Acing your first driving test

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, you 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 it's more important to gain enough experience driving in all sorts of conditions, including:

  • 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 their guidance entirely. They may think they’re a good driver, but everyone picks up bad habits over time and you don’t want to inherit them.

Hire 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 navigating more complicated moves, like merging onto a freeway, completing three-point turns and driving at night.

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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.

Post-test tips

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 set of wheels, you might want to consider getting car insurance. 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.

If your Western Australian driver's licence has been expired for more than 5 years, you can only renew at a Post Office if you currently have a valid interstate licence. Otherwise, please visit a Driver and Vehicle Services centre or phone 13 11 56 for more assistance.


The content of this article is provided for general information purposes only and is not legal advice. Specialist legal advice should be sought about your specific circumstances.

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