In Part 2 of this blog series, I will talk about my experiences of driving lessons. I started driving lessons in April 2021, and had weekly 2 hour driving lessons. I will mainly talk about driving lessons near the start and middle of my driving journey, as I will talk about preparing for the driving test in a later blog post.
During my first few driving lessons, the focus was on learning new driving concepts and making progress in every lesson. My first lesson was your standard first lesson in that my instructor explained to me the controls of the car and how they work, and I also did a little bit of driving. However, I was on main roads by the second lesson, and we very quickly covered other topics such as roundabouts, crossroads and manoeuvres. There was more focus in covering the driving syllabus quickly rather than spending lots of time mastering a given driving concept before moving to the next one. Once I had covered the driving syllabus, the focus switched to perfecting and fine tuning my driving skills.
In my opinion, my instructor was firm but far. He would let me know about any mistakes as I made them, rather than letting them slide. He would point out my mistakes in an honest way but wouldn’t be overly harsh at the same time. Furthermore, my instructor would also point out the things that I did well, which helped my confidence. We would have a debrief at the end of every lesson to talk about how the lesson went and what to work on in the next lesson. I feel that it is important to have an instructor that is able to tailor their teaching style to accommodate your learning style and needs. It was good that I had an instructor that was able to do that.
There were several things that I found difficult during my driving lessons, but there are two main challenges that stand out. One of the main challenges was positioning and clearance from parked vehicles. There were many times where I wasn’t in my lane properly or where I was too close to parked cars. Having that spatial awareness was tricky, and it took a lot of practice and repetition before it came more naturally. The other main challenge was planning ahead and reacting to situations on the road. Often, I would react late to situations or fail to plan ahead. This would sometimes lead to my instructor having to intervene. Over time however, I began to pick up little things that helped me plan ahead and react to situations on the road.
When it comes to driving lessons, here are 3 tips that I would give based on my own experiences.
Make sure you understand why you are doing what you are doing
In my opinion, the aim of driving lessons is not to simply pass your test, but to be a safe driver. In order to be a safe driver, it is important to understand why you are doing certain things rather than simply doing them. One example is understanding why each part of the MSPSL (Mirror, Signal, Position, Speed, Look) routine is important, rather than simply applying it at every junction. Another example is understanding why we do the observations we do when carrying out a reversing manoeuvre. Furthermore, when you make mistakes in driving lessons, it is important to understand why the mistake happened and how you can rectify it. Developing a solid understanding on why you are doing certain things when it comes to driving will help you become a better driver and put you in good stead after you pass your test.
Communicate honestly with your instructor
Remember that your driving instructor wants to work with you to help you become a safe driver and pass your test. What will help them in doing this is you communicating honestly with them. For example, if you feel you are finding a certain topic difficult and want to spend more time on it, then you should tell your instructor that. You should also tell your instructor if there are certain things in particular that you want to focus on in future lessons, such as doing a mock test. However, the most important thing is to be honest with your instructor on any challenges or worries that arise during your driving lessons, such as anxiety. Your instructor can then help you overcome these challenges and worries. Learning to drive is not easy and instructors are fully aware of this, so communicating honestly with them will never be looked down upon. If anything, communicating honestly will make your instructor’s life easier when teaching you
Do things outside of your driving lessons
Driving lessons are the most important part of your driving journey as a learner driver. However, there are things that you can do between lessons that can help you make the most out of your driving lessons. Private practice with family members is a great way to compliment what you have been doing in driving lessons. In particular, I found that private practice helped me make decisions independently and take responsibility as a driver. Even if you can’t do private practice, you can watch YouTube videos to help consolidate your understanding of what you have been doing in driving lessons. Furthermore, if you know you are going to cover a certain topic in your next lesson then you can watch a YouTube video in advance to ensure you are prepared for that lesson. Things you do outside driving lessons can help a lot with preparation for future lessons. Therefore, you shouldn’t underestimate the things you do outside of your driving lessons.
6 thoughts on “Part 2: My driving journey – My experiences of driving lessons”
I agree with you wholeheartedly in this post. I have a driver’s license, but I am taking lessons to master my skills.
I hope that is going well! Thanks for reading!
I encourage extra practice if you have access to a car. It’s always important to work at a level below your lessons, as your accompanying driver doesn’t have the duals or the experience. The aim of private practice is to help to build the muscle memory, which is invaluable to your progress.
Thats a good point. Private practice compliments what you have done in your driving lessons, and can help you progress with developing the muscle memory
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