A new RAC survey has revealed learner drivers could be sitting their driving tests too soon, with only half of all learners feeling well-prepared for their first practical assessment. 

RAC’s Driver Licensing Survey found 50 per cent of learners* felt ‘not at all’, ‘slightly’ or ‘moderately’ prepared before sitting their first Practical Driving Assessment, with professional driving instructors estimating 61 per cent of learner drivers are taking the test before they’re ready. 

Less than half of novice drivers surveyed passed the practical test on their first attempt. Most of those who failed said nerves were a factor. 

RAC General Manager Public Policy and Mobility Anne Still said learners shouldn’t be rushing to get behind the wheel before they feel ready.

“Getting their licence is an incredibly exciting time in a young person’s life but safe driving skills take time and experience to develop,” Ms Still said.

“An alarming number of young drivers are being killed and seriously injured on our roads, with those aged 17 to 25 at a particularly high risk.

“Ensuring we’re creating safer drivers and encouraging safe behaviours needs to be the absolute priority — this includes exposing learners to a range of road conditions and driving situations.

“Practicing in unfamiliar areas, on regional roads, driving at night, in different weather conditions and with a mix of road users should all factor into the learning process before a new driver obtains their licence.”

RAC’s Driver Licensing Survey also revealed half of respondents thought the mandatory supervised practice hours should be increased to develop safer drivers. On average, the suggested number of hours was 71.**

“We encourage learners to do as many supervised hours as they can — the more time spent practising the better,” Ms Still said. 

According to learners, parallel parking is the most difficult task for them to master, but driving instructors disagree:

 Top three most difficult tasks for learners


 According to learners and p-platers:

 According to professional instructors:


 Parallel parking

 Turning right at a priority/give way intersection


 Driving near pedestrians, cyclists and/or motorcyclists

 Using a clutch/changing gear


 Reverse parking

 Navigating a roundabout

RAC recommends students take advantage of other programs such as Keys2drive, which gives learner drivers a free lesson with an accredited driving instructor.


*Current learner drivers, p-platers and those who have obtained their licenses in the last five years

**The preferred number of mandatory practice hours by each group:




 65 hours


 74 hours

 Professional Instructors

 86 hours

 Overall Average

 71 hours


RAC Media Contact: Caitlin Barr, 0401 703 719 or media@rac.com.au