Road ready for learner drivers
Is your child ready to learn how to drive?
Teaching your children how to drive can be a rewarding experience; it can also be confusing, and stressful. But, we’re here to help!
- The more prepared you are, the better you’ll be able to help them:
- Gain as much experience as possible in different conditions.
- Understand and comply with the road rules.
- Develop safe driving skills, a responsible attitude and courteous behaviour.
- Pass the Practical Driving Assessment.
What is graduated licensing?
In WA, learner drivers are taught to drive through The Graduated Training and Licensing (GDT and L) system.
The staged system lets new drivers progress at their own pace, gaining experience under different conditions. It also introduces new risks like night time driving, and Graduated Demerit Point system gradually rather than all at once.
This approach helps develop practical driving skills, good habits and responsible and courteous attitudes to safety on our roads.
Find out more from the Department of Transport.
Your learner’s journey (steps 1 – 6)
The GDT and L system can be broken into six easy to follow steps. These six steps are based on the Keys for Life information your child will likely be exposed to in their school.
You can assist your young driver on their journey by familiarising yourself with and directing them to the steps in our student sections:
There are also some great tools and resources to help along the way.
Your role as a supervisor
It’s important your learner driver has some lessons with a qualified driving instructor to get started. They can teach basic car control and help them prepare for their assessment.
Most parents become supervisors once their learner is ready to clock their log book hours.
To get started checkout the minimum requirements for being a supervising driver.
Your role as a supervisor will require you to:
It’s important for learner drivers to develop their skills by maximising their driving time with a supervisor. Plan ahead and schedule your sessions together.
Plan lessons with your learner
Discuss with your learner the specific skills they wish to master. Plan where and when you’re going to drive and the type of traffic you’ll encounter.
Review their progress
Spend time with your learner to review their self-assessment and talk through the areas they’d like to cover next time.
After each session, ask your learner what went well, what could be improved and how they could avoid problems by reacting differently next time. End each session on a positive note.
Be a good role model
Every time you get behind the wheel, you should lead by example: drive safely, maintain a positive attitude, avoid all distractions and act in a courteous manner.
Restrictions on learner drivers
Learners must not drive faster than 100km/h or drive within the boundaries of Kings Park (Perth). They must be accompanied by an authorised instructor or supervisor at all times.
When you are driving, explain to your learner what you are looking at, what you are thinking, the decisions you make and why you make them. You can start doing this even before your learner has their learner’s permit and continue any time they are a passenger in your car.
Quick guide: what to teach
1. Cab drill
Understand the vehicle’s controls including brakes, mirrors, indicators, gears and warning lights and how to adjust the seat, steering wheel and seat belt.
2. Moving off and changing gears
Practice smooth operation of steering, gears, clutch, accelerator and brakes. This should be done in a quiet, unobstructed area.
3. Controlling the car
Teach your learner how to approach intersections and turn so the vehicle is in the correct position, in the right gear and at the appropriate speed.
4. Hazard perception skills
Ensure your learner understands how to identify potential hazards and react accordingly. Help them master this by talking about what you see and the appropriate reaction. This is called a ‘Commentary Drive’.
5. Practicing manoeuvres
Introduce manoeuvres such as roundabouts, traffic lights, parallel and reverse parking, reversing in and out of driveways, lane changing and right turns.
6. Building on their experience
As driving skills develop, drive in a range of conditions such as busy traffic areas, different times of the day and in different weather conditions.
Buying a car (steps 7 – 10)
Your learner driver might be learning to drive in your car or their instructor’s car, but for most parents the question of ‘can I have my own car?’ is inevitable.
Whether it’s happening now or in the future, we’ve put together a few simple steps to help your learner driver understand what’s involved with buying a car.
These steps will likely be just as handy for you, whether you’re simply helping them through this process or if you’re the one footing the bill.
For more information, visit our Buy a Car page.
The safety rating of your child’s first car should be the number one priority. Visit ANCAP to get an understanding of how new car safety ratings work in Australia and to check the safety rating of the car you’re thinking of buying. Never purchase less than a 4-star vehicle.
Thinking of buying second hand? The UCSR index can help you assess the safety of older cars.
There are also some great tools and resources to help with buying a car.