So, you’ve booked a driving test.
Palms are sweaty, knees weak, arms are heavy… Sounds like something out of an Eminem song? It may be – but driving tests can be notorious for making your knees rattle and palms sweat.
To combat first driving test nerves, it’s critical you are confident and prepared. Applying and testing to achieve your license can be a daunting process. However, it’s also exciting.
If you want to get your provisional licence (red Ps) and the ticket of freedom that comes with them, you must be ready. We uncover the best practical tips to help you pass with flying colours. Want to improve your chance of success? Here’s what you need to know before you book your driving test:
1. Pass Your Hazard Perception Test
Before you can go for your Practical Driving Assessment (PDA), you need to have your learner’s permit and pass the Hazard Perception Test (HPT).
In Western Australia, a minimum of six months must have lapsed since you were issued with your permit before you can sit the HPT. You’ll also need to be at least 16 years old and six months.
Once you have passed your HPT test, the following needs to be ticked off to be eligible for the driving test:
- Turned 17 years old
- Logged a minimum of 50 supervised hours (this will need to be provided as proof for your PDA), including at least five hours at night
Each State has their own set of requirements for both tests. Check with your local transport website to see what applies to your location.
Ready? Let’s move on.
2. Practice Common Driving Test Pitfalls
There are common mistakes notorious to driving assessments that testing officers will warn you about.
To ensure you’re prepared, know the testing criteria and master them through regular practice. Before your driving test, spend extra time going over anything you’re not confident with. Some of these pitfalls include:
Blind spots must be checked when changing lanes, merging and completing parking manoeuvres such as parallel parking, three-point turns and reversing. This includes checking both left and right blind spots.
Before you drive off after stopping at traffic lights or parking, don’t forget to do an observation check to ensure it’s safe before moving on.
Flicking your indicator on and off isn’t a valid form of signalling. You must signal for at least five seconds before leaving a parking space or moving from a kerb.
Failing to Give Way or Stop
Study the road rules before your PDA and stick to them. Failing to give way or stop at the designated signs won’t be a pass. It’s common for drivers to slowly roll through stop signs instead of stopping. You must stay behind the line (this goes for traffic lights too) and come to a complete stop. If the view is obscured, you may move forward to check for oncoming traffic, but only after you’ve come to a complete stop first.
Failing to stop, including failing to stop for pedestrians at walkways will result in a failed driving test.
Hesitating when you’re turning right can be a recipe for disaster. Be decisive. Once you have checked for traffic, make your move quickly and efficiently to avoid taking too long.
3. Invest in Professional Driving Lessons
Although supervised driving with full licence holders will form the bulk of your practical experience, professional driving lessons are equally as important.
Full licence drivers who are helping you gain driving experience must have had their license for at least four years.
Test applicants who have had driving lessons with a professional instructor have a better chance of passing. Aim to start these as early as possible to help you become a more confident driver.
Professional driving lessons teach you more than simply how to manoeuvre a car. You’ll also be educated on safe operating procedures and learn better driving skills to eliminate being overwhelmed behind the wheel. Make sure you choose a place with knowledgeable and patient instructors to get the best advice.
Investing in professional lessons is one of the best ways to prepare for your test because they know the test criteria and driving requirements best. Once your instructor is happy with your progress and feels you’re ready for the PDA, you can feel confident to book in your driving test.
4. Know what to Expect
Before your test, familiarise yourself with the testing area. Spend time driving around the streets and taking in the road signs, speed limits and potential hazards.
5. Prepare all Necessary Documents and Vehicle
You’ll need to bring all required documents to the PDA, including your log book. Check with your instructor what you’ll need prior, to ensure you’re prepared, as they won’t let you sit the test without it.
If you plan to use your own vehicle, have everything ready before you leave. This includes adjusting mirrors, confirming all lights are in working order and making sure windows are clean.
6. Keep Your Nerves under Control
Nervousness is inevitable before and during your PDA. However, it’s important to stay focused as overly nervous drivers can make mistakes.
Driving test officers will tell you that the best way to pass, aside from following all the rules of course, is to stay relaxed, focused and drive as you would with your parents or driving instructor.
Pro Tip: Book a driving lesson before your test (on the same day if possible) to help calm pre-test nerves.
Once you have passed your practical assessment, it’s essential you don’t stop learning. Practise what you’ve learned every time you drive! Regular driving in various situations and staying up-to-date with the latest road rules will continue to make you a better, more confident driver.