Quick facts

You will have to be 16 years in order to drive (15 ½ for a moped)

  • There are six key steps that you should take to pass
  • The speed limit varies depending on location; the speed limit in the Northern Territory in a built-up residential area is 60km per hour and in other areas on average is 50km per hour
  • You have to wear a seatbelt at all times when driving

Having the ability to drive is a great skill to have no matter what your age. For example, if you are a mum, being able to drive gives you the freedom to take your children to and from school, playschool or simply to the local shops. For those thinking about getting a driver’s permit, here’s a quick guide on the process you need to take in order to pass!

First step – get a learners permit

The first thing you need to do is to get your learners permit. In order to get this, you will need to sit the Computerised Theory Test. Before sitting the test, you will have to submit an application (also known as a DLA1) and bring proof of identification with you. There are fees that come with the application, the test, the log book and the Learner Guide so make sure you are aware of these. The test itself includes 30 questions, of which you should revise for beforehand.

Second step – find a driving teacher

After getting your learner’s permit you can get on the road (with the help of a driving teacher of course). You will need to search online for a driving school nearby to where you live – reading through the reviews and comparing the prices of the lessons. Learning to drive isn’t a cheap hobby to take up, therefore you need to budget out how much you are willing to spend before you fork out on the lessons. Make sure that the driving teacher you choose is licensed under the Department of Transport and that the car they are using to teach you in has dual controls (as well as being appropriately licensed).

Alongside your driving teacher, it’s recommended that you frequently practice with the help of a supervising driver. This can be a friend or a family member that has passed their test. By doing this alongside driving with your teacher it will help to build up your confidence in driving and get you comfortable in driving on normal roads.

Third step – complete a hazard perception test

A vital step in learning to drive, the hazard perception test (HPT) is done on a computer in the test centre and includes a variety of video clips depicting situations that you might face whilst driving. Testing your reactions to the hazards and if you make the right decision, you wear headphones and sit in your own private booth. You will need to book the test in advance (at a fee of $22.20) by calling the Department of Transport. All tests have to be taken before 3:45 pm. Even though this seems daunting, it gives an accurate representation of how quickly you react to hazards on the road and will help with passing your practical test.

Fourth step – build up your confidence by continuing to practice

Before it comes time for the big day of your practical driving test, it’s a good idea to keep practising your driving with the help of the supervising driver and your driving teacher. A good way of boosting your confidence is by taking a practice driving test on local roads. This mock test will give you a clear indication of how you are doing, how you might perform on the day and any last minute changes that you need to take in order to pass. If there are any areas that you need to work on, you can go through them with your driving teacher before the test day. The practical test will only be booked, however, when your driver feels as though you are ready to take it – it costs $89.15 for your first test after all.

You will also need to make sure that you are logging all hours in which you are learning to drive and complete any tasks that are in your Learner Guide. This will help to not only make you feel more confident with driving but give you an indication if you do pass the first time, how many lessons it took.

Fifth step – book the practical driving test!

Once you and your driving teacher feel confident in your driving ability, it’s time to book your driving test. You can do this by either calling the Department of Transport, filling out the application form online or visiting the centre. In order to book your test, you will have to be at least 17 years old, completed 50+ hours of lessons and will need all of the correct documentation such as your log book and ID. The practical test is to determine how well you drive. The test examiner will consider your vehicle management, movement, responsiveness, etc.

Sixth step – if you’ve passed

If you’ve passed, congratulations! If not, not everyone does the first time and it shouldn’t get you down. After the test examiner tells you that you have passed, you will be issued with a provisional license which you will hold for two years. If you have a car, you will have to fit it with ‘P’ plates, that indicates that you are a new driver to other drivers on the road.

When you’ve passed and gone out for the first time on your own, it’s important to not be too brazen and to remember all that you’ve learned. It will take you a while to continue to get used to driving – you won’t know it all after you’ve driven. You will learn as you drive and get more confident as time goes on. It’s a skill which, as mentioned at the start of this article, is great to have. Benefitting you in the long term, the initial outlay of money and effort will be more than worth it.

Cover Image: Photo by takahiro taguchi on Unsplash