The Definitive Guide To Getting Your Drivers Licence The First Time
Introduction – The Adventure of a Life-Time
No matter what stage of life you’re in, or what part of Australia you live, going for your driver’s licence is a huge step forward. Successfully completing your driving test and obtaining your driver’s licence, opens up a world of opportunities. It gives you the freedom and independence to travel, when and where you want, and makes it that much easier to get a job when you’re ready to start looking for work.
If you happen to live in South Australia’s Remote communities, getting a driver’s Licence can have a large, positive impact on not only you, but your family, friends, and the local community in general. You’ll have the ability to travel larger distances, to help others in your family, and your local community as well.
With a ‘driver’s licence’ comes responsibility, for yourself, your passengers, and of course, all other road users. There are road rules and laws that you must obey, to make our roads safe to travel. If you break or abuse these laws, the penalties can be harsh, so it’s in everyone’s best interests that you take the responsibility that comes with holding a driver’s licence, seriously.
This comprehensive and helpful guide aims to cover everything that you’ll need to know about getting your Driver’s License, and keeping it. You’ll find easy to read information, as well as important links that will guide you through the entire process. From studying, and taking the test for your L Plates, right through to choosing the best driving school, instructors, what testing options are available, and finally, getting your Ps - is all here.
You’ll find out about resources, and help that’s available to you, along with information that will enable you to make informed decisions about your Driver Training. If you identify as Aboriginal, or you live in Remote communities in South Australia, there are excellent resources available to help get you On the Right Track.
There’s a comprehensive section on your responsibilities, and the Conditions of holding various licence types, such as P1 and P2 Provisional licences. This section covers specific Conditions, and what happens when your licence is disqualified. You can find more about how to appeal a disqualification, and the penalties involved when a licence is disqualified.
Congratulations, you got your Full Licence! Many of the restrictions and Conditions you had to follow on your Ps will be relaxed once you have your Full Driver’s Licence. This, of course, doesn’t mean you can do whatever you like on the road, but it does mean more responsibility to do the right thing. The final section of this Definitive Guide provides you with further access to information on Australian Road Rules in more detail, as well as links to further support, and other important resources you’ll find helpful, on your adventures.
Table Of Contents:
Types of driver’s licences in South Australia
In Australian states and territories, you need a valid Driver’s Licence before you can legally drive on public roads. The laws in each state and territory vary, as does the age you can legally hold a driving licence.
There are several licence types available, from light vehicle - car and motor bike licences, right up to commercial heavy and multi-combination licences for large trucks and road trains.
In South Australia, at the time of writing this guide, you must be at least 16 years old to apply for your Learners Permit or ‘L Plates’. You must be at least 17 years of age, and have held a Learner’s Permit for a minimum of 12 months, to sit for your Provisional or Probationary Licence.
To obtain a Learners Permit, you must pass a theory test, and when driving, at all times be supervised by a fully licensed driver or qualified instructor.
To obtain your Probationary Licence, you need to be at least 17 years of age, have held a Learner’s Permit for 12 months and have at least 75 hours driving experience, logged and signed by a Qualified Supervising Driver. You’ll also need to pass a practical driving test and or a competency-based training course.
Once you have your Probationary Licence, your licence will be restricted, and these restrictions must be followed, by law. Some of these restrictions relate to speed limits, alcohol and drugs as well as the correct display of approved P Plates.
Learn for your permit driving test
Preparing for your Driving Test – The Driver’s Handbook
The Driver’s Handbook is an invaluable guide if you’re preparing for your driving test. It’s a fantastic guide for drivers in South Australia, and this important online resource allows you to register your details so you can stay in touch with up to date rules and safety tips.
You can still buy the Driver’s Handbook at selected newsagents, and Service SA - customer service centres, or download the relevant PDFs from this site. The Driver’s Handbook gives you a comprehensive overview of the road rules and laws associated with driver’s licences, as well as registering a vehicle.
The Driver’s Handbook for South Australia has clearly outlined sections that are easy to follow. It covers everything you’ll need to know, from different licence classes, minimum driving experience, and road safety responsibilities, as well as all the road rules you’ll need to be familiar with, to pass your driving test.
The Road Safety Responsibilities section covers, young drivers, minimising risk, Crash Avoidance, Speeding and Hazardous Driving Situations, just to name a few.
The Road Rules section is comprehensive and outlines in detail, all rules from speed limits and driving signals, to crossings, giving way and parking.
Drivers and Licensing cover Obtaining a Licence, the Graduated Licensing Scheme and Fitness to Drive.
The Vehicles and Registration section looks at Registering Motor Vehicles, What to do as a seller, and What to do When Buying a Car.
Getting your Ls In 7 Easy Steps
If you’re looking for a fantastic, targeted information guide on getting your L’s, take a look at these seven easy steps to scoring your Learners Permit. Although its focus is on Victoria, it still gives you a simple and easy to follow step by step process of what you’ll need to do to get out on the road and driving.
Practise for your L plates
Take the Online Driver’s Test
If you’re looking for a stress-free, fun way to practise for your Learner’s Permit test, you should find this very helpful.
Take the Online Driver’s Test is a handy online interactive Learner’s Test that’s helpful and easy to navigate. It’s a fantastic tool you can use to practise different areas of the Learner’s Test. The interactive questions are the same as the ones in the official learner’s test, so if you can successfully get through these questions, you’re well on track to passing.
Once you’ve studied your Driver’s Handbook, click the online test and answer the interactive questions. The test is in 2 parts, Part A has eight questions that relate to Giving Way, and you must get all eight questions correct – you can do the test as many times as you like.
Part B is multiple choice, and has 42 questions, covering Road Rules and Road Safety. You must get at least 32 out of the 42 questions correct to pass. The test shows you how many you get right and wrong, and you can do the test as many times as you like.
The great thing about this test is, it’s a fun and totally stress-fee way to practise. If you get some of the questions wrong, you’ll be able to learn the correct answer then do the test again to see how you go.
Booking and passing a licence theory test
On the Right Track
On the Right Track, is a brilliant resource if you identify as Aboriginal, you live in Remote areas of South Australia, and you need assistance in getting your Driver’s Licence. All the information and contacts you need to get on the right track to passing your driver’s licence test, are right here on this site.
The site has all the information you need to book your Learner’s Permit Theory Test. If you live in Remote lands, it will help you to access information on who to contact, and where, as well as documents you may need to provide, and what fees you’ll need to pay.
It has information on getting your licence and keeping your licence, great advice on Driving Safely, how your family can help and support you when you’re learning to drive, learning the road rules, and the many benefits of having a Driver’s Licence.
In the Theory Test section, you’ll find everything you need to know about where to go for your test, how much it will cost, and what questions to expect in the learner’s theory test. If you don’t speak English, an interpreter will be provided, free of charge the first time you take the test.
The Resource section has an excellent list of links to videos, tool kits, and workshops. You also have the option to subscribe to all the latest On the Right Track updates, as they become available.
What to do once you have your Learner’s - Practise
Find out everything there is to know about having your Ls, right here. You passed the test and now you’re ready to drive, but what are your responsibilities? What do you need to do to successfully get to the next stage? How do you do it? Take a look, and find the answers to all these questions, plus loads more.
The Driving Companion - the book you got when you passed your Ls - will become your best friend as you learn the practical side of driving. If you haven’t bothered to pick it up lately, take a look online here for a refresher on all the Dos and Don’ts, special tips and heads-up, on Learning to Drive the right way.
It’s comprehensive, easy to follow, and chocked full of stuff you simply need to know!
The L-rules tab, has you covered, with all the important Driving Rules and Laws, you’ll need to memorise, and follow. The specific Conditions of your Learner’s Permit are covered here too, and you’ll need to commit these to memory before you get behind the wheel for your first lesson.
The Driving Companion/Log Book tab provides you with links to the online version of the booklet. You can even print off extra Logbook pages to log Daytime and Night-time driving hours.
If you need to know more about your actual L Plates, the L Plate section covers everything from the correct size and colour of the plates, to where and how they should be displayed. It will tell you where you can buy them, and most importantly, what can happen if you don’t display your L Plates when you’re driving.
The Getting My P-Plates tab has a step by step list of what you need to do to progress to the next stage – your, all-important, Ps.
Choose the right driving companion
Choosing a Qualified Supervising Driver
As a Learner Driver, you want to give yourself the best chance of success, and finding the right Qualified Supervising Driver, to guide you on your way, is a definite must.
If you’re not sure what licence, experience, qualifications, and personal traits a supervising driver should have, follow the link, and take a look at this informative page.
The information provided clearly guides you through the types of licences the supervising driver should have, the amount of time they must have held that licence, and what they are required to do as your supervising driver.
The areas of instruction covered on this page relate to the safe operation of the vehicle, road rules, laws with regards to the motor vehicle, including registration. In combination with these requirements, it also covers personal traits and characteristics they’ll need, to be an effective instructor.
You’ll also find out, what happens if the Qualified Supervising Driver fails to meet any of their requirements, and how this will affect your Log Book entries and the status of your Learner’s Permit.
There’s even a great section that deals with - if your supervising driver holds a foreign driver’s licence, and what the special requirements are in this situation.
Choosing a Driving school
Choosing a Motor Driving Instructor
When it comes to learning from the professionals, choosing the right Motor Driving Instructor can make all the difference, when preparing for your Driving Test.
Driving Instructors, unlike your trusty Driving Supervisor, aka mum or dad - cost money. So, before you break into the piggy bank, shop around for a reputable driving school that offers a range of packages and experienced, qualified driving instructors.
This page has everything you need to know to help you make the right choice from the get-go. It covers what qualifications the instructor needs, as well as the different licences they can have. There are three main licence categories you’ll need to pay particular attention to, and these include:
- Motor Driving Instructor (no flash)
- CBT&A Motor Driving Instructor (yellow flash)
- VORT Motor Driving Instructor (red flash)
Each licence category, allows the instructor to do different things, so be sure to take a good look. Understanding each one will help you decide which would be best suited to your particular needs.
If you’re not sure what questions to ask to help you make the right choice, there’s a handy Question List at the bottom, which covers just about all of them.
Time to get your P plates
Should I do VORT or CBT&A?
If it’s time to get your P Plates, you’ll need to be well informed about what choices you have. If you’re not too sure whether you should do a VORT – Vehicle on Road Test or CBT&A – Competency Based Training & Assessment, this page clearly outlines the differences and benefits of each one.
It takes you through the VORT process, and what exactly it’s designed to assess. It also covers what you’ll need to do to pass the test and who the test might be best suited to, which is pretty helpful.
The CBT&A section also clearly outlines what you need to do to pass the test regarding the tasks you need to complete, how long it will take, and who it might suit best.
If you’re in two minds, and can’t decide which test might be best for you, definitely take a look at the information on this page – It will certainly help you make a more informed decision.
Vehicle on Road Test
This page provides a fantastic overview of the Vehicle on Road Test - more commonly known as the VORT. It covers a point by point explanation of what the VORT is, and what you need to do to pass the test and get your Ps.
The different requirements and assessment for the Practical Driving Test (VORT) are clearly listed, so you’ll know what you need to do to pass.
Competency Based Training & Assessment
The Competency Based Training and Assessment test is outlined fully on this page, in an easy to follow, step-by-step list. It’s clear, concise and informative, providing everything you’ll need to know to prepare for the CBT&A.
The first section deals with requirements, such as accredited instructors, tasks, logged driving hours, and the Hazard Perception Test. It also outlines the important skills and abilities you’ll acquire during the training, to be later tested, and assessed on.
P1 provisional licence for one year
P1 Provisional Licence
On the Right Track is an excellent resource if you identify as Aboriginal, and, or live in the Remote Communities of South Australia. This page outlines, in a simple step-by-step format, exactly what you’ll need to do, to get your P1 Licence.
It covers all the important stuff you’ll need to know, like how old you need to be, who you can contact for more support and information, and tests you’ll need to pass. It also goes through the other requirements, such as how many logged driving hours you’ll need, and important information on the VORT, or Vehicle on Road Test, and the CBT&A - Competency Based Training & Assessment.
There’s also a handy section that outlines the specific Conditions under which you agree to hold your Provisional 1 Licence. Some of these Conditions include speed limits, demerit points, alcohol and drugs, as well as other important restrictions.
P2 provisional licence for two years
P2 Provisional Licence
If you need to know more about getting your P2 Provisional Licence, take a look at this helpful page. It outlines the minimum age, and requirements, as well as the Conditions under which you agree to hold a P1 Licence.
These Conditions include speed limits, drug & alcohol information, vehicle specifications, and demerit points.
As well as outlining the requirements and Conditions of getting and holding a P2 Provisional Licence, this excellent resource from the Legal Services Commission of South Australia, also looks at the law, and your obligations, Breach of Conditions, Penalties, disqualifications, and appeals processes.
It clearly outlines what happens when you breach your conditions for holding a P2 licence, licence disqualification, the penalties, and the process for appealing a disqualification of licence.
You’ll also find information on the Safer Driver Agreement, and conditions under which you might enter this agreement. You will find more about what happens after a licence disqualification, and appeal, as well as the requirements for eligibility for a Full / Unrestricted Licence, or Non-Provisional Licence in South Australia.
Congrats on your full licence - Drive Safe
You’ve conquered your Ls, got your P1 and P2 licences, now it’s time to become a Fully Licenced Driver in South Australia.
We’ve explored all the great stuff On the Right Track has to offer for Aboriginal people, and those living in Remote Communities, now you can find out what you have to do to get your Full Licence.
This helpful section covers, minimum age, licence requirements, where you have to go to get you photo taken and fill out the necessary forms, and how much it will cost. It’s very easy to follow, just click the links to find everything you need to know.
Australian Road Rules
Now that you have your Full Licence, you might decide to travel far and wide. This South Australian Government resource has links to Australian Road Rules and information for drivers visiting South Australia.
The Australian Road Rules PDF is a comprehensive guide to the road rules in Australia and how they apply to road users, vehicles and different kinds of roads. The rules are part of a national scheme that aims to provide a uniform set of road rules throughout the whole of Australia.
There, of course, are some road rules and laws that are particular to South Australia, so this resource is also essential reading for anyone travelling to, and driving in SA for the first time.
If you’re new to driving in Australia, there’s also a handy link to the Drive on Left in Australia card that can be printed and kept in your vehicle as a reminder to help you drive safely.