When your teen becomes eligible to get their license, it can sometimes be challenging to ensure they not only pass the standard tests required but are comfortable and confident in any driving situation – helping them to be safe on our roads and allowing you (as a parent) to worry less.
We want them to succeed and enjoy the freedom that comes with driving, but we also want them to do it safely. Fortunately, there are plenty of resources to help your teen not only pass their tests – but also understand the rules of the road and how to take the responsibility of operating a motor vehicle seriously.
Okay – So Where Do We Start?
Once you turn 16, you can apply for your learner license. This then allows you to drive under the supervision of someone who has had their open license for at least a year. To get your learner licence, you will need to successfully complete/ pass PrepL or the written road rules test. PrepL takes between 4 – 6 Hours to complete and will take you through interactive activities, videos and scenarios covering driving attitude, signs and rules and sharing the road with others.
Teens will need to start learning the theory well before this – understanding all the road rules that come with driving before they try and get behind the wheel. You can download a copy of ‘Your Keys to Driving in Queensland’ which covers information about the road rules and licencing requirements.
These two steps that are the biggest part of passing driving tests and being a responsible driver: understanding the theory and getting in the hours of practice needed. So, what is the best way to help your teen successfully learn the theory, pass the theory tests, then be able to start driving? Let’s take a look at the options in Queensland.
Understanding the Danger and Taking it Seriously
Before your teen starts learning the theory behind driving, they need to understand the danger that a car can put both them and other people in. For example, it’s estimated that an impact with a car travelling 50km/h is the same as dropping that car from a three-story building. Remind your teen that speeding, even by 10km/h, is never a good idea (and is, of course, illegal). The faster you go, the more damage you will do or obtain if something goes wrong. It can be exciting to start driving for the first time and feel the speeds that the car can get up to. However, you need to encourage your teen to manage that excitement for their own, as well as others, safety.
The Theory and the Practice for Your License
There are plenty of ways to study Australian driving theory before being formerly tested on it. A variety of apps exist to help teach you the theory and do mock theory tests (mock tests are extremely useful in that they give your teen an idea of what to expect – familiarising them and calming their nerves).
- The Queensland Government have all of the information on obtaining your license as well as different driving classes, how to renew your license and much more, all for FREE. They also have the complete set of road rules available on their website – including any updates rules.
- Royal Automobile Club of Queensland (RACQ), offer lists of RACQ approved driving schools throughout Queensland, including Townsville, Cairns, Mackay, Brisbane and much more. You can find this list here.
In addition, a quick search on google can help you find driving schools near you, in which an instructor will guide your teen through their driving journey – giving advice on what they can work on and what they are doing well.
- Zutobi, a driving education app, have courses on how to learn the theory and is FREE. Their courses are tailored to whatever state you are going to get your license in, and can easily be downloaded on the App Store or Google Play.
Why Choose a Driving School + Tips for Parents / Caregivers
Your teen needs to start practicing their driving at some point – no matter how nerve-racking it may be for the both of you! Driving schools can be incredibly useful for when your teen feels ready to get behind the wheel, but with the supervision of a seasoned instructor who can remain calm in most situations and let your teen know what exactly needs improvement in their driving. If you’ve ever tried to teach a child to drive, you know how stressful it can be, for both of you. Having lessons with a qualified instructor gives you peace of mind and reduces the stress associated with the process.
Sometimes it’s difficult to let your teen take control, because all we want to do as parents is protect them. But there is no better way to for them to learn than to get hands on and do the real thing. If you find that you cannot relax while in the car with your teen as they learn, then a driving instructor is perfect – as they’re someone who has seen and done it all when it comes to new drivers.
Here are a few important things to make sure your teen knows when they start driving:
- ALWAYS follow the law when it comes to drinking and driving or driving under the influence of ANY substance. This, along with speeding and using your phone, will have serious repercussions if caught by the police. According to Queensland’s Department of Transport and Main Roads – the average speeding fine is $210.00. Plus, if a Class C driver under 25 is caught using their phone while driving then the fine is $1,000 and 4 demerit points are lost. You can find a full list of Queensland fines and demerit point information
- Don’t ever feel pressured to go above the speed limit if a driver behind you is too close and trying to speed.
- Learn what your car warning lights represent and what to do when one of them is lit up, e.g pull over immediately if you get a red warning light on your dashboard.
- It’s a good idea to learn how to change your own tyre as well as ensure you always carry a spare tyre. However, roadside assistance is available for when something goes wrong such as flat tyres and dead batteries etc. Ensure you have up to date roadside assistance and have the phone number stored on your phone.