What is the best mindset for learning to drive?

best mindset to learn to drive

Are you in the best state of mind to learn how to drive? Do you love your driving lessons or does just the thought of them make you feel nervous? Your emotions have a big role to play in how well you are able to learn during your lessons. We have different zones that we move between when are learning something new. 

Learning zones in driving lessons

Comfort Zone - we feel calm, what we learn feels easy but possibly has little or no challenge, is a little boring, learning may be slow but comfy and it is easy for learning to get stuck. 

Stretch Zone - we feel more awkward and a bit more challenged but it is manageable. We have to focus more, we learn a lot and feel a sense of achievement. The more time we spend in this zone, the more it will grow. Past learning slips into the comfort zone and new learning that would once have been in the panic zone is now manageable in the stretch zone as we grow in confidence. 

Panic Zone - we feel more fearful, possibly frustrated or criticising ourselves and others. What we are doing feels too challenging which prevents much learning from taking place and can generate feelings of being scared to try again. Our defence system has been triggered. 

Failure Zone - we feel overwhelmed, angry or frozen. Our defence system is in full swing ready to fight, flight or freeze, preventing any possibility of learning at all and a complete aversion to repeating the experience! 

The aim is to stay within our Stretch zone and learn to recognise if we are approaching our Panic zone and triggering our Defence systems. Enabling us to stay in the Stretch zone and maximise our learning capacity. Avoiding the Failure zone altogether! Reflect back on your last driving lesson. If it felt too easy, a bit boring and not challenging enough then you may need to chat with your driving instructor about what you would like to achieve in your next lesson. If however, it felt too difficult making you feel frustrated and self-critical then you may need to chat with your driving instructor about how to keep your lessons in the stretch zone. 

We learn best when we are within our stretch zone, challenged but not fearful. 

Using the various stress management techniques on the website before your driving lessons will ensure that you are not starting with high levels of stress before your lesson. Learning breathing exercises that you can use in the car means that when it is safe to do so you can pause, activate your soothing system (see the article on emotional systems) so that you are ready to resume, staying in the stretch zone of learning. 

Find out more about the stress management solutions included in our subscription packages for learner drivers and group subscriptions for driving instructors.

Please help us by sharing this guide with others.  There is a good chance that if you found it useful, so will they.

Choose one or both of our FREE tools to help you become a more confident driver

driving test coaching wheel

Start planning for your
driving test

Download our driving test coaching wheel and put a plan in place to pass your driving test!

overcome driving test nerves

10 days to beat 
driving test nerves

Try our FREE driving test nerves course with videos, exercises and advice to help you overcome driving test nerves!


If you have a driving test coming up soon you might find our Ultimate Guide to Driving Test Nerves useful.

What others are saying

Read more of our reviews from happy learner drivers on Trustpilot

It's great to have a website offering fantastic techniques to assist with the challenges of driving. The website recognises the fact that learning to drive can be stressful and there are strategies to help with this. The website's name, 'CONFIDENT Drivers' is what a learner is aspiring to be, so it's very positive. The techniques also apply to building general confidence in all walks of life, so useful again. Thank you!

I was so pleased when my instructor signed me up for Confident Driver. I loved the hypnosis sessions & I recently passed first time with one fault. Recommend 100%

Confident drivers has been a really useful tool in changing my attitude to the driving test. I hadn't recognised just how much my negative thoughts about my ability rather than my actual driving ability have been holding me back and putting me off. I particularly liked the quick fix section that gives you strategies to calm down just before the test!

Stress Management Subscription For Learner Drivers

If you would like some additional help and stress management resources to help you tackle your driving test nerves or improve driving confidence then our subscriptions are created by leading industry experts especially for you.

What is included:

Four relaxation audios 
Three ways to use imagery techniques 
A range of breathing exercises and a breathing audio
Positive self-talk tools and techniques to manage negative thinking 
Four TFT Meridian tapping videos for different emotions and feelings 
A range of Coaching tools and techniques to help plan ahead and change your driving mindset
Two hypnotherapy audios specifically tailored for Driving Confidence and Driving Test Nerves.
You will also get a SIX Week Introduction to Mindfulness course - learning skills you can use in stressful situations throughout your life.

These plans are created specifically for individual drivers, you can find out more details on our learner drivers page.  We also have a range of group plans created for driving instructors, you can find more details on our ADI page.

One Month

  • 8 Stress Management Techniques
  • Online Courses
  • Created by industry experts
  • Renew or Upgrade anytime


  • 8 Stress Management Techniques
  • Online Courses
  • Created by industry experts
  • Great value 12 months access

1 to 1 Call

  • Personal Approach
  • Answer questions in advance
  • Focussed on your situation
  • Video or Audio Zoom calls

Articles, Help and Advice for Learner Drivers

Take a browse around our blog for articles written to help learner drivers and driving instructors recognise the most common reasons for experiencing driving nerves and confidence issues.  Each article offers strategies and suggestions that may help you.

Things to do when you can't have driving lessons

Things to do when you can't have driving lessons

Your driving goals are likely to need to be more flexible this year. So how can you keep learning and feel prepared for your driving lessons and test

Read More..

Build your driving confidence

Build your driving confidence

Increasing your belief in your capability to drive will, in turn, increase your driving confidence. So how do we do that? Self-efficacy theory suggests that self-confidence or belief in your abilities is dependent on several key factors...

Read More..

Have you considered hypnotherapy for driving nerves?

Have you considered hypnotherapy for driving nerves?

If you struggle with driving anxiety or driving test nerves you may well have wondered if hypnotherapy can help

Read More..

Are your driving lesson nerves caused by your thoughts?

Are your driving lesson nerves caused by your thoughts?

Learn ways of developing more helpful thinking styles which will help you reduce the signs and symptoms of your nerves and begin to feel more confident.

Read More..
Collingwood Learner Driver Insurance


The widget in the blue circle is the tawk.to live chat widget, if you click it you will see the window maximize and you will be able to chat with us when we are online, or leave a message when we are away for us to respond to later. If you have any questions give it a try!