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First Driving LessonGet The Inside Word On Your First Driving Lesson

Ever wondered what your first driving lesson will be like?  Well wonder no more. We interviewed one of Adelaide’s most experienced driving instructors, Kim Ulreich, to find out just what goes on during that first lesson and what he really thinks about developing your driving skills.

How Nervous Are First Time Drivers?

Normally they are very worried, and I’d be worried if they weren’t!  Everyone one makes mistakes when they are first learning a new skill, and I never make my students feel bad about this.  In fact I try to keep that first lesson as stress free as possible by being friendly and even cracking jokes.

How Do You Make Students Less Nervous?

The key is to make them feel at ease from the very beginning.  On the very first lesson, I always greet the student at their front door (or at school) and I like to be able to meet their parents too.  I find that this sets the stage for a friendlier lesson.

If I’m meeting the student at their school, I will often make sure that I drive first out of site of the school if the student can’t drive themselves – this stops them from feeling that their friends are watching them, and makes them less embarrassed.

I always keep my tone helpful and informative, never reprimanding or patronising.   First time students invariably apologise when they make mistakes.  When this happens I ask them if they play a sport or have a hobby such as netball, and to imagine me playing it as a beginner and trying to pass or shoot for the first time!  This idea usually makes them laugh and feel instantly better about any mistakes they may have made during this first lesson.

What Are The Steps You Take Students Through During The Lesson?

After meeting the student I get them to do the following:

  • I walk them to the car and once inside I ask them to fill out my form and then outline the Competency Based Training & Assessment (CBT&A) Index page (the yellow section of the Driving Companion which is downloadable at www.mylicence.sa.gov.au).  I go on to explain the four sections of the Companion, including the Task 30 final drive and the possibility of Government Accreditation Auditors monitoring the driving instruction;
  • The next step is to start Task 1: Cabin Drill which follows the instructions on the first page of the Drivers Companion (after the Index page);
  • We then move onto Task 2: Starting and shutting down the vehicle;
  • I then tell students about occupational health and safety (“OH&S”) procedures and best practice around vehicles, including the importance of moving around the vehicle to swap seats in a safe manner, which I then go on to demonstrate.  Essentially we must always check the traffic before leaving the car, and then always face traffic when swapping seats;
  • I then ask students to talk me through all the steps holding their Driving Companion open.  I will have highlighted key words from each step of each task – for example, Door, Handbrake, Seat, Mirror, Vehicle Controls and Seat Belt.  I get students in this first lesson to study these for homework and will be able to sign it off next time I see them;
  • The next step is to show them physically where their blind spots are.  I will stand in positions and get them to check whether they can see me in their door mirror.  Then I will move and get them to look over their shoulder to see me.  This demonstrates blind spots in a very real and practical way;
  • We move onto Task 3 which is Moving Off in a quiet street and then Task 4: Stopping And Securing;
  • These steps will usually take around 45 minutes to complete.  This will end the lesson if students have booked a 45 minute lesson.  If they have booked a 60 minute lesson, then they can drive for an extra 15 minutes.

What Advice Would You Give A First Time Driver?

My advice would be that it’s normal to feel nervous, and that your first lesson will seem a little overwhelming to begin with.  You’re learning so many new skills and having to take in a lot of knowledge, so don’t be too hard on yourself.  I’d also tell them that everyone makes mistakes when they are first learning something – especially something this complicated.  Being calm and trying to relax can help a lot!

Adelaide Learner Drivers Education is based in the Eastern Suburbs book your first driving lesson in Highbury now.