Your First Driving Lesson: Tips and What to Expect

A lot of questions and queries can arise when you are booking your first driving lesson- it can even be a nerve-racking experience, but there is nothing to worry about once you know the basic steps and what to expect.

Some helpful tips are:

Top 20 Driving Faults to Watch Out For

What to expect:

So this section will go through the process of the lesson and what to expect.

First of all your instructor will arrive at the agreed location and time of the lesson you booked with them in advance; you will need your provisional licence in order to partake in the lesson otherwise you cannot drive the car.

Your instructor will introduce themselves and ask a few questions of your experience; have you driven before? What do you know so far? They may mention the term POM (position, observations, manoeuvre), if you haven’t heard of this term before the instructor will go through it with you and explain some basics.

Once you and the instructor are ready to go, they will take you to a starter location- this will usually be somewhere quiet so that you can get to grips with the car without the disruption of frequent traffic. When you have arrived the instructor will explain parts of the car you will need to use such as the clutch, brakes, accelerator, the gear stick if it is a manual car (if it is automatic the car will not have a gear stick), handbrake, the wheel and the indicators.

Moving off and stopping will be the next thing you cover. The instructor will swap seats with you as this will be the part where you get to begin driving. They may practice this with you a few times until you become more comfortable and confident with it.

After this they will teach you some general driving on the roads and increase the level of what you are doing depending on your level of confidence with what the instructor has taught you so far.

Overall it is mostly an introductory process for the first lesson as it gives you the opportunity to become familiar with the car and instructor. Based on how your first lesson goes the instructor will make tailored decisions on what to advance to on the next lesson- they will reorganise the time and date with you at the end of the session.

Learning to drive for the first time can be scary but it’s really nothing to worry about, you will become comfortable and confident in no time.

If you are looking to start up lessons with a friendly driving company with effective and patient instructors then look no further!
Please contact us today on our free phone line: 0800 118 2001
Our office is open from Monday-Friday 9:00am-7:00pm and on weekends from 10:00am-4:00pm.

SmartLearner, the smarter way to learn.

Should I Learn to Drive in Automatic or Manual?

Learning to Drive in Manual or Automatic

SmartLearner Driving School offers various range of driving courses for both beginners and experienced drivers. The Driving school provides driving lessons in either manual or automatic vehicles with fully qualified local driving instructors assigned to a specific location, depending on the learner’s based area.

The question of “what should I be learning, Automatic or Manual?” will initially arise, though there are both disadvantages and advantages to each selection, it is ultimately within the preference and decision of the learner in which option they may take.
So which is better Automatic or Manual? It’s a debate almost as old as motoring itself- is automatic or manual transmissions better? Should you ditch the gear stick in favour of an easy ride?

Here is a rundown of the pros and cons of each option.

Learning to Drive in Manual

A majority of motorists in the UK still drive a car with a manual gearbox. Manual gearboxes give drivers more control over the car as alone manual drivers choose which gear to use. This can prove particularly beneficial in wintry conditions. Additionally, manual cars tend to have more speed, some automatics can be slow and cumbersome, although many are now fitted with dual-clutch technology to make them quicker, a manual gearbox is traditionally better at transferring power from your engine to your wheels, so drivers can accelerate at a faster pace. Adding to this, it should be noted that manual geared vehicles generally require less maintenance as they have a less complex design than automatics; repairs tend to be significantly cheaper as well.

On the other hand, manual cars can also prove to have some disadvantages such as that manual in comparison to automatic may not be as safe, as driving a manual car consists of multitasking, with one hand often veering off the steering wheel to shift gears. Automatic cars are safer as drivers can maintain both hands on the wheel and concentrate more on the road ahead. Further adding to this, drivers who drive manuals can suffer from leg ache as they will need to consistently work the clutch; which could become uncomfortable as the left foot never gets a rest, especially if driving in congested areas.

Is driving automatic easier?

Although shifting gears and working a clutch becomes second nature after a while, when learning to drive, learners can take quite a lot of practice to master this skill. Driving an automatic car makes it easier to focus more on speed and road position, and as previously mentioned, it is safer having both hands on the wheel, as there is no gear to shift.

Adding to this, automatic drivers are unlikely to stall whilst in an automatic, saving a driver’s embarrassment of making harsh hill starts or stalling just as the traffic lights change.

It should be mentioned that learning automatic ultimately implies that you must stick to an automatic vehicle and are forbidden to drive any manual vehicles without the proper lessons and license. To drive a manual, learners will have to resit another driving test and upgrade their license to a manual. If you are only licensed for an automatic car, it’s against the law to drive manual vehicles on public roads. However, if you are licensed with a manual, then you are legally permitted to drive an automatic vehicle in the UK.

Learning to Drive in Automatic

As previously stated earlier within this blog, driving an automatic car is much easier to drive, many individuals prefer automatic cars for their convenience, as they are simple to operate and there is no clutch to control. Automatic cars only require the driver to simply select D for Drive and forget maneuvering the gear stick until the driver will need to park or reverse. Furthermore, automatic cars additionally offer a seeming less transition between gears, giving the driver a pleasantly smooth ride without any stuttering. Moreover, automatic cars are better in rush-hour traffic, as automatic transmissions require less effort, so drivers can concentrate fully on navigating tricky junctions and other traffic safely, in comparison to the manual, having to constantly pump the clutch pedal every time the car stops and starts at congested towns.

On the other hand, there are disadvantages to owning an automatic, such as that automatic cars tend to lean into the more pricer spectrum in comparison to the manual, they generally cost more to buy than their manual counterparts, both new and second-hand, therefore they are not ideal for individuals or learners on budgets.
Adding to this, some drivers find that automatic cars take the fun out of driving, some individuals may prefer the feel of changing gears and having more of a physical connection with their car. And for anyone used to changing gears, it can be difficult to adjust to not having a clutch.

Driving for Beginners – 5 Helpful Resources to Get you Started

Driving for the first time can undoubtedly be a daunting and scary experience for some people, but it is important to keep calm and keep a clear head when proceeding to drive. Having clarity and no clouded thoughts or judgments will help you in the long run. It is also important to remember that every driver has experienced these exact feelings, so keep in mind that you are not alone in this aspect. Here are 5 helpful resources to get you started.

DVSA Theory App

When learning how to drive, learners are required to pass their driving theory test. This particular test plays a vital role in ensuring that you are safe enough to drive on the roads in the UK. Most of the theory test is devised from the Highway Code. It contains all of the rules and information that learners need to know in order to keep themselves and other road users safe. Many of the rules in the Code are legal requirements, so it’s crucial that learners know them. Additionally, it’s important that learners understand the fundamentals of driving.

The DVSA Theory app is the best app to download when revising and prepping for the theory test, it is a guide that includes all necessary information that new learners will need to know on how to safely drive, including the official highway code, interactive hazard perception video clips, and extra tips and tricks.

Further adding to this, Smartlearner Driving school also offers and provides 1-2-1 theory practices to help beginners acing their test with a 90% pass rate. Dedicated theory tutors will assist learners from the start to the end, providing learners with constructive feedback in order for learners to develop and improve any weakness they may have on certain topics. SmartLearner offers these lessons both online through zoom or in-house in the office, all depending on the preferences of the theory learner.

Driving Simulator

Getting into a car, buckling yourself up, and starting the engine can be quite intimidating taking into consideration that you may have never driven before. SmartLearner Driving School offers the option of a driving simulator, giving learners the opportunity to test their driving skills out within a controlled and safe environment also guided by an in-house simulator tutor. Through this, learners can begin to develop their confidence and self-assurance when it comes to driving, preparing them for the real practical driving situation.

Learning Logs - Books

Every single individual has their own specific and particular way of learning, whether it is through visual, kinesthetic or auditory etc. SmartLearner Driving School provides a reflective learning log to all beginner learners with the driving school, filled with important and significant information that learners may need to know, as well as a reflective section in which they can input a record after each driving lesson they may have with an instructor. Taking a record is helpful in the way that learners can view their progress throughout the lessons they have taken and can review any feedback on what they may need to improve for the next time.

Beginner Package

For those individuals that are ready to commence driving, SmartLearner offers a package specifically catered to individuals that may have never driven before, this package is called the beginners’ package for the price of £75, it consists of a total of 5 hours worth of lessons to get learners started.
3 lessons split into 2 lessons, which are 1 hour and 30 minutes each and 2 hours before the learner’s driving practical test. This package works in the favor of beginner learners, both in terms of practicality and costs, as one lesson would usually be £27 each, subsequently the package leans into the less expensive spectrum as a whole (as it would be more costly to book an hour lesson each time.)

Additionally, through this, beginner learners will be able to dip their toes into the water and get a taste of what driving feels like, with this, if they can process whether they like their assigned instructor, learners will always have the option of changing their instructions if preferred.

Local Qualified Driving Instructors

Unlike other usual driving schools, SmartLearner has 50 instructors under their umbrella all spread within the location of West Midlands; a high quantity that many driving competitors do not have.
Beginner learners will have choices of either male or female instructors to decide from, this ensures that learners will be able to choose which gender they would like to learn with, if they may have any preferences.

SmartLearner instructors are fully qualified and have undergone the necessary ADI training in which they can cater the way they teach according to the beginner learner’s learning style. Further adding to this, every pupil is accounted for, SmartLearner ensures that every instructor assigned to a learner is within their based area or location, which works for both instructor and learner, reducing time consumption and making it practical.

Get Up To Speed with Speed Cameras

Speed cameras are an unavoidable part of UK roads.  Smartlearner shares this article to help explain the different types and what to look out for when driving on a UK road with speed cameras.


The Gatso speed camera was introduced in the UK in 1991. It is short for Gatsometer. The camera faces up the road and takes a picture of the rear of a vehicle, this allows it to catch cars, vans and motorcyclists etc. This camera is easy to spot as it has to be painted yellow by law, they are usually mounted on a pole.

 They can also be found on the gantries of motorways. They use a radar to measure the vehicle’s speed. The law states that there needs to be secondary proof of speeding, this is why there are dashed lines painted onto the road surface. A Gatso takes two pictures a fraction of a second apart to see if an offence has been committed. 


Truvelo is also another common type of speed camera in the UK. These types of cameras look similar to a Gatso because they are painted yellow and mounted on a pole. The difference is, truvelo cameras face forward. Like a Gatso, the Truvelo uses a flash to get a clear image of a speeding vehicle’s number plate, but it also has a special filter on the flash that stops it from dazzling drivers. This camera only takes one picture, because the speeding offence is registered by sensors in the road that activate the camera. 

Mobile speed camera vans

These provide temporary coverage in areas where speeding is known to occur. They appear with windows or panels to point cameras through. They are usually located at the side of the road, in laybys, and also bridges etc. The type of camera can be a mini Gatso or handheld radar or laser guns. Mobile camera vans can be set up in any direction to catch speeders, and can just as easily be set up to catch them approaching or going away.


HADECS 3 stands for Highway Agency Digital Enforcement Camera System 3, these are used on Smart Motorways and are mounted onto the gantries. They are made easier to spot thanks to their yellow colour. They are able to pick up traffic in 5 lanes and are able to be used in all weather conditions.

Hadeos Speed Camera

Driving lessons have resumed from the 12th of April, with the practical driving tests returning starting from the 22nd of April. SmartLearner Driving School are currently taking pre bookings for lessons, you can call 0800 118 2001 to speak to our office staff and book your lessons in time for April.

Driving Lessons Post Lockdown

Driving lessons resumed across the UK on the 12 April 2021. In this post we will be explaining how we, as the best driving school in Redditch, are taking extra precautions to keep you safe on your driving lessons in Redditch. SmartLearner Driving School prides ourself on offering affordable and safe manual driving lessons in Redditch and across the West Midlands and Warwickshire.

What are instructors doing to ensure safety on my lessons?

All instructors are taking safety precautions, such as:

What can you do to make sure you're keeping yourself and the instructor safe?

If you are taking or looking for driving lessons in Redditch, why not choose SmartLearner? We offer intensive driving courses in both manual and automatic with local driving instructors in Redditch and across the West Midlands and Warwickshire. Our intensive driving courses range from 5 hours to 30 hours and are suited around your availability and learning preferences.
If you want to find out more about how you can start your intensive driving course with SmartLearner give us a call on 0800 118 2001 or email us at
In 2021, SmartLearner were voted ‘Regional Driving School of the Year’ at the Intelligent Instructor Awards because of our superb service! If you have been driving for over 3 years and are over 21 why not take up driving instructor training? An average full-time instructor earns upwards of 30K per annum.
At SmartLearner we understand that to be the best driving school in Redditch we need the best instructors. This is why our driving instructors are in-house trained with our ORDIT approved driving instructor training courses. Our ADI training courses are affordable, flexible and have a guaranteed franchise opportunity upon completion.

Why intensive driving course has a good success rate?

Now, people are more inclined towards the Intensive driving course because they can get various benefits from short-term courses. Even, many driving schools offer amazing discounts on intensive or crash courses. People who do intensive driving courses have higher chances of passing qualifying driving exams as compare to individuals who do regular or traditional courses because of various reasons:

  • Retain information better

This is the main reason why these intensive courses are getting high success. In short-courses, you have less time in between the different driving sessions, which helps you in retaining all driving basics better. In regular courses, in some cases, students forget the previous lessons because of the long gaps.

Intensive driving course

  • More options

In the intensive courses, you will get more varieties; you can choose short hours-based driving lessons, including 5 and 10-hours course durations in both manual and automatic transmissions. In case of more available options, you are freer to choose your suitable course, which can adjust to your busy schedule. All these things make people more confident about passing the driving tests.

  • Less tiring

In short-term driving lessons, you don’t get tired easily. Here, you can learn to drive without exhausting yourself. When you first start learning, driving will be more exhausting for you. This is the main reason that even beginners choose intensive driving courses to avoid fatigue issues.

SmartLearner driving school professionals can help you in learning all types of intensive driving lessons. You can search for “Driving school near me” and you will get numerous certified and renowned driving schools in your region.

Driving on New Years Eve – SmartLearner

As 2020 comes to an end and 2021 approaches, many of us enjoy a drink to welcome in the New Year. Although this New Year will be a different one, celebrating with those who live in the same household can still go ahead.

New Year
How to stay safe welcoming in the New Year

Firstly, if you are going to be around alcohol, at your chosen support bubbles household, assign a designated driver. This ensures that you have a way of getting home safely. If a designated driver cannot be agreed arrange to stay over and travel home the next day, when you are sober.

Use public transport

If you cannot stay over at your support bubbles household and a designated driver cannot be arranged, use public transport. In order to stay safe when using public transport, order a taxi with a friend or family member, you can split the cost which will work out cheaper.

Watch out for changing weather conditions like snow

In many parts of the country, weather conditions are currently becoming colder and undependable, with snow and ice beginning to appear. These conditions mixed with drink driving can be a serious risk to life. Not only are weather conditions changing, but daylight hours are also decreasing, from as early as 4:30 pm.

New Year is the holiday with the most drinking involved, we hope everyone drinks responsibly and stays safe.

Why not make your New Year’s resolution learning to drive and start with one of our instructors!

Let’s hope 2021 is a better one for us all, Happy New Year from the SmartLearner Team!

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Call us on 0800 118 2001.

The rise of the automatic transmission driving lessons?

In recent times, more people are showing interest in learning Automatic Driving Lessons and the main reason behind this is the ongoing trend of automatic cars. Now, all big companies are launching upgraded automatic vehicles which make the driving very easy. In automatic transmissions, beginners can also understand the basics of driving in a quick time.

Another reason for the rising popularity of automatic Driving lessons is safety, when a trainee drives an automatic car, it allows him to focus more on the road ahead because of no worry of manually shifting gears. Because of this, new drivers prefer to learn automatic driving as compare to manual driving lessons.

Automatic Driving Lessons

Remember that, if you learn to drive in an automatic car, you will only be allowed to drive automatic vehicles as an automatic license only covers automatic cars whereas a manual car’s license allows you to drive both manual and automatic transmissions.

Before you start driving lessons, you should do research for the experienced and certified driving schools or instructors, or search as “Driving lessons near me and you will find numerous options near you. Also, you can take assistance from DVSA-approved SmartLearner driving school’s instructors, who are experienced and can also help you in choosing more suitable driving lessons for you.

What beginners prefer to learn automatic driving lessons?

Automatic driving lessons are easy to learn and most beginners prefer to learn driving with automatic transmissions. Nowadays, new innovative automatic cars are coming which makes the driving effortless. In recent times, people are also choosing automatic driving lessons because of the following reasons:

  • Good for beginners

Now, beginners are more interested in learning automatic driving as in this case, they don’t have to worry about changing the gears manually and also in traffics, they can drive smoothly. The other benefit is that it is less stressful to learn to drive an automatic transmission.

Learn automatic driving lessons

  • Safe to drive

The first-time drivers find automatic vehicles very safe as compare to manual transmissions.  If you don’t know any basics of driving then you can get confused in a manual car, but in automatic cars, you just need to focus on your driving skills as gears will be automatically shifted. The chances of accidents are less in automatic cars which makes them a safe choice for beginners.

  • require less time to learn

When you drive automatic transmissions, you can learn the driving quickly but in the case of manual driving, you have to be an expert in gear-shifting according to the speed which takes time to learn. In automatic cars, you are more relaxed about changing gears which helps you to learn automatic driving lessons in a quick time.

The all above points are the reasons that automatic driving lessons are popular among beginners. If you want to learn automatic driving, then you should find a certified Driving Instructor near you.

Search “Automatic driving lessons near me and you will find lots of options in your region.

How to prepare yourself for a driving school?

When you start to think about learning driving lessons, then you also need lots of motivation to make your mind prepare for learning driving. In the beginning, your journey of driving can be more stressful and confusing, hence it is important that you do these various things which are mentioned below, to prepare yourself for the driving:

Driving instructors

  • Research about topics that you will cover in a school

Read about all your state traffic laws and research on various topics which you will learn in your chosen driving school. By this, you will get confidence and will also understand some driving rules which will help you in learning driving more efficiently.

First, you should find the top driving schools in your region and do research to get the most suitable school to learn. For example; if you are a resident of “Leamington Spa”, then search “Driving lessons Leamington spa” and you will get numerous options for driving schools in that particular town.

If you want to do online courses, then be sure to look at comments and reviews from former students to get all information about that school.

  • Book your driving lessons ahead of time

It is better to book your in-car driving lessons in well-advanced so that you can manage your busy schedule. You should make sure to look at the accreditations of your driving school before choosing. Also, confirm the acceptance of that driving school in your state.

Driving instructors

  • Set up a driving agreement

Before you start your driving lessons, you should make an agreement with your driving school which includes the timings, rules on electronics in the car, where are you allowed to go while learning, and many more things. This agreement is very important if your teen goes driving.

For safety purposes, you should choose certified and experienced driving instructors such as “Driving instructors Leamington spa”.