Learning to Drive Safe

In Australia`s “car culture”, obtaining a driver’s license is an important and exciting milestone, usually reached between the ages of 16 and 18. It’s a happy occasion for both parents and teens when the driving test is finally passed, the wait at the Department of Motor Vehicles finally over, and the keys handed over with one last reminder to drive safely.

The learning-to-drive process that precedes that proud day, however, is a true test of patience, skill, and even courage, for parents, teens and paid driving instructors alike. In most states, a person as young as fifteen may obtain a provisional driver’s license, also known as a “learner’s permit”, which allows him or her to drive when accompanied by a licensed driver, age 21 or older, sitting in the front seat of the vehicle.

In order to qualify for a learner’s permit, teens must complete a class on driver safety and traffic laws, and pass a written exam to demonstrate an understanding of the material covered, show proof of enrollment in school, and pass an eye exam administered by the Department of Motor Vehicles.

Driving Lessons

Many parents choose to send their children to Driver’s Education, a class offered in free-standing driving schools and as an elective in some high schools. Free-standing driving schools usually offer the safety and traffic laws class required to obtain a learner’s permit either as a one-day course with a test at the end of the day or as a more thorough, comprehensive class meeting once or twice a week for several weeks.

Usually, the more comprehensive class continues with driving lessons Brisbane from professional instructors after the student has obtained his or her learner’s permit. When Driver’s Education is offered in a high school setting, it is nearly always the comprehensive course. Both courses teach driving students to recognize and react appropriately to various road signs, how to determine right-of-way, and how to react to common problems encountered while driving. They also cover the dangers of speeding, driving under the influence and driving while texting, and students are required to demonstrate that they understand the legal consequences of driving under the influence, being a minor in possession of alcohol, texting while driving, and speeding.

All of the information covered in the class can also be found in the Driver’s Safety Guide, a small book available for free at the Department of Motor Vehicles. Usually, Driver’s Education teachers pass these books out at the beginning of class and encourage students to use them as a study guide and continue to keep them on hand even after they are licensed. Once a teen has his or her learner’s permit, the real fun begins. Though many teens take driving lessons from paid instructors, those lessons are generally only once or twice a week—not often enough for most teens to become really comfortable and experienced behind the wheel.

Parents are strongly encouraged to take their teens out for practice drives between lessons, but sometimes that’s easier said than done! When a professional driving instructor takes a student out for a drive, he or she almost always use a car that is specifically designed for driving lessons. Usually, this car has a passenger-side brake pedal and is festooned with stickers alerting other drivers to the fact that there is a student driver in their midst.

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