Learners and supervising drivers
Everything improves with experience, and learning to drive is no different. Parents and supervising drivers play an important role in providing vital on-road experience for learner drivers.
The graduated licencing system means that learner drivers need to gain at least 120 hours of driving experience (with at least 10 hours of night time driving) before they can apply for their Ps. While this may sound like a lot, many learners have their permit for 2 years, so 120 hours is just a little over an hour a week.
Tips for achieving 120 hours of driving experience:
- Think about the trips you already make together each week, and schedule these as practice sessions. Simply expect to add another few minutes to each journey.
- If you miss a practice session just schedule an additional drive at another time in the week.
- Practice driving in a range of conditions. It is important that learner drivers are exposed to as many different driving conditions and situations as possible. Consider the following:
- Weather conditions – dry, wet, stormy, foggy
- Light conditions – daytime, night-time, dawn, dusk
- Traffic conditions – light, moderate, heavy
- Road types – residential, divided/undivided, freeways, highways, roads with trams, CBD Melbourne/regional centres, rural roads, gravel roads.
- Don’t try to tackle all aspects of driving at once. A staged approach to driving practice should be considered.
Tips for supervising drivers:
Supervising a learner driver can be overwhelming and it may take some time for you to feel comfortable as a supervisor. Remember:
- Don’t try to do too much too quickly with your learner driver.
- Start each driving session with a review of what happened on the last drive.
- Plan with your learner what skills and conditions to be “tackled” each drive. Don’t introduce too many things too quickly.
- Don't force your learner to drive at speeds faster than they feel comfortable with. Drive in less complex conditions until their confidence and competence improves.
- Get your learner to describe what they are doing, planning to do, what they can see ahead and so on as they drive. This is called commentary driving and it helps the learner work through what they are thinking and doing.
- Dealing with hazards on the road can be stressful – don’t continue if either you or the learner is upset. Stop and wait until everyone is calm.
- Avoid using your phone when supervising - keep focused on the learner and the driving situations
- Use “I” messages, e.g. “In a situation like this I would...”
- Don't blame the learner for making mistakes, but encourage them to learn from their mistakes. Ask your learner how they might have handled the particular driving situation differently.
- View VicRoads’ Lessons from the Road resource. This resource helps parents support their learner driver.
Links and resources:
- RACV - Drive School. The RACV Drive school promotes safe and confident drivers. Our accredited instructors provide individually tailored lessons to meet your driving goals.
- RACV - Keys2Drive. RACV is involved in keys2drive, an Australia-wide,federally funded education program providing a free one-hour driving lesson to all learner drivers and their supervisor.
- VicRoads - Get your Ls. If you are planning to drive for the first time you will need to get a Learner permit.
- VicRoads – The Learner Kit. This resource helps learner drivers progress toward their Ps. The resource is free of charge when you get your Ls.
- VicRoads - Lessons from the Road. This resource aims to help parents support their learner driver. It contains tips and advice about how to help your learner gain at least 120 hours of driving practice.
- VicRoads - L2P. The L2P learner driver mentor program assists learners under 21 years of age, who do not have access to a supervising driver or vehicle, to gain the driving experience required to apply for a probationary licence.
- TAC - DriveSmart is an interactive program that takes you through a range of driving scenarios and quizzes, where you need to make safe driving judgements.
- Tips for learner and supervising drivers flyer