By Jeremy Rochow
Last updated on: March 31, 2021 at 7:46 am
If you’ve just passed your learner’s test, you’re probably itching to book a driving lesson and get on the road – I know I was.
Unfortunately, COVID-19’s impact on our everyday lives has been far reaching. Along with social distancing, using QR codes and working from home, driving schools were among the many businesses that had to close last year.
As a result, learner drivers are now feeling the effect, with a surge in people booking lessons.
“This has created a backlog for driving schools across the country,” says RAA Senior Manager of Community Engagement Ben Haythorpe.
Currently, there are waiting periods at many driving schools for learners looking to book their first driving lesson.
“While they might have to wait for a driving lesson with an instructor, there’s plenty that learners and their supervising qualified drivers can do now to ensure they’re prepared for that first lesson.”
Wondering what to do while you’re waiting? If you’re a learner or a supervising qualified driver, here are some tips – especially if you still need to log your 75 hours of driving time.
You’ve just been handed that special piece of plastic with a photograph of your face on it, saying you can now drive a car. So, what’s next?
Read The Driving Companion
Before you jump behind the wheel, take a look at The Driving Companion you received when you passed your learner’s test. Studying this book before your lessons will give you a valuable head start.
The book covers everything you need to know about driving.
Log your hours
There’s a lot you must do to get your provisional licence, including logging your driving hours.
Read the section explaining how to use your logbook correctly. It will answer any questions you might have about when and where you can drive, and how to fill out the logbook properly.
The standard required
While it’s important to log your 75 hours, it’s also vital to ensure you’re learning how to drive to the government’s standards, which you’ll be tested against.
The blue section of The Driving Companion highlights what you must do to have full control of the vehicle. It also explains what you need to check in your vehicle before you get behind the wheel, as well as safe driving strategies.
You should also study the Competency Based Training and Assessment (CBT&A) section. This provides you with information on each task you’ll be required to perform in order to complete the assessment.
You need to understand the CBTA&A and blue sections, so you’ll be practicing correct driving techniques and not getting into poor habits.
This many people in 2020 held a learner’s permit in South Australia.
It’s important you know exactly what you can and can’t do while you have a learner’s permit.
This part of the book gives you a run down on driving conditions and the laws that specifically apply to learner drivers.
There’s also a section that tells you what will happen if you break the rules and are disqualified.
The road rules
To get your provisional licence, you’ll have to either pass the Vehicle On Road Test (VORT) or complete the Competency Based Training and Assessment (CBT&A) in The Driving Companion book.
You’ll need to know the road rules well to complete the course or pass the test. If you study the logbook, you’ll have a better understanding of the rules you need to follow while you’re driving.
Once you get in the car with a driving instructor, you’ll be able to demonstrate your knowledge.
The processes and procedures
When you undertake the VORT or the CBT&A, you’ll be tested on more than just your driving ability.
Your driving instructor or examiner will want you to show that you know how to check your car and set up the cabin prior to driving.
Read through The Driving Companion and make sure you practice with your supervising driver.
When you undertake either the VORT or complete the CBT&A, you’ll be expected to know how to negotiate road and traffic hazards and other dangerous situations.
You need to practice driving as much as you possibly can with a supervising qualified driver . It’s not just about controlling the car either. You must learn to make decisions and respond quickly to what’s happening around you.
Practicing driving will help you develop these skills so they become second nature.
While it may be tempting to hit busy roads straight away, it’s important to build up confidence before navigating places like the South Eastern Fwy or the Southern Expy.
Begin on familiar backstreets, then slowly start to drive in different conditions.
As your confidence and skills improve, head out in a range of conditions, on different roads. Try driving during peak-hour traffic or when it’s drizzling. The more conditions you drive in, the better prepared you’ll be.
Being a supervising driver may sound daunting, but teaching someone to drive is a rewarding experience.
Before you hand over the keys, we have a few tips so you set the right example for your learner.
Make sure you’re qualified
There’s a lot to learn when driving, so it’s important the supervising driver has enough experience to pass on to the learner.
If you’re thinking of becoming a supervising driver, you must have held an unconditional licence to drive a Class C vehicle for at least 2 years.
Read The Driving Companion
The Driving Companion isn’t just for learner drivers. Supervisors should also read it so they can explain each driving task to the learner. This will give them the best results when they have an official lesson.
Each page contains the task, the learning outcomes and the requirements to be successful. If you understand each section and can help the learner practice each task, they’ll be able to demonstrate it for the instructor when their lessons get underway.
Like the learner driver, the supervisor should study the blue and CBT&A sections to ensure they understand the government’s standards.
You want to ensure the learner isn’t driving for the sake of building up hours, but so they’re learning exactly what they need to do for their assessments with a qualified instructor.
It might be easy to maintain concentration during those quick trips to school, but the longer drives can be a bit trickier.
As the driving companion, you must remain focussed for the entire trip and stay seated next to the learning driver, making sure they follow the road rules.
You also need to make sure the learner driver follows the correct procedures when starting the car and maintains a safe travelling distance from other vehicles.
Lastly, remember to be patient and remain calm as the learner is just starting out and might lack confidence behind the wheel.