Practice is the key to safe driving and the more practice a learner driver has on L plates, the less chance there is of an accident when they are on p plates or later in their driving years.
Statistically, learner drivers rarely have crashes, however probationary drivers face a much higher risk of being involved in a crash. As parents or supervisors, the more time you spend helping your learner driver practice, the more likely they are not to die or suffer serious injury on our roads.
Probationary drivers are three times more likely than experienced drivers to be involved in a crash in their first year of driving. The greatest risk is in the first few months.
It is a legal requirement for a learner driver to have 120 hours of practice and it is important you ensure that your learner driver gets this practice in a range of conditions and situations.
Common parent and supervisor concerns
The following tips will help you, as the experienced supervising driver, give your learner driver the best experience on their L plates.
Am I the right person to supervise?
- Young people look to their parents, relatives or close friends to teach them how to drive. By investing your time, you're helping your learner driver gain the benefit of your experience.
- As a parent, you can influence how well your children manage these issues.
- Make sure you comply with all of the supervising driver requirements outlined on the VicRoads website. This includes having a current Victorian full (not probationary) driver licence, not drinking any alcohol while supervising. You also need to complete your details in the 'List for Supervising Drivers' and 'Declaration of Completion' in the Learner Log Book.
If I can't supervise, who can?
- If you feel you are not the right person to supervise, choose someone who is a fully licensed driver that complies with the guidelines and also provide support and encouragement.
Where to practice:
- Learner driver trips can be made a part of everyday activity. Trips to school and sport are ideal regular practice. No trip is too short or too long. Even a five-minute drive to the shops will involve parking and operating in busy areas.
- Having to deal with other drivers in difficult situations, such as frustrations when finding a parking spot, can teach both driving and life skills.
- At times when you are driving, point out to your learner hazards that lie ahead and what you do to avoid risky situations.
- Practice in all driving conditions.
- Make sure you allow time to supervise your learner driver. You don't need to be an expert driving instructor, simply make yourself available so you can provide guidance to increase your learner driver's confidence and experience.
- Your learner's safety is going to come down to the time you can make available.
The key to reducing P plater crashes is to increase driving experience before they become an independent driver. That is why your time can make a real difference.