Saturday, May 22, 2010

L is for Learner

Now that my twins are 16 they are able to get their learner's permits. I applied for a little learner's package for them which included brochures, info sheets and a very thick booklet to read. They both had to read all of the information and then sit this theory test of 30 multiple choice questions (both kids got 29/30, due to my excellent road safety teaching. Go team!).

This means that they can both legally learn to drive. The rules state that you must carry the permit with you when you drive at all times with a supervised driver who has had their license for more than five years and you must clearly display this little sign on the front and back of the car:

Unfortunately as we are a large family, we don't have a small, easy car for them to practise in. We have two people movers which are big and bulky, but at this point in time, they'll just have to do. With my husband away for work and a five week old baby it makes it hard to take the kids out to drive. So far we have only done driveway reversing and 10-15 minute drives* in a car park near our house. If you see quite a large car with L-plates, a nervous driver and a Mum who is trying her best to stay calm and juuust breathe; you'll know it's us.

After my twins have been driving for six months, they can sit a practical driving assessment. They are assessed on eight key points: look behind, flow, movement, path, manoeuvres, responsiveness, signal and vehicle management as well as two exercises called Stopping for Shopping (this one sounds fun!) and I've Left Something Behind (oh, no!). To be honest, I have no idea how to teach/show my kids many of these key points, so it looks like I'll be learning something along the way - something other than extreme patience and perseverance, that is.

After another six months and 25 hours each of hell driving, they can finally sit another theory test. This one is a Hazard Perception test, which tests if you know when to slow down, when to change into the next lane, your reaction time and so on. Finally, they can then get their driver's license - driving without Mum - woo!

It's not over just yet. Once they remove their L-plates** they are known as a 'novice driver' and will need to clearly show this little sign on the front and back of their car for six months:

Wearing this plate has restrictions. You are required to have a BAC (blood alcohol limit) of 0 at all times and you are not permitted to drive between 12am - 5am. After six months with the red plates, they need to change to these for 18 months:

Only then can they finally drive Mum free and sign free. Phew!

Can I just use this time to point out that I am SO glad that I don't live on the other side of my country. Their learner drivers have to complete 120 hours before getting their P's. I'm not so sure I would have enough time nor patience to spend 360 hours in the car with my L-plater over the next two years.

*driving up and down the middle of the car park with only one or two turns. My son is already very confident and I'm sure will be out on the roads soon. My daughter... not so much.

**along with the L-plates comes copious amounts of teasing from their siblings: "L is for looooser!"


  1. My oldest turns 16 on Thursday and is all set to take her drivers test. Or so she thinks.

  2. @WeaselMomma Oh, good luck to her for Thursday (and you)! What is the drivers test like? Will you be the designated 'teacher'?