For Device Driver Download and Updates Click Here >>

The up-front story about learning to drive


Date: Tuesday, 29. August 2006

If you could hear some of the stories driving instructors and driver examiners have to tell one another you'd know that there's a lot more to learning to drive than meets the eye, or any of the other senses for that matter.

The New Drivers section of will bring you some of these stories later on, and they'll show you that learning to drive can be a vastly different experience for different people. They'll also show you that the more you know about driving the more fascinating driving becomes.

If you ask, for example, how long it takes to learn to drive (a common question from people learning to drive) you'll have to be prepared for a long answer and a short one. The short answer is that, for most individuals, it takes about an hour to learn the basics of starting, stopping and turning. If you want the long answer you'll need to answer another question first: how good a driver do you want to be?

Professional driving instructors generally reckon that it takes somewhere between 25 and 50 hours of behind-the-wheel experience for the average novice driver to get enough skills to function in basic traffic situations. That would normally be enough to learn to pass a basic driving test in most parts of the world. But there is much more to driving than that.

What does "good" mean?

People talk about being a "good" driver, but what does this mean? What does it take to become good? Suppose, for example, you wished to become accomplished at some sport or game such as football, golf, chess, or basketball. How much practice time and training would you plan on? Someone who takes up basketball would hardly expect to be an accomplished player after just 25 to 50 hours. A serious player will plan on years of practice. And no player will get anywhere near the top without lots of input from professional coaches.

Bearing this is mind, isn't it interesting, that, when surveyed about their driving abilities, most drivers will admit that they have never taken any kind of professional coaching beyond the basic program required for licensing. And yet, most rate their ability as 8-9 out of a possible 10! Driving is not a competitive activity (although some are confused about this), and there is no scoreboard to measure ability, so just about anyone can fool themselves into thinking that they're very good.

If you want to test your imagination about the possibilities for developing driving skills beyond the basics ask yourself what it would be like to sit in the passenger seat of a car driven by a driving superstar-not a race-driving star, but a street-driving star with the talent of, lets say, basketball's Michael Jordan, tennis's Andre Agassi, or ice hockey's Wayne Gretzky.

The goal of the New Drivers section is to help you, the novice driver, tackle the basics of learning to drive and begin to explore the fascinating world of driving. Social scientists have been studying novice drivers for years, but there is a lot they don't know, and we'll discuss that, too. You are regarded as high risk, and we'll tell you why. Visit us now and then to keep up to date. If you have ideas or suggestions please let us know at

The skills of driving

Basic driving is a combination of hand/eye coordination skills, vehicle handling skills, and traffic knowledge. Advanced driving is, more than anything else, a combination of decision making and management skills that include judgment, psychology, sociology, diplomacy, tactics and strategy. We'll discuss all of these and try to relate them to learning other activities that also require a mixture of skills and knowledge. However, there's not many activities as complex as learning to drive-if you want to do it well, that is.

A word of warning

Driving is very much a decision-making task, and good decisions depend on good information. Ninety percent of that information comes through the eyes. In other words, you can't be an expert driver without an understanding of how vision and perception works. The good news is that this can be one of the most interesting topics you will ever explore.

Further comments to this article have been disabled.

All Comments (137)

Showing 1 - 137 comments

isabel marant sneake,

Payment Code exploite les smartphones des consommateurs.on consensuelle quentre 20 et 30% des détenteurs de smartphones adopteront une montre connectée compatible. Tout le monde se regarde : Google, les clients ont à leur disposition des options créatives pratiquement illimitées. Shutterstock est le leader dans le domaine de labonnement en imagerie libre de redevancesShutterstock a annoncé aujourdhui laddition de sa dix millionième image, Granges?Canéda, Cette année, Apple monte également en gamme sur limage et le son, rectifie Xavier Niel].


I really want to learn how to drive but I'm having a really hard time doing it with my dad. All he does is yell in my ear and I'm tired of not having a license. I'm strongly considering just shelving out a bunch of money so I can get a professional to help since no one in my family wants to help me. My confidence in driving is really low and I need to increase it.

Joan P,

I made a comment a while ago about my learning how to drive woes the last time I was here.I'm back to encourage you guys not to give up on learning how to drive.After a long struggle of taking lessons 3 to 4 times a week (a lesson is 40 mins in Berlin,Germany) for nearly three months I finally made it.
I did my road test yesterday and passed first time around.
I was a nervous wreck!! everything was going okay but when it came to reverse parallel parking my mind went blank.
after trying it twice,the examiner said I should try it on a different spot.He told me to breath in and out and to relax.
I shall never forget that my left leg was shaking so bad that my left foot was bouncing on and off the clutch!!
I drove well after that and then he asked me to reverse around a corner,this time I breathed in and out and did it without a struggle.
When I think about it now,I'm not sure who was more nervous between me and my driving instructor who was seated beside me.(the(examiner was seated at the back right)
Those were the longest 45 minutes of my life.
I have to add that my driving instructor encouraged me to take an hour driving lesson just before the road test to help keep me in motion which I found helpful.

To all of you struggling with learning how to drive please don't give up just believe in yourselves.I have done it at the age of 30 so you can too


Eveline Antony,

Iam 45 years old i have a driver licence for de past ten years but i still cannot drive, please someone help me


I just took my behind the wheel test and I too, failed. I came to a stop sign and couldn't see to my left, so I crept out a little. And almost got hit by an oncoming car! I missed judged the speed the car was traveling and tried to pull out ahead and the car reached us before I could go. Had I tried to go I would've been hit.

Mostly, I was nervous... but, I can't let that be an excuse. No worries. I'll keep practicing my driving and with time, I'll have the experience and confidence to pass the exam.


Just failed my first driving test and I had some major faults.(I reversed and ended up scrapping a wall and then I just went to pieces it was very ugly) I cringe thinking about it. I had a lesson before the test and i drove perfectly no faults at all so I know I can pass but my nerves get the better of me hopefully next time I can control my nerves and be confident in my driving. To everyone out there learning or have failed a driving test, don't get disheartened just brush it off, laugh it off and try, try again you will get there. Good Luck everyone


Im a student currently and since last summer (August) enrolled in a driving academy and it's taking me so much longer to drive than anyone else the driving instructor has taught I'm sure. I always end up leaving lessons disappointed in myself and angry that maybe I'm one of those people not meant to drive. But I love the feeling of the freedom and the control. Why is it taking me do much longer to learn? I put in the time as much as I can but my minuscule amount of driving with my parents isn't helping. What can I do to get better with my on road lessons??

Joan P,

I'm 30 and started taking my driving lessons on a manual transmission 7 weeks ago.
I didn't think learning how to drive would be this complicated and hard.I have had about 20 double lessons a lesson is (40 minutes in Germany)and I still make the silliest mistakes sometimes.
The worst thing is my instructor waits until I have made an error then he complains about why would do this or that!!!
I have good days and bad days but unfortunately the bad outweigh the good.
I'm not planning on giving up especially when I think about how much time and money I have spend (a little over 1600 Euros)I fail to understand why learning how to drive is so expensive in Europe.
I'm just praying when the time comes I will pass the driving test as the driving examiners are so strict in Germany *sighs*


hi i am trying so hard ,can do it all but have trouble putting it all together

s p subbulakshmi,

i am 56 years old woman. at this age i want to learn car driving. is it possible for me to learn. i have confidence on me.


I have been learning to drive for about 6 months now. I am only learning in an automatic but have just failed my first practical test. I have had 2 lessons since then and just feel as if i am getting worse and worse. My instructor is a very patient man and just keeps saying i need to work on my confidence but every lesson i have had for a while leaves me more disheartened as i seem to get so much wrong. i don't want to give up learning as i have bought a car but just feel as if i am wasting my time and not getting anything out of my lessons.


The purchases I make are entirely based on these airctles.


i have been taking lessons with a driving instructor for 2 years and the instructor has cancelled my test twice,i am in my late forties and a women.i am ok with minor roads etc but am slightley nervous on dual roads/faster roads/roundabouts have you any advice to give me confidence.


I am 22 years old and I still do not have my licence while everyone else in my family does including my 18 year old cousin. I feel so left behind and stupid because i cannot seem to understand or pass the test. I feel even more out of the loop when most people at my job think that im suppose to have a licence but I dont and I'm so embarrassed. I plan on going to a new driving school for help soon I'm just having allot of trouble getting the courage to do so I don't want them to laugh at the fact that I'm my age and I cant drive.


hi how are you
I am aning


I'm about to turn 50. I have been a career learner's permit person since the 80's. I took my very first road test about 6 months ago. I was so nervous, my learner's permite stated that I worn glasses (I use to, but have since gotten the lasik surgery and forgot to have it changed on the permt), I had to take the test with my reading glasses!!!!! I failed before I pulled off good. That really discouraged me, but at the same time, I would really like to have my license...just very scared and beginning to think I'm too old...:-(


Hi Guys.
I was hoping I could get some nuggets of advice on a few things. Firstly, I found out on my first ever lesson (with my sister) that I'm not the speed demon I thought I was. I enjoy travelling at speed (within the legal limits of course) when I'm the passenger in a car, but as soon as I moved into the drivers seat and got to more than 10mph I felt like I was going to lose control of the thing and all of my signals, mirrors, everything else just went out of my head and all I could concentrate on was how to make the car stop! I felt sick and shaky and it's really put me off. Also, I have no perception of distances, speed, widths so it's a constant worry that I'll not brake in time or I'll crash into a parked vehicle. I do have a neuro condition, but I've been passed as fit to drive so I really would like to learn. I'm afraid that I'll end up in tears with an instructor and make a complete fool out of myself. Any confidence building tips.... Oh, and would it be advisable to take non drowsy Kalms or something that you can buy over the counter to settle my nerves or would they slow reaction times?
All help greatly appreciated! :/


A lot of people who come to driving later in life suffer from a lack of confidence, which is why choosing the right instructor is really important. Always shop around and don't be tempted to just go with the cheapest instructor as in the long run, it's worth paying for quality to make sure you're prepared as fully as possible when the time comes to take your test.

Lisa - you're right, the British test has gotten a lot harder if only because there's now the theory test, hazard perception test and the new 'independent driving' section to take into account. The DSA provides loads of useful information to help learners prepare fully (, and any good instructor should be able to help you out by providing training and practice materials, like the links you can find here:

Good luck!


I'm 44 and just about to start lessons. I took lessons in my early 20s, and my driving instructor eventually told me I could drive, but just needed practice. This was mostly because my main problem was confidence, and just feeling comfortable on the road. Unfortunately, the only person to practice with was my (now ex) boyfriend, who destroyed any confidence I had. I'm now married with a small child, and my husband can't drive either. I have decided I don't care how long it takes, and I don't care if I spend the first five lessons in a car park. This time I am going to keep going until I have my licence. I gather the British test has got much much harder than it was 20 years ago, but I don't care if it takes me another 5 years. I'm so glad to know the nerves I feel are normal - this thread has given me so much determination!


I am starting back lessons in a couple of days im 40 this year so its now or never i was feeling really nervous but finding these comments has helped knowing im not alone .


I'm 23 and I've been learning for about five months. Everything was going okay and I have my test booked for 2 months time, but my instructor is really pushing me to get more private practice in and it's turning out to be impossible as my boyfriend is really busy with his degree and won't give me any time to go practising. My parents also paid for the insurance and they keep questioning me as to how much I've been getting out in the car - and I keep having to exaggerate what I have actually done. I feel nervous in my lessons as I'm worried I must be progressing really slowly, and I know my manoeuvres need a lot more work.

I have a number of friends who would be able to teach me - they have all been driving over three years and are over 21 - but I'm worried that it's illegal for them to teach me if they're not insured on the car? There was a BBC news article recently that said this was the case.

Any help would be appreciated!!


I feel like giving up at this stage. Ive had 12 driving lessons with a professional instructer who I have to say was very good. But as I lost my job I cant afford any more lessons. So for about 3 months Ive just been going out with my dad. Im so nervous every time I get into the car that my leg shakes. Today my brother came out with me and I was more nervous with him that I made stupid and dangerous mistake especialy on the roundabouts. I just want to sell my car and give up. How do I get past this feeling. Maybe Im just not meant for driving


Hi, I just had my first lesson with an instructor, I had practiced in a parking lot before but then that person only taught me to do it with one hand when making turns which isn't recommended so when I was driving with the instructor I felt my hands were kind of the all over the place and she said always keep them at 9 and 3 but it's became a bad habit that I don't know how to break it. How do I break this bad habit?

Veresa. Waivava Naiq,

Learners permit


i have been learning to drive for nearly a year now, i am at the advanced stage of taking mock tests with my instructer i find roudabouts difficult but have been told this will come to me i feel as though i will never get this

Don H,

I am a driving instructor in England and I am reading the comments here for the first time. I am amazed at what I am reading from the learners/pupils.....It just the same this side of the Atlantic.
The big problem is you all, (here and there) see your parents and friends driving and it looks so easy and then cannot figure out why "I am not able to do it" within a couple of hours.
Look at children and the time and effort they put into learning to write,something that you do and take for granted every day of your life yet they screw up their faces in concentration and hunch over their tables and desks in a tremendous effort.
When you get into a car your desk, unlike a child's is not stationary it is moving and ALL the other "desks" in the classroom are moving adding to the complexity of the learning process.You are constantly trying to make difficult calculations on relative velocities in fractions of a second and repeating these calculations constantly updating your brain on the position of everything in your line of sight so that you can make hundreds of decisions every minute.
NASA has not got a machine that can do this and fit inside the human skull,yet.
Give yourselves a chance. Take your time and learn in stages not moving on until you have mastered each stage to an acceptable level. Remember we all learn at different speeds and have different strengths and weaknesses. When we were at school we all remember the kids who were good at some subjects but not at others. Driving is no different we all have varying levels of success and learning speed.
I get very annoyed at people of my generation who belittle the efforts of those learning to drive today. They have no idea how much more difficult it is today than 20,30 or most certainly 4o years ago.
I have read some of the comments by a Walter H on here and seems to be giving very sound advice so I would assume he is a driving instructor like myself. I agree also with him that there are too many instructors out there that shoould be left asleep in their beds in the morning and not disturbed.
So take HIS advice and take YOUR time and ENJOY your learning experience.
Think safe ,drive safe.


i am learning to drive i have had around 86 hours of driving i am in my forties i seem to be taking ages to get to test standard i have lessons fo 2 hors a week and private lessons of arond 2hours a week


I stated to learn to drive a year ago, gave up was so overwhelmed and petrified of oncoming traffic... 1 year later my husband is teaching to drive and I am having problems over compensating when turning, making wide turns into 2 lanes, and mistaking the brakes and gas pedals, I want to give up, but I cant as I have a son and I need to learn to drive to get around. Any comments or suggestions would be gratefully appreciated.


I started learning to drive and then had to stop for personal reasons. I had about 13 lessons. That was unfortunate as my confidence was really picking me up. After a year, I returned to it but this time with a different instructor. This instructor works at the same place as me so gives all workers a discount so his rate is way lower than most driving instructors. I have a problem with him however: he puts undue pressure on me when I make a mistake such as saying 'This is ridiculous' after I'd stalled the car on a very complex road. These sorts of comments wreak my confidence a lot and I'm thinking about changing instructors. Is it a good idea?


Don't give up. My sister failed 5 times and finally passed last month. You are not the only one that has failed twice, you must remember that. I am still learning to drive and won't take the test until I am comfortable. I have had my permit for a year now and still have not attempted the road test.


Hi i failed my driving test two times now i'm very scared because my first exam i did better than the second one and now i don't feel like going back .

Walter H,

It could be, but the more likely reason is poor instruction. You should NEVER be put in a situation you can't handle. You should learn bit by bit. Professional instructors are usually good at this but not all.

There are very few really good instructors.

Advice -- be patient with yourself. Master one skill (e.g. smooth braking, heavy braking, gentle braking) before going on to the next.


I am a 37 year old woman who is having a very difficult time learning to drive. I took the road test twice and failed miserably. Could it be that some people just are not able to master this skill.


I am really afraid to start drivers training in a few months and I dont know why. People say it is like riding a bike, but cares are bigger, there is more to remember, and there are more cars on the road. I need to start but, I just need help relizing that it isnt that bad...
Please Help!

Walter H.,


driving is something you master bit by bit. For example: setting up, starting the engine, moving away, stopping, switching off - this exercise has just about all the elements of driving. If you can do this flawlessly - that is correct procedure, checking traffic, signaling, accelerating away, then checking, signaling again, slowing and stopping - without "losing points" (such as for failing to signal or check or using bad timing) then you are ready to take on the next stage (making turns, dealing with traffic, etc.).

If you get to a complicated stage (such as left turns in traffic) and you feel confused or lack confidence, then you have not acquired all the "tools" (skills and techniques) you need for that job.

Each lesson should be clear and with well set objectives. You should feel a sense of progress at the end of each one, whether it's an intensive course or not.

If this is not happening you do not have a good instructor.

All the elements of driving are simple in themselves and if there is one you feel you simply can not master then you should see a specialist who can determine what the problem is.

The most common problem for people who have difficulty learning to drive is poor instruction. Some instructors are even quite destructive in that they can undermine your confidence in yourself.


I am taking an intensive driving course and today was my third day of 4 hour lessons. I took a test and failed on nerves 7 years ago, so it is a while since I last drove! At the moment I am feeling really fed up, it feels like I am never going to pass the test, I just cant seem to master anything. They guy teaching is so different to my last instructor and teaches so differently. I don't know if anyone else has done an intensive course and ever felt the same way? If I was paying for this rather than my Dad, I think I would be giving in! can anyone tell me how many hours it took before things began to come together?


Thanks guys, the posts have really been helpful. I am off to my driving lesson in 30 minutes and I feel more confindent after reading about other people's experiences. Its not easy, but I am determined to learn.

Thanks Walter H, ur advice is really useful.


hi, I am going to schedule one day to take road test. I don't know which center is better near Pittsburgh which has nicer instructor? I'll appreciate so much if any recommendation!



Anna, don't give up after just 16 hours. My bet is you need a better instructor. Could it be your instructor is
a) using tests as part of your training
b) not able to judge when you're ready.
c) just not a good instructor

Walter H.,

Anna, 16 hours of driving lessons doesn't seem like enough to try even one driving test, never mind three. If you have not driven much more than the 16 hours then you should be taking perhaps another 16 lessons before trying a test.

I suspect your instructor is not very good!

50 hours is more like a good preparation time.


Im 25 iI had about 16 hours of lessons and took the test 3 times already and failed all of em. I cant do it anymore.
Im so nervous and I turn too much and I go too slow. HELP

Walter H,


the plateau is normal. You learn something new and then you have to incorporate it with all the other stuff. After a breakthrough a period of confusion and adjustment is part of the learning process.

Just relax and let it come to you.

Also, if you read this article it will help


Been taking lesson for 4 month. I seem to progress really fast and the plateau. I get really nervous in busy traffic situations and small lanes. I have trouble knowing what to do at intersections. I need to get my liscence soon but it feels impossible. I take lessons but I do not have access to a car otherwise. Any suggestions?

courage tuesday 13 a,

I had my permit and afriend gave me a car. I had my permit and he did have his license ,he said I can drive in the day time, but not at night. I just got into the car and started driving. my friend told me how good iwas doing I really feltproud. so if you just believe in yourself and is with someone that has confidence to build your faith you can do it too. I think that family makes you nervous, so make sure the person you learn with is calm and give you confidence. Thats thier purpose and maybe paying for. just do not take any more lessons form these people. I have a friend that taught his self to drive and read all the street signs all by his self from africa so he could drive cab. he needed money despertly!!!


I'm 42 and have always been afraid to drive. I've never had a license but I'd really like to learn to drive as I know its now or never... What's the best way to go about learning?? I've taken the written test and passed with flying colors and have had 3 permits which have all expired...


I was in a emptie (Well nearly emtie) carpark and it was my first lesson so i cant realy expect much

Walter H,

Charlie, about stalling. Try this --

If you are learning on a manual shift you should be able to let the clutch up and move the car away without using the gas pedal. That gives you a feel for what the clutch is all about.

Once you can do this, then try it in second gear, or even third - with NO gas.

Don't let anyone tell you it's impossible, and don't believe it kills the clutch. What kills the clutch is not understand it and engaging it the wrong way time after time.

I've used this with thousands of student drivers and they have NEVER wrecked a clutch.

Once you understand this principle you won't stall as long as you give your engine as much gas as it needs to accelerate.



Hiya I'm 17 and i've started driving a couple of weeks ago my first instructor let me down so my mum took me out every night in a empty car park and i'm learning the basics can't get hold of brake and clutch keep stalling. tomorrow im going out with another instuctor to go on the open road the only worry i have is the other cars and stalling but recently ive been feeling like i can't do this and i'm not in the mood but i have too cause my mum is counting on me. any thoughts on what to do next so confused ?????

Walter H.,

Rudy, if you have problems staying centered in the lanes you should not be dealing with traffic. You're trying to progress too fast! Try to find quieter roads so you're not so nervous.

The nervousness always comes from being overloaded. It's the instructor's job to prevent that but you have to let your instructor know about it by giving feedback about how you feel about things.


Had my first lesson today and even though the car im using is a auto (Dad wants me to learn with manule later) im shaking so badly. im having problimes with watching for other cars and staying centered in the lanes (Im hoples at reversing strait) My dad did say im doing way better than the first 10 mins but trying to reverse, watching for people and driving a semi powerfull car is all very hard. note the car is a chariat that can get up to 200k/h

Walter H,

ten lessons isn't so much. got to be patient. However, here's a tip: think what you want your car to do and your natural coordination will tend to help you make it happen.

On the other hand, you have to be comfortable with each part of the task -- using brake, accelerator pedals, steering, finding instuments and other controls.

Lots of my students got into trouble because they wanted to go on to get into more advanced road and traffic situations before being completely happy about the basics.


ive had ten lessons and i just cant seem too get it....its makes me angry


I just started learning to drive am on my second lessons little bit nervous ready to gave up already it sees like u have to do so much in an hour havent mastered my turns as yet help.


I've had my permit for almost 6 months. I can take my drivers test in 2 weeks, but I know I'm not ready. My parents refuse to get me a car, so I'm stuck driving either my dad's truck or my mom's SUV. I'm not very good in either one; I can't seem to judge distances and have trouble guiding such large vehicles. (I'm pretty short.) I doubt I'll get a car very soon, so does anyone have any tips for learning to drive in larger vehicles?

Also, I can't seem to communicate with my parents when it comes to driving. Either they yell at me for doing everything wrong, or they don't tell me anything at all. I'm never sure what I'm doing right. I don't even know how to park properly, because no one will teach me. Anyone have any advice on how to learn to park? Or maybe on just how to learn to drive, period? =)


I am 32 years old and last year I took 20 lessons but was not confident. And I stopped. I was feeling ashamed as most of my friends learnt it in not more than 12 lessons.
I realised there are three things that are very important. Firstly, you need to observe the environment like the signal, cars around and the route. Secondly, be alert and take quick decisions. Finally keep your mind calm.

I am planning to restart it. I not sure how am I gonna go this time.


i've been learning driving for the last 1 year, i still have problem in changing lanes in heavy traffic, i'm so depearate to get the license. my kid will start school from next year and i have to get the lice by next year.
if somebody has tips for this ,please help me.


Here's a tip from a driving instructor for both Joy and Bryn - Steering is mainly about 'look where you want to go'. In other words you aim with your eyes, then your hands will tend to do the right thing. However, you need to get the feel for how much steering it takes to go around a turn. Most beginners, in fact most people, tend to steer too much. You've got to be patient. Go slower into the turn and then do just enough steering to get around.

That takes practice. Many very experienced drivers don't do it well.

About steering when reversing - one easy rule: Look where you want to go and then steer that way. It's the same as going forward!

And Bryn is right. It takes patience.

One more thing Joy. For years I taught manual shift driving as well as automatic. There were lots of people who gave up on gearshift thinking automatic would solve their attention -dividing problem with hands and feet. It didn't.

It's EXTREMELY IMPORTANT in driving to be able to do this so you need to develop some parking lot exercises to help.

Many drivers get their license without fully mastering this and they're dangerous!


I completely understand your problems with steering, Joy. I'm 17 and have been driving since November (had about 22 hours on the road roughly). On the technical side of things like changing gears, balancing feet on hill, etc. i'm alright, but my steering is poor to say the least. Rather than move the wheel with big controlled turns, i always end up dong these short, shuffling rushed movements and struggling to make a tur without getting out of position.
I am always worried about making a tur too sharply. On top of that, my judgement of traffic situations and and road positioning isn't always the greatest. But reading all the postings on here has really been great because now i know we've all got our own weak points, learning paces and strengths.
And for anyone who is particularly struggling with something.... just keep going at it. I used to find approaching junctions impossible, and hill starts, and loads of other things. I just tried and tried and tried and now 'm fine with allof those things and just crap with steering and judgement lol ;)


I'm 39 and learning to drive, I've tried driving when I was younger but failed a couple of times coz I'm too nervous and can't get the hang of shifting gears and controlling the steering wheel at the same time. I am now learning to drive automatic, it's much easier but still I have a lot of difficulty in backing the car, can you give me some tips? I feel like stupid not knowing how to back properly and where and when to turn the steering wheel to the correct direction. Please help....


any tips on how you should go about making tight turns should you accerlerate into it or turn slowly my biggest problem is that making turns


I am sooo nervous driving. I have trouble keeping a steady spped, turning, signals... pretty much everything. I did take a lesson.. which was no help. My driving instructor was getting fed up with me because I couldnt turn properly. I know I need to get my licence. Its so scary

Walter H,

Best of luck with your lessons. Don't worry about nerves. Calming your nerves and putting you in control is your instructor's job. Once you see that each part of the task in manageable you will feel better.

However, if your instructor can't calm your nerves then get another instructor. This is a professional instructor's key skill.


well, i will start my driving lessons next week with a new instructor but i have been a bit worrie that my nerves doesn't ruin anything i want to control my nerves, fell more confidente, concentrate and focus in my driving but it is importante that i relax. how can i control my nerves..


Well, I am 42 yrs old, Spanish, who has been living here for over a decade, and I am sick of waiting for the bus, train..etc. I should have done yrs ago. But...I did not do it. I have been studing the theory for some time over years. However I never made my mind to hire an instructor. Now it is the time, enroll in a theory class and hire an instructor. ..I think I am a bit old, and in the UK drive in opposite direction, which is very confusing...I have to be brave....Ole...


My Driving is coming along,after nearly giving up,I only have a few things to iron out and I should be ready for my test.
I have a lesson tommorrow ,hope it goes well ,I have had so many awful lessons it's like a roller coaster,but my nerves are under control and I feel more confident.



A big part of the driving instructor’s job is to is to break down the task into bits that can be taught and mastered before going on the next bit. That’s where the ‘amateur’ instructors have problems. They don’t know how to do this. (sometimes the professionals are not so good at it either, but at least they have dual controls.)

An amateur instructor can often put you in trouble without realizing it.

Family members and friends tend to have ‘relationship’ problems. Other emotions creep in and interfere with instruction.

Overall, it’s is well known amongst professional driving instructors that learning from family members very often works out badly. The alternative is to get a carefully chosen friend to help out, but this has its problems too. You really have to control where lessons take place and what the lesson covers. DON’T JUST DRIVE AROUND. Plan your lessons.

The online booklet Learning to Drive: a Guide for Parents has lots of good hints on this and advice from very experienced and professional driving instructors. Check it out.


Whoops! That was me above.


The cost of attending one is way too much for us right now. Even if they'd like the idea of me attending one, the chances of me going because of money aren't very likely. So I don't know what to do in regards of that.


Maybe you can talk your family into letting you attend a driving school. Most schools and places like community colleges offer a driving school. That's what I did and I felt much more comfortable behind the wheel. Learning from my family was too stressful!


I've never had an official instructor while learning how to drive before. I'm currently seventeen years old, and have my learner's permit, and find that I'm wishing more and more that I was actually with an actual instructor than driving with my family. I've driven, thus far, with my father and brother (who is over 21), and find that driving with my brother is a lot more comfortable than driving with my dad. My dad constantly gets very stern (or more) with me over little things, and it constantly messes with my psyche. My brother, however, is much more calm and cool, and explains very softly what I did wrong, and could use working on, and even the first time or two I accidentally hit the accelerator over the brake, he never panicked badly, and just laughed it off. Made me feel a lot less nervous.

What's worse is, when driving with my dad, it feels like he's rushing me to get my lisence, not taking into consideration that people learn more slowly than others. He has actually SET a date for me to get my lisence (October 16th I think), when I've only had roughly four "sessions" of driving in my year of having my permit. Heck, I've only driven residential roads for the most part, and the first time, FIRST TIME I drove, I was thrown out onto the express way by my dad. No joke! It feels like I just can't talk to him.

All this rushing to get my license by my dad just makes me less confident, and less intent on doing it. It's a mentality of "you need to do it now, because you're SO BEHIND everyone else." Reading the replies here made me feel a little bit better, because I see there are other people out there like me who get their licenses later on in life. And that I'm not quite the idiot or slow learner I feel like I am.

It just makes me wish even more that I had a professional instructor...


Paul, it looks like you got one of those bad instructors, and there's lots of them out there.

For a start, your nervousness on the first or subsequent lessons should be very limited. Your instructor should be breaking down the task into pieces you can manage and then building them up. You should NEVER be in traffic without first having developed a level of competence in all the skills you need so that you are not overly nervous.

All too often a poor instructor will take a student out onto busy streets without adequate preparation and then blame the student when things go wrong. If things DO go wrong it is invariably the instructors fault.

And what's all this about memorizing the test route? It's a major part of the examiner's job to communicate clearly what you are to do next. If you are properly prepared you won't mind where you go.


I am 42 years old. 13 years ago, I took 30 hours of driving lessons. It was sheer hell! I was always very nervous to the point of being terrified. I sweated profusely in the air-conditioned car! I could not change gears smoothly. I could not remember the routes I needed to learn for the test. My driving instructor kept getting furious at my 'repeated mistakes'. He even ordered me to pull over just to give me a proper shelling!

I gave up and didn't drive since. Last year, I learnt that I am 'dyslexic'. It simply means that I have difficulty concentrating. (That would explain why I have been fluncking exams all my life)! I leant driving again on a very small, automatic tranmission car. It was much easier to drive. It helped a lot because I only needed to concentrate on the steering, gas and brakes. I also learnt the test routes by counting traffic lights (eg. Route 1: at the first traffic light, turn left, then right, right, left , right, right, etc)!

Eventually, I was so confident of driving that I began driving a bigger, manual transmission car. After getting used to it, I took my test and passed on my first attempt!

Today I feel like the king of the road!


Lisa and Jenny DON'T GIVE UP.
It may take you a while but,some people take a long time to learn.
Don't compare yourself with the people you may know or have heard about learning really quickly with no problems. Many people do take time to learn,you don't hear much about the ones that struggle.
I am on about lesson 33 and I know I am going to need a lot more.
I found the driving discs for the computer helped build my confidence and I haven't given up (though my last lesson was awful).
It will eventually sink in it's all about confidence,and you have to build it up,you have to belive you can drive,once you feel you can you will be more relaxed and make fewer mistakes ,if you are nervous it makes your mind go blank.


I've had 15 lessons, and i still cant remember the controls, when i get to a junction i go blank. should i give up?


I crashed the car on my second lesson into a wall,no one was hurt and the car just had scratches. my instructor just said he wasnt sure if he should of grabbed the wheel or pressed the break, and so did neither :( I carried on having lessons with this instructor, but felt i was getting knowhere,plus lost confidence in him,also i was just so nervous about even starting the car in case i crashed again. ive since changed instructors, but im still really nervous, my firs lesson with my new instructor went well and i went out on the road for the first time on my second lesson with him, ive just had my 3rd lesson with him today after a 2 week break and ive forgotten everything, i stalled the car about 3 times and once at a junction, then i started to panic about starting the car. i just dont know if i should carry on driving


im doing a 2o hour intensive driving course,ive just had my first 2 hour lesson,i felt quite nervous at the start but later i really got into it,im looking forward to my lesson on monday,i have realised that im in charge of the car not the other way around,its all about feeling confident and making the right decisions on the road. sometimes its better just to get stuck in rather than worrying about it. i am lovig the tips on this page they have helped me loads and it makes you realise everyone has their issues about driving not just me.good luck everyone


My high school driver's ed teacher was horribly mean and condescending. He screamed at me for the most silly things (seriously!) Once screamed at me for not slowing down for a yellow light that was 2 blocks away. No joke. Yet he allowed the male student to speed, run stop signs, etc. while they chatted about football. Nice, huh?
Scared me out of driving. I never got my license! I am now 28 and feel ready to drive so I just started taking lessons.
I think the biggest thing to remember is that don't drive unless your feel comfortable and ready. Don't force yourself to just because everyone else seems to do it... there are a lot more people that don't drive than you'd think!


Hello Nel,A new instructor might be the fresh start you need,I feel totally different and so much more relaxed with my new instructor.
I am not sure I am going to stay with him (for various reasons)but for the moment I am a lot more relaxed and haven't felt blind panic like I did with my previous instructor.
He kept dwelling on my mistakes,I knew I had made a mistake and didn't need a ten minute lecture on them.
It might take you longer to learn but that doesn't mean you won't learn to drive.
Everyone is different and It may well be a steep learning curve,don't be disheartened,it was very upsetting when my previous instructor lost faith in me and compared me to other students,I decided to leave him and I was extremely upset as I thought I would never learn to drive,a few days feeling devestated later I decided to find another instructor and continue,giving myself a couple of weeks break.
I had a 1 1/2 hr lesson tonight in the rush hour and it didn't feel that bad,my progress is slow but it's still progress.
I used to go scarlet in the face pour of sweat and clench the steering wheel in absolute fear,With my new instructor I have had three 1.5hr lessons in heavy traffic ,roundabouts ect and not felt like that once.
Good luck with your new instructor,let us know how you get on.


Hi Alice, I felt like you as well. I couldn't seem to relax. The lessons always started well in the beginning but then I'd make a mistake and it all went down hill from there. I began to dread my driving lessons and was more interested in when the lesson was over than the actual lesson itself. I had problems with changing gears, stopping and turning at junctions. I always came out of my lessons feeling like a idiot and a failure. Then my driving told me something along the lines of, at least I could get a chauffeur, real confidence boost!! So I gave up on driving. Now a year and a half later I'm about to have my first lesson since I stopped and I'm panicing just thinking about it.


I had a two hour lesson on Monday and my instructor threw me in at the deep end driving in the busiest traffic I have ever been in ,with loads or roundabouts,pedestrian crossings and pedestrians under the influence,in an area I have no previous experience of. I survived,didn't feel too nervous and definitly not the sheer panic I have previously felt.
That said I am not too sure about the instructor,who seemed overtly laid back and chated so much I don't think he was paying enough attention,I am not sure if I got flashed for speeding,Instructor told me to get my speed up and then told me "oh you are going too fast,I was too busy chatting"(him not me)someone got flashed by a camera,I am a bit concerned as he said "I wonder who got flashed".
I have another lesson on Monday.
Thank you Walter H for your comments,even if it doesn't work out with this instructor ,I intend to keep going.

Walter H.,

Good Luck alice


I haven't given up and have a lesson in a couple of minutes with a new instructor.


ive had roughly about 40 lessons i thought i was getting the hang of it my driving instructor kept saying if this next lessons good ill let u book ur test saing its all about consistancy but then hed say i never done as well as he hoped an i needed more lessons ive since left my driving instructor an had 2 lessons with a different 1 but i carnt get the hang of his car his is petrol an im used to diesel but i carnt get the hang of it i wanna drive as i have 3 kids anthings would be so must easier but on the hand i wanna give up as my confidence has been knocked so many times im insured on my boyfriends car but carnt face driving again an just feel like giving up what should i do? i've drove in all kinds of conditions but just feel like a failure

Walter H,

Linda, it looks like your trying to drive but you haven't really properly learned any of the different things that go to make up driving. For example, if you are properly trained in changing lanes then it doesn't matter if there's 1 lane or 4, or whether its on a back road or a freeway.
But if you're on a freeway, there's other skills you should have learned before going out there


Walter H. thank you for the tips on driving. I havent tried using the pylons only because I have none. But I have been practicing as much as I can. Been driving around the neighborhoods and back roads. Im still scared to drive in traffic. I drove home from work one day and it freaked me out I was in tears. I had to cross over 4 lanes then turn at the light. I cant bring myself to drive home again. Should I try it again or give myself more time? How long is it going to take me before I feel comfortable driving? I still have to practice my turns. How do I get over the fear to drive in low traffic driving through an intersection. I can deal with back roads to the store except in the parking lots where theres people or parked cars. But going through intersections reall terrify me. What should I do?

Walter H,

For Alice and Linda -

In 20 years as an instructor I never let anyone give up unless there was some definite physical or psychological liability. Eventually, everyone learned.

If you are nervous it's probably because you have not prepared thoroughly for what you are trying to do. For example, if you feel uncomfortable about using the gas pedal you should NEVER be in traffic. Driving is learned a little bit at a time, so you master each part before going on to the next. Lot's of instructors don't know how to do that so they get frustrated as well.

Linda, you should find a large parking lot and set up pylons. Then really put the car through its paces before you go on the street again.

Alice, the panicking is a real problem. You need to practice quick reactions with the accelerator, brake and steering before getting into too much traffic

Many beginners get into trouble because they go into traffic before really mastering the coordination of hands and feet -- try some braking-while-steering exercises.


I am 46 and just got my lerners permit. Driving has always terrified me and I dont think I can do it well. Today was my first driving lesson with my boyfriend. Im having problems with turning and keeping the gas pedal from going up & down. I almost went through a stop sign until my boyfriend told me to stop. It scared me and now I dont want to drive because Im not paying attention. My daughter tells me I need to get out in traffic and learn, I am so terrified to do that. I keep telling her Im not ready. What should I do? I just want to give up..


I am on lesson 26 and I am scared stiff ,I cannot relax and I am about to give up.
I can drive the car but in traffic I get nervous sweat and go scarlet.
I don't know what to do ,I don't want to give up at 35yrs old I think If I don't do it now I never will.
I drive great for a while make a mistake and panic.
Is it just me should I persevere or give up.
I have made progress but it might take me loads more lessons only to find it's a waste of time.


Im on my 6th lesson now and i am getting better every lesson and my instructor said ill pass in no time atall. my first two lessons i was very nervous before my lessons but as soon as i step in the car and was driving it all went away. i am determined to pass because i have twins! and find it hard to get around. every one should go at your own pase it will take some longer than others and practice is the key to learning any new skill.


Anna writes:
I have just had my tenth lesson and i feel things should start to be clicking into place now but they just aren't. i find my instructor getting a bit frustrated because she is constantly repeating herself so i am starting to dread my lessons. i panic mainly when it comes to stopping the car and reducing the gears. does anybody else feel this way or is it just me?


Maybe you need a new insturctor because they shouldn't be getting mad at you it is there job to help you. I had seven lessons before I passed the road test. What you need to do is practice in between lessons ask someone to take you out driving so you can work on what u learned. The more practice you have the better you'll become the more comfortable you well feel behind the wheel.


Sheena I use to be that way to but then I had driving lessons and it gave me a lot of confidence. I learned to focous on what I was doing but at the same time allowing myself to beaware of what is going on around me. You think your closer to other cars but your really not. The more you practice the better you become the more comfortable you'll become.

Walther H,

Sheena, concentrate on what you want to do, not the problems. Be aware of them but not to the point of distraction.


I'm really nervous about driving, nervous aboutthe cars coming the apposite of me. My hands get really sweaty, my heart starts beating real fast. And its my first time in awhile driving. I have my drivers permint, a year and a half ago, but I'm still terrified of driving and I'm 22yrs old. I know that I have to drive to get to work but whay should I do?


Hello, i have been trying to learn how to drive and im having trouble with turning left and right. Does anyone have any advice i could use?


AS an instructor I used to give students a test in which I would write as they drove. They usually thought I was writing down mistakes and got distracted and unnerved. It was good preparation for the test because examiners have to write. They need to get their paperwork done and note points about the test. It would sometimes cause good drivers to fail for psychological reasons to testing people this way helped with the test.


All of Pa instructors are not like that I'm 18 and I have had my lisence for awhile. My instructor was friendly he just sat back and enjoyed the ride. You shouldn't be worrying about the instructor while your taking your road test you should be focused on what your doing. I don't know what part of PA you live in but if you live in the Pittsburgh area you should try taking your road test in Penn Hills it is really easy. I also know someone who was 45 when recived their liscence and they are a wonderful driver.

old head,

I am 50-something and do not have a drivers license yet.I have driven to a small degree but no expressway experience or such.I have scheduled to take the road test many times. Ifailed twice for 1 rolling stop. But the reason I have not returned is becuase of the instructors. In pa, they read you the riot act about what they can and cannot do and say to you.Also I hate having someone sitting next to me making faces and marking things down,this puts me in a different state of mind . What do I do?


Joy is right if you think you will make a mistake you will relax. If your tense ur muscles will be and that can cause u to make mistakes. Maybe you need a couple more lesson and tell you instructor how you feel he or she should be working on your confidence.


I was the same way you have to have confidence in yourself once start to doubt yourself that's when mistakes happen. If your instructor said you were good then what is the problem? I think you are afraid of something happening if you feel this way you don't need to be driving especaily with kids. Once you get over this you will become a better driver. I was the same way but I was 16 when I started to drive now I am 18 and I am a good driver you could be too.


i started driving couple months ago, was doin great, had couple of lessons and instructor said i was good but for some reason now im just too nervous to drive, husband bought me a car and now it just sits outside! have 3 kids and just wish i could get the nerve to get back into the car and go, would be great just to bring kids away 4 the day, but im afraid il get too nervous and make mistakes. any advice?

Walter H.,

If you have a good instructor you will not be nervous because you will master driving one bit at a time ... e.g. learning to get the car moving away smoothly, and then learning to stop smoothly. When you are comfortable with that you move on to something else such as checking traffic, signalling, checking mirrors and then moving away smoothly.

A little bit nervous is OK but anytime you get veyr nervous its because your instructor screwed up.


i have just started driving lessons i am 42yrs old and never really wanted to drive before, but i need a licence because i want to go for a new job, but i dont know how i am going to get through the test because i get so nervous i tremble and i stutter when i get so nervous, anybody got any suggestions.


Today was my fifth driving lesson the first day i did ok with the turns however now i suck i cannot keep the car straight i am truely ready to give up and say to hell with driving


i want learn how to drive


im learning to drive in Germany and im finding it quite difficult.The Germany theory test is so much more intense than the UK one and i feel as though im never going to do it. Someone said to me that (on average) the amount of driving lessons they'd need is their age plus 10. Anyone else heard that?


I finally took the road test after getting seven lessons and passed once you get it you have it!


Im 17 and so far i have had around 30 hours of lessons, i really struggled at first , but the last 5 lessons or so i have really got the hang of it, so if anyone feels thay are struggling at first just stick with it, i also find that having 2 hour lessons really helps cause after an hour you are just starting to get into it.


Does the hand over hand method really work?


I had my first driving lesson the other day and we did a lot with turning and he had me use the hand over hand method and I find that hard to do especially when making right turns .


I found that you really only need around six lessons to pass the driving test as long as you can do the basics you will do fine such as stoppin,turning,and speed control,also parellel parking. So the first to lesson should work on turning down hill up hill and the rest will have to do with thing to get you ready for the test.


every i start the learning process i drop out, this year is my resolution beside i have no choice , i moved to georgia where u could'nt have a life without driving i feel like prisonnier in my own home, i'm gonna take only 8 lessons because i spend too much money already....any good advise.

Walter H,

Kelly,are you driving a manual shift. That can cause this problem. Sometimes the tension in muscles is great in the beginning and the muscles get fatigued. Later they will grow into the job and become fine tuned.

If you're very tense when you're learning it means you're attempting something you haven't been prepared for. A good driving instructor won't let it go that far.


I am really nervous about driving when I drive my left leg starst to shake. I fell like I will never get the hang of it. The thing that I worry about the most is hitting other cars.

Bruno S,

My advice to everyone reading these articles and posts is, as a driving instructor and a fellow human being, do not short change yourself by not taking some formal training with a reputable driving school in your area, so that you gain proper understanding of rules of the road, learn how to properly and confidently operate a motor vehicle and become more competent in whatever traffic situation you may come upon. There are many ways of learning anything, however, there are proper ways and bad ways. It is your pick, I guess.


Nina, that will come with confidance. I was having the same problem with roundabouts but im fine now. You know what to do but dont trust yourself to act on decisions. Once you have the confidance and trust yourself you will be fine. Comes with time and and practice :-)


i'm learning driving for the last eight months.i'm driving ok but still i'm feeling nervous in changing lanes.
i'm learning from my husband,we always drive with kids coz no one is here to look after.what should i do.


i feel ashamed have not started driving and am scared to start


Started learning about 4 months ago and must have had about 20 lessons now. My confidance has come on loads since my first 10 lessons and I feel alot more in control. The main problems im having at the moment are roundabouts or when there is traffic and busy junctions. I occassionally release the clutch too quickly as well. Remember everyone is differant and there alot of skills you need to master to learn to drive - I have seen problems people have posted on here that I have never had problems with yet I bet theres things I still struggle with that some of you will master very quickly It still feels like ive got a long way to go but when I think of how I progressed since I started im more than ever determined to get there and sure I will. To anyone who has just started just hang in there! It does get easier and alot of it comes with confidance and when you stop feeling afraid in certain sitchuations.


I get really nervous if my dad i in the car.So nervous that I am aware he is nervous,and as a result make fatal mistakes.Hoewever when I drive alone I feel much better,and drive better.


I used a really cool website to help me practice to get my G1 in Ontario...but I think they have may other provinces as well.

It really helped my confidence when I took the test.


I haven't yet learned how to drive myself but a friend of mine's told me that in order to learn the basics of drving, meaning that you learn how get from one place to another in normal road conditions, it'll take about two weeks. However, in order to get used to highway/expressway driving, and to get to the point whre driving becomes second nature, it could take you around two months.
The best way to go is to practice driving in all sorts of conditions. If you live in area subject to extreme weather, then it's a good idea to get used to driving in snow, sleet, rain, and etc.




I had my first class today, and it was very interesting. The driver drove to a less busy road and instructed me on how to start the car. I did and drove from there on for two and a half hours. l drove for a quarter of an hour on the busy road. Ofcourse l was scared each time a car was coming in the opposite direction, but he keep encouraging me to have courage. It was so funny when l look up and saw a hill infront of him and asked him who was going to climb it because l was afriad. l did not realize when l climbed it. lt was only after l was asking him where was the hill that l realized l had done it. l need to go on learning and l need tips to. CHAWO


this is my second lesson out of eight , i am learning to keep the vehicle straight and learning to turn i am having problem turning and when i go more 20 mph i get nervous and lose control of the car is that normal.


I have a dumb question. I went driving for the first time tonight, and it was a total of 5 minutes before the person i was driving with had had enough. Is that normal, or do I just suck at driving? I mean it was 1 in the morning, and i'm in someone else's car and we were in a parking lot, but it wasn't an empty one.

I just don't want to give up on driving period, but how am i supposed to understand what to do when it takes less than five minutes for me to almost-crash...Any ideas?


Hi, im 17 yrs old, i want to learn driving ,my course is AUTOMOTIVE Driving 2yrs,i dont have any idea about that ok to learn driving atm...


Practice makes perfect is true because if you don't it is going to cost you a lot of money.


if you really struggling learning to drive, all you need to do is practice,practice,practice..i found out that you can't just depend on the driving instructor. you have to practice every day!


please give me drivers of my printer HP
between 400 and 5000


printer HP between 4000 and 5000

Walter H,

Zed learned to drive the way our grandparents did, just get in and do it. It works. I believe most people can learn to drive on their own in less than an hour. b

But that's just learning to start, steer, stop. the hardest thing about driving is not learning the rules or how to control the car. It's learning how to behave in all the different situations and building habits.

That last one is the real toughie. A good driving instructor (if you are lucky enough to find one) will help a lot but really it's up to you and the people who are in the car with you the most.

BTW - there's one driving school you should avoid as much as possible -- the "school of hard knocks."


I've never taken any lessons. One night, at around 2am, i decided to take my dads car out (this is not legal so dont do it)... and i felt confident enough to drive in the highway at speed of about 100 km/h...

and that day i took my dads car to school. surprisingly, i was able to parallel park.

and about 2 months ago when i went driving with my dad, i was too nervous and didnt know if i can drive over 20km/h.

my point is, when ur ready to drive, ull know it. it'll just hit u one day. all u need is the confidence to drive, and ofcourse to learn to drive defensively


June, 8 lessons is not much, especially if you have not driven much previously. Here's a hint based on experience - as much as possible, master changing gears before getting engaged in traffic situations. If you have to think about the gears and shifting everything else will be really difficult. Learnign to drive is like building a house. You must build the foundations well and have confidence in them.

Check out our article on gearshift driving at


I have had 8 driving lessons now and I have gone out to practice for an hour or two with two people and I still dont feel confident changing gears and stopping at roundabouts. Im beginning to give up. Any ideas?


Don't be afraid to back off if you don't feel like you're ready to drive. I was the very last of all my friends (I was in college) to learn. Not surprizingly I've not been involved in any traffic accidents or gotten any tickets/warnings. Be smart!


driving needs alot of concertration.

Truck Driving Jobs

driving information
other driver info
travel information for drivers

Travel and Driving