Acing your driving test, first time
Getting your driver’s licence can feel like a high stakes game—it’s your ticket to freedom, after all. There’s a lot riding on passing that driving test, but a few key tips can help maximise the chances of nailing it on the first go.
In the lead up
After scoring your Learner’s Permit, should spend plenty of time behind the wheel, getting to know the car and the road. It’s tempting to rush through the learner’s process to get the holy grail of a licence, but take time to gain experience driving in all sorts of conditions:
- Wet weather
- Low light
- Busy, multilane freeways
- High density, urban streets
- Roads with hills, dips and curves
You can rope in a family member or friend for practice time, but don’t rely on them entirely. They may think they’re infallible behind the wheel, but everyone picks up bad habits over time and you don’t want to inherit them. Invest in a professional driving instructor and look out for driver education programs like Keys for Life to get plenty of support and advice. Start slowly on quiet, out-of-the-way streets and build up confidence before you start navigating more complicated aspects like merging onto a freeway, completing three-point turns and driving at night.
On the day
After you’ve completed the mandatory number of driving hours required (this varies from state to state) and covered a range of different driving scenarios, you should be in prime position to sit for your driving test.
Taking the test can test the nerves, so get a good night’s sleep to be well rested and alert (which you should be every time you jump behind the wheel). You might like to bring a friend or family member along for moral support, or prefer not to have an audience.
Many learners are commonly tripped up by simple things on their driving test, so get the basics right.
- Stay within the speed limit
- Indicate for the required time before changing lands or turning
- Check your blind spot before changing lanes or turning
- Leave adequate space between your car and the vehicle in front of you
There’s a lot to think about behind the wheel and these fundamentals can be easily forgotten in the excitement of the driving test, so nail the simple stuff as well as the three point turns.
Once you’ve aced your driving test, the journey has just begun. It’s a true rite of passage that sets you up for a lifetime of road trips (and copious less exciting, but highly convenient journeys). As an inexperienced driver, be mindful that you’re still building up confidence during your first few months and years on the road. Avoid driving for long stretches until you’re more experienced at recognising fatigue, and be mindful of the restrictions apply to on provisional licences, especially in regards to speed limits and alcohol consumption.
If you end up buying your own wheels, car insurance is essential. Shop around. Remember that the cheapest option might not always offer the best coverage or terms, so be sure to compare different policies before buying.
If you’re in Western Australia or South Australia, when the time comes to renew or update your licence, you can do so at your participating local post office.