Driving lesson nerves

How to: Beat driving lesson nerves

Written by | Advice

The first driving lesson is a massive milestone in anyone’s life. No matter if you have your first lesson on your 17th birthday or your 70th, the first time you sit behind that wheel, it can all get a bit overwhelming.

Luckily, driving is actually easier than it looks and driving instructors are professionals whose job it is to put you at ease and ensure that you become as good a driver as you can be. However, we know that first driving lesson nerves can sometimes be pretty hard to shift, so we’ve put together a few stress-busting tips (no incense, chanting or aromatherapy required, we promise).

Quick steps to beat driving lesson nerves

1) The big fat breakfast

Facing a stressful situation on an empty stomach is seldom a good idea, and your first driving lesson is no exception. Silence the butterflies in your tummy with a hearty breakfast. The comforting powers of a Full English shouldn’t be underestimated and all the time you spend cooking and eating your brekkie is time that you won’t be concentrating on your driving lesson nerves. Plus, going into your first lesson well-fed will make it easier for you to concentrate.

2) Put together a chillout playlist

Digging through your MP3 collection or Spotify playlists to put together a playlist of lovely relaxing songs is a great way to kill some time before your first lesson and shift your focus away from your nervousness. Once the playlist is done, find a quiet spot and listen to it. Afterwards, you should feel much better, provided you’ve not picked 90 minutes worth of nerve-jangling dubstep.

3) Harness the power of YouTube

YouTube is a wonderful resource for learner drivers. It’s full of really useful videos to teach you everything from car control basics to three point turns. Watch a few videos on our YouTube channel. If picking up a few basics doesn’t calm your nerves then there’s always YouTube’s never-ending supply of cats-doing-silly-things and/or people-falling-over videos. No matter how stressed out you are, a video of a cat playing keyboard or a kid falling off a log will never fail to improve your mood.

4) Tidy your space, tidy your mind

It can be difficult to unwind in a messy or chaotic space, so get out the hoover, grab a bin bag and get your space sorted out. No matter if it’s your bedroom or your kitchen, just tidy up the area you’re in. While you’re cleaning up, think about what’s causing your driving lesson nerves. Are you afraid of failure? If so, think about how many people you know who don’t drive because they find it too difficult. I bet it’s not that many.

Perhaps you’re scared that you’ll damage the instructor’s car? Luckily for you, driving instructors’ cars have pedals in both footwells, so the instructor can easily intervene if you make a mistake. Finally, if you’re panicking that you’ll be driving on the road just minutes after being introduced to the gearstick, don’t worry: you’ll almost certainly spend most of your first lesson in a car park or similar safe place.

5) Social network silence

Don’t hit Twitter and Facebook to post about how hard you’re freaking out, it’ll only cause you to keep focussing on your nerves. Save your updates for after your first lesson.

6) Spend some time with your pets

Hanging out with dogs and cats has been proven to decrease blood pressure and stress levels. If driving lesson nerves strike, spend some time interacting with your pets. Watch your goldfish, go for a walk with the dog, say hello to the cat or even enjoy the company of a tortoise or other scaly critter. Here’s a video which makes us laugh and laughing also reduces anxiety FYI.

7) Have a lovely hug

Seriously, hugs cause your brain to release a hormone called oxytocin. Oxytocin makes us feel good by working on the same reward pathway system as many illegal drugs. It also lowers the levels of stress hormones in your body, decreases blood pressure, improves mood and even increases pain tolerance.

If your driving lesson nerves are stressing you out, find someone you care about and share a lovely, calming hug.

Last modified: 23rd December 2016