix solutions that you can use to cheat practice and dedication. Ultimately, your eagerness to learn and your attitude will decide the quality of your learning experience.