Learning to drive

Parents and carers can make a big difference to their learner driver's safety both while learning to drive and once they begin driving solo.

The current Victorian Graduated Licensing System (GLS) was introduced to help improve the road safety of learner and new drivers.  With more than half a million drivers having graduated through the system over the past 10 years, the Graduated Licensing System has been evaluated and results show it has helped to save many young lives. One of the key features of the GLS is that learners under the age of 21 when applying for a licence must log a minimum of120 hours of supervised driving experience of which at least 20 hours must be at night .

Lessons from the Road is an online resource to help parents fulfil their vital role as supervisors of learner drivers. The resource features an online mentor who guides the supervising driver through eight videos. It is easy to use and can be accessed anywhere and anytime.

Further tips for supporting young people to be safer drivers:

Encourage your child to get his/her learner permit when they are ready

It is important that young people are not pressured to obtain their learner permit before they are ready to begin learning to drive..  Gaining lots of quality supervised on-road experience and practising key safe driving behaviours can help to reduce young people's crash risk once they begin driving solo.

The Road to Solo Driving Handbook helps young people study for their learner permit. It contains important road safety and road law information that will help prepare young people for safe driving.

The online practice learner permit test allows the learner permit applicant to practice the learner permit test. It uses actual questions from the learner permit test.

Help learner drivers to get plenty of quality practice

The best thing that supervising drivers can do is give learners lots of on-road experience in a variety of conditions, following the four stages of learning to drive as outlined in the Learner Kit. The four stages are an important to ensure that the driving environment that the young person is pracising in is appropriate for where they are in the learning to drive journey. The stage ensure that learners begin driving in low risk environments and gradually increase the complexity of their road environment as they gain the knowledge, skills and experience needed to make safe driving decisions.

Learner drivers aged under 21 years must complete a minimum of 120 hours of supervised driving experience (including at least 20 hours at night) before they can take the licence test. Learner permit holders must have an experienced driver  seated beside them at all times while driving.

The Learner Kit, given to all new drivers when they get their Ls, is a step-by-step guide for learner drivers and supervising drivers. It contains:

  • Guide for Learners
  • Learner Log Book
  • Guide for Supervising Drivers

The Learner Kit outlines the four stages of learning how to drive.

Work with your learner, using the Guide for Learners to reach all the goals in each of the four stages. Your role as a supervisor will change with each stage.

VicRoads recommends working with driving instructors as required. Most learners have some professional driving lessons and rely on their supervising driver for most of their practice. The RACV Drive School can provide driving instructors across all metropolitan Melbourne and some regional areas.

The L Site is an online resource for learners and parents which contains hints, information and quizzes in relation to learning to drive.

The VicRoads L2P - Learner Driver Mentor Program assists learners under 21 years of age, who do not have access to a supervising driver or vehicle, to gain the driving experience required to apply for a probationary licence.

DriveSmart is a free online, interactive program that takes you through a range of driving scenarios, where you need to make safe driving judgements. It will also help improve your hazard perception, scanning and concentration skills. It's the perfect digital partner to the real-world experience your learner gets in the car.

Passing the Licence Test

To get a probationary licence, two tests must be passed: the Hazard Perception Test and the Drive Test.

Buying a Safe Car

It is important that everyone is in thethe safest vehicle they can afford, particularly higher risk groups such as young drivers. Howsafeisyourcar.com.au has been developed to help car buyers with independent information about the safety of new and used cars available on the Australian market. Cars are given a one to five star rating (five being the highest), based on results from the Australasian New Car Assessment Program (ANCAP)for new cars or Used Car Safety Ratings (UCSR) for older vehicles, which are an analysis of real world crash data.

For new drivers, The How Safe is your First Car website includes small, medium and large used cars with either four or five star ratings starting in cost from as little as $2,000 up to $14,000.

Making Safe Travel Choices

Visit Safer P Platers for all you need to know to help get your young driver safely through the probationary period.

Talk to your P plate driver about getting to and from their destination safely. Some safe choices could include:

  • Use public transport with friends, including the public transport where available
  • Share taxi's and ride sharing vehicles with friends
  • Drive themselves to a party (reasonably early) with no more than one friend, stay the night if safe and drive home in the morning
  • Take a lift with a friend and stay overnight
  • Ask for a lift from an experienced driver, such as a fully licensed driver
  • Ask for you to drive them