Learning to drive can be exciting and daunting in equal measure, but you only have to do it once, and if done right, you can ensure that it is an experience to be embraced rather than feared.
Our first, and perhaps most important tip, is to get off on the right footing by making sure you do things by the book. Get your provisional license before you do anything else. It will cost £50 but if you get caught on the road without one it will end up costing you much more. The last thing you need is to be getting in trouble before you’ve even started your life as a driver. If you’re still not convinced, a provisional licence is also one of the best forms of I.D., and will be accepted by any bouncer!
Once you’ve got you provisional licence, choose your instructor wisely. There are lots of practical things to consider: how long they have been a qualified instructor for; what their hourly rate is, whether or not they offer deals such as a block booking discounts, and their first time pass percentage. It’s also important to try and find someone who will match up with your personality. After yourself, your instructor is the most important personality in getting you your license, so talk to friends and family and get recommendations on who they have used, in order to find the right match for you. Use http://www.newdriverni.com/ to find driving instructors near you!
Once you do start your lessons, you’ll feel like you’re on the road to being a driver. It’s good to be excited, but remember, you’re only getting started and there’s no rush. If you immediately imagine that your test is just around the corner, you’ll only put yourself under more pressure, and if you set a target limit on how many lessons you want to have before your test, you’ll end up feeling like your running out of time. Another important habit to get into is planning your lessons properly. If you work late on Friday nights, don’t book a lesson for 9am on Saturday morning; if Tuesday is a tough day at college, don’t plan a 5pm pick-up with your instructor. It’s tempting to try and fit as many lessons in as possible, but if the time doesn’t suit then don’t force it. Unless you can be at your best and most attentive, you won’t learn much and will only end up wasting money.
You’ll have to do your theory test before thinking about your practical, but it’s important not to take this for granted. It’s another costly part of the process and it can be disheartening to fail it first time round, especially if it’s a simple case of not having prepared properly. The practical test is the same. Lessons are expensive, but so is the test itself, so you don’t want to fail simply because you’ve tried to do it before you’re ready. In most cases it would be cheaper to have three extra lessons and pass first time, than it would be to do the test twice. So although no amount of lessons is a guarantee to pass, it’s always good to go with the trusty old saying: practise makes perfect.
If that cliché isn’t enough for you, here’s another one for when you do the test: stay calm. Yes, it’s an obvious one, but it’s repeated time and time again for a reason. By the time you take on the test you should be well ready to pass, so relax and give it your best shot. Here’s a lesser known tip: don’t be afraid to ask to repeat a maneuverer if you think it hasn’t gone well, or even if you just think it could go better. It’s only common sense and good people skills, but most people can be daunted by the environment of a driving test and simply feel they can’t ask. You can. The driving examiner is a person, they’ll understand.