Thank you for reading the path to getting your licence with our driving school which we hope will help you better understand the steps you need to reach your goal. We don’t profess to be the best; all we want is to make sure you leave us with your licence and be at your best before the lifetime journey of safe driving begins to develop. It takes a new driver many years to gain the knowledge and know how to become a true safe and competent deriver.
We hope to continue improving our services; we also look forward to any questions and feedback you may have. The benefits will be great for you, your family members and all your friends.
First thing is getting our learner permit. The learner permit allows us to prepare ourselves for the roads by being accompanied by a full licenced driver who will help us steer and control the car either on private or public roads.
Some people don’t find the immediate urgency to acquiring their licence, and many over a period of time realise that they now need their driver licence either because a job position requires them to have a driving licence or because they now live further away from work and a car licence is now nothing but a necessity. In fact, many employers require the applicant to have a driving licence.
Our aim is to help those who have a learner permit build the proper and safe foundations before developing bad habits from their accompanying supervisors. It’s exciting to see a first time learner start the car and after all checks begin to drive away from the kerb. Some students are nervous at first but, we see this to be long forgotten before the lesson is over. Our students are always excited and look forward to their next lesson. If confidence starts on the first driving lesson with qualified driving instructors then we know and feel it gets easier from here on.
Once you make the call and we organise a suitable time, we arrive on time although at times we can be a few minutes late due to unforseen traffic conditions, however, should this be the case we would call and provide you with more information as to why we are running late. This does not happen all the time.
There are four types of students; those under 18 and those over 18 but under the age of 21. There are also those who are over the age of 21 and those with an international licence.
We will assume all learner permit holders are similar in a way where we will teach them how to safely drive on the road. There are those who have been driving overseas for many years and have had their overseas licence expire or in need to convert to drive locally on our roads and require a thorough understanding of Australian road rules. The latter group will be discussed later on, though for now the theory here is very much similar.
For those under the age of 18 years of age, you will be required to keep and maintain your log book (log books must be maintained to the age of 21) in accordance with VicRoads criteria. We will show you the correct method to fill in your VicRoads log book and will keep tab of your log book on regular basis to make sure no errors could jeopardise your VicRoads log book through wrong or invalid entries. We take our record keeping very seriously because soon enough it’s driving test time. We deal with many students under the age of 18, so all our driving instructors are obligated to having the work with children clearance including a national police check. This is not to mention that all our driving instructors are trained to the highest standards and especially selected by us. The school of drive has been around long enough to identify the good from the not so good and because we work in the northern suburbs of Melbourne, we know most of the driving instructors and how they operate. In the past we played a part in training driving instructors to attain their qualifications. This helped in identifying great driving instructors.
Learner drivers between 18 and 21 years of age are probably ready to take their driving test. In most cases, their log book is either complete or close to having the minimum 120 hours with a minimum of 20 night hours logged in.
The driving quality reflects the hours a learner driver has recorded in their log book, though from experience we have seen many parents have indeed taken their sons and daughters for drives to build their hours yet have never travelled close to a major town, city or even to a more complicated and heavily congested area (unless they live there). We like to see every student being capable of driving on the freeway and for those that have many hours logged being at a level where they can begin to practice hook turns in the city of Melbourne if they haven’t already done so as an example. Those situations are assessed making sure our learner drivers do not have any fears and can easily execute such driving request on their own. To date, we have had a positive response to our way of teaching with a high pass rate. We strive for safety first then the pass.
Once getting close to the minimum number of hours required in the log book, we suggest you sit the hazard perception test. The Hazard Perception test is performed at any VicRoads office and it is a computer based test, it is valid for twelve month and should it lapse before sitting your drive test, another hazards test must be undertaken.
We sense our learner driver’s confidence behind the wheel and at this point, we organise a test rehearsal time to suit if we haven’t already done so. At this time we would book the driving test and continue tweaking the final touches until our learner has the confidence and familiarity with the area. Your instructor will provide the proper care and right frame of mind for the test ahead. Rehearsals are an art helping us to achieve our goals in life. So why wouldn’t it be equally important when preparing for your licence?
All drives in any of the three locations we undertake are always on the test routes and nowhere else. Every VicRoads office have several test routes and not just a couple.
begin with the right responsibility, good concentration; anticipate every move ahead of time. Having the patience, the right support, confidence and road knowledge that only good driving instructors know how to do and teach. This knowledge develops with years of experience and is our flagship and all our instructors undergo the necessary training to see you through those vital steps in licence preparation.
Sometimes the first lesson can be a little awkward and it’s usually because learner drivers think we expect high expectations from them when it comes to driving. A learner is here to learn, hence the name tag “learner”. Our instructors speak your language and will make sure you remain comfortable behind the wheel. Communication is essential as it leads to good understanding behind the wheel. Everything taught in life stems from communication and I believe it is one of our strength. Once we feel our learner driver is comfortable driving and is aware of the surroundings, both driving instructor and learner driver begin to ask questions about the roads and the rules. We also ask questions about what they see as potential road hazards, and this develops driving skills and continues to improve over time. The school of drive is certainly not about the price of a lesson or a package but more on being a niche driving school focusing on the quality of teaching and awareness on the road; this is the feedback we receive and we invest in ourselves to maintain these high standards.
Our learner drivers are assessed on their performance and advised as to where improvements are required right from the start and up to the final day of their test. We all strive for the safety of our family and other road users.
Students are always made aware of risky behaviour while under our supervision in areas such as when running late for work, Unit lecturers, other important appointments, preventing tangling in road rage, etc. The end result could prove dangerous to say the least. Being annoyed by other drivers including slow drivers ahead, (remember you were once slow as well) demonstrating to others the ability of being a super driver
We usually meet at VicRoads and take a pre-test drive and look for any road works to prepare for incase we revisit on our actual test. We also get into the zone and make sure our learner driver is calm and relaxed. Finally, we head back to VicRoads. By that time our learner is warmed up and is fully aware of the vehicle’s controls and the ability to use them if and when needed. Once the car is parked in the testing area, we are ready for the drive test.
Inside VicRoads, We take a seat until we are called up. Our instructor will introduce the student to the LTO (licensed testing officer) and an explanation on how the test is broken up and the general idea of how the instructions on the road will be given. It is so important our students build the right mindset to avoid panic attacks as this does happen from time to time where our students become frightened of the test ahead. We do our very best to calm our students down and proceed with the conditioning of going to have some fun on the road. The LTO also understands the fear some learners have prior to their test and make it clear not to worry but to simply take the instruction and execute it, no different to the instructions they were taking from their instructor in the days before.
The student would then go onto reading several alphabetical letters from an eye chart placed a distance away from the counter. This is an eye chart to determine if glasses should be required or worn while driving. Once successful, the test is explained to the learner and is told that the test is in two stages. Stage one usually takes ten minutes to complete and includes a reverse parallel parking or a three point turn. The applicant is asked if they know how to do both of these tasks. Only one of the two slow manoeuvres will be asked for. The LTO will also explain that there will be no conversations in the car though we encourage our learners to talk out as they process the task given in to small bits during the test. We will explain this to you later as we have video clips to show you exactly what we mean. The LTO will instruct the learner to turn right or left and if nothing is said to continue following the natural course of the road, meaning driving straight on. It will also be mentioned if we will be driving into school zones if it is this time of day and to be on the lookout for road works or other obstacles while on your drive. Once the LTO has explained everything, they will ask whether the learner has had their permit suspended or cancelled, whether they have an overseas licence and if they have any medical conditions they need to let VicRoads be aware of. The learner will be asked if there is anything they do not understand and once all is understood, the learner returns to the car and prepares for the drive test. With the engine turned off and the key is in the “ACC” position the learner will undergo a simple road worthy check as requested by the LTO. The learner should know where all the vehicle’s controls are. The headlight in the low and high beam position, washers, wipers, brake and rear lights in working order including signals, an operational horn, seatbelts, rear and front demisters, hazard lights, etc. At this point, the test starts and the learner would await the first instruction to commence driving towards the VicRoads driveway to exit on to the road. Following the successful completion of stage one, the applicant is then asked to pull over to the side of the kerb where the LTO counts the assessment test sheet to see if the applicant has scored enough points to continue onto stage two. Once passed stage one, the applicant leaves the kerb and moves onto stage two where he or she is required to make more challenging manoeuvres such as lane changes, merging with traffic and drive at safe speeds applicable to the speed associated with the stretch of road they are currently travelling on.
The second stage of the test usually lasts about twenty minutes and its back to VicRoads where the vehicle is parked anywhere legal and safe between the lines that mark the parking bay. The vehicle is made safe by placing the transmission in park (for an auto) and neutral (for a manual). Hand brakes up, headlights off, engine switched off and finally the seatbelt can be taken off. We then go back inside the office and wait for the LTO to give us the final verdict. If all goes well and in most cases it always does, its photo time. “Congratulations, you have passed” its what we like to hear.
We like this to be a happy day though it is usually the day we say goodbye and good luck. For many of us, it is also a sad day to see the friendship we built with our students come to an end. Needless to say it’s the happy ending we are after.
New learners who have never driven before can sometimes sit in the car and drive to surprise us with their great driving skills. This usually happens when a learner has been playing car games on a PlayStation console or a similar game using a steering wheel. It is easy to identify such learners and if you have such a console at home that belongs to a sibling, a friend or a relative then we encourage you to practice with it. Its also so much fun to play.
For a new driver, we simply take it very easy and never go beyond their tolerance on the road especially on their first drive. All we do is make sure the learner understands that we are here to help them to drive and at the same time never forget that we are still in control from behind the scene so there is no reason to panic. We even rehearse some possible scenarios where we get our learner to leave the steering wheel and the pedals for us to control and once we are back in a safe situation, we hand it all back, hence making our learners feel that much more relaxed and fully aware we are there by their side at all times thinking ahead as to what their next move should be, based on the traffic conditions ahead.
A new learner is made aware of the safety issues including the safe distance required for a car to come to a stop from a certain speed. For example, when travelling at 100 km/h, a vehicle is covering approximately 27 meters per second. This may not sound like much but in reality that’s around 90 feet for those thinking in feet. Once the distance is measured and shown to a learner, it is hoped a clear understanding of how important a gap must be between the car we are in and that in front of us. The next thing a learner needs to understand is the time it takes us (humans) to interpret danger on the road, for example the car in front of us suddenly brakes hard to avoid missing a turn or perhaps avoid hitting a dog running across the road. The time it would take our eyes to see this, send the information to our brain to process and understand what is happening on the road followed by the signal sent from our brain down our spine to our right foot to apply the brakes takes time. On average this “thinking and react” takes a staggering 18 meters at 100 km/h. To this instance we have just covered 18 meters and we are at the point of applying the brakes and the car is still travelling at 100 km/h.
The braking alone will take a further 55 meters based on good efficient brakes and good tyres on the car. It takes much more for vehicles with below average tyres and brakes not maintained properly especially in the wet. For now lets assume our car is in perfect order since this is how we like to keep our car. At 100 km/h it would then take our vehicle around 73 meters to come to a stop. Again, that’s about 240 feet. The average length of a block of land is around 32 meters deep so it would take more than two blocks deep to stop from 100 km/h.
Our instructors carry a chart to show exactly how much distance it takes to bring a car to a halt from 30,50, 60 and 80 km/h. To some people this may not seem to be appropriate to learning how to drive, however, if one has this knowledge in mind, it could well save one from a potential accident later on. Many accidents are caused by tail gating which is when a car travels too close to the car in front. Tail gating is also against the law.
As simple as it might sound, a learner is provided with information about aqua planning and the danger it may have on your safety and the safety of others. This term is commonly used when the tyres on the car have reached their tread indicator alerting the owner that it is time to change them. Also keep in mind if the tyres are worn out, it may cause problems with your insurer should an accident occur while having bold tyres. Tyres also carry a date stamp from the manufacturer providing the consumer with information about the month and year the tyre was produced. This information is so vital when purchasing a new tyre because even tyres break down over time and the longer its been on the shelf, the shorter it will stay on your car so its very important you ask for more details from your tyre supplier.
Most modern vehicles are fitted with an ABS system, which stands for Anti-locking braking system. While we are learning to drive a car, it is also important to develop an understanding for what this means and the importance of this braking system and maintaining it in peak performance.
Once we have covered the essentials of the vehicle’s safety items, we like our learners to stay alert of any dashboard warning light coming on. There are many other safety issues we discuss in detail with our students and are beyond the scope of this page, however, we are happy to add information our learners may find useful. All we need is your feedback.
Overseas licence and learner permit holders need to understand the VicRoads driving criteria. Many learner permit holders have an advantage because they have been exposed to our roads since their early childhood. Overseas licence holders need to adjust and blend into our way of driving for all to remain safe.
Finally, we would like to continue providing more information, and would also like to answer any questions you may have so please forward your questions via email or any social media and we will reply as soon as we can depending on it’s urgency.
We at the school of drive, strive to provide a driving experience above the rest. Thank you for your interest in our write up and looking forward to having you on board and getting your licence and sharing your experience with us soon.
The school of drive team