Teach someone to drive

Find out the rules for instructing and supervising a learner driver.

All learner drivers and riders must be accompanied by a supervising driver. 

Who can be a supervising driver?

A supervising driver can be a licensed driving instructor, family member or friend.  

Your supervising driver should:

  • be someone you feel comfortable with
  • be a competent driver and have a good driving record 
  • know and follow the road rules
  • help you reach all the goals in each stage of learning to drive. 

If you’re learning to drive a car or motorcycle, your supervising driver must have held a current driver’s licence for at least 4 years.

If you’re learning to drive a moped, your supervising driver must have held a motorcycle (R-E or R class) or moped (R-N class) licence for at least 2 years.

Your supervising driver must have a current driver’s licence for the type of vehicle you’re learning to drive or ride. For example, if you’re learning to drive in a manual car, your supervising driver must have a driver’s licence for a manual car.

Role of a supervising driver 

 Your role as a supervising driver is to prepare the learner for a lifetime of safe driving. 

If you are supervising a learner driver or rider you must: 

  • ensure the vehicle you are supervising has L plates displayed at all times
  • understand and comply with the road rules and restrictions for learner drivers
  • follow the same alcohol drug restrictions that would apply if you were driving or riding the vehicle
  • ensure the vehicle you’re instructing in is licenced and roadworthy
  • sign off the learner logbook after each session.

Tips for instruction and supervision

During the early stages of learning to drive, your role is to provide instruction to the learner driver, helping them master the basics of driving and road safety.

Sometimes it can be easier for a professional driving school or instructor to provide this early instruction to help establish good basic skills and traffic awareness, which your learner driver can then build on in the months to come.

As the learner driver gains skill and confidence, your role will change to supervision and providing advice when required to encourage safe, responsible, and courteous driving. 

When instructing and supervising your learner driver, remember to:

  • listen to the learner driver and work with them plan a driving program
  • keep calm, alert and patient 
  • give clear, easy to understand instructions 
  • take it slow, working your way from basics skills to more complex actions 
  • be available to provide lots of on road experience in a range of conditions 
  • provide positive and constructive feedback
  • help the learner driver fix their mistakes
  • review progress at the start and finish of driving sessions 
  • keep a record of what has been achieved so far. 

Using a professional driving instructor 

If you can, it’s a good idea to begin driving lessons with a professional driving instructor.  

They have experience driving with beginners and can help a learner driver learn basic car control skills and develop correct driving habits. 

When choosing an instructor, make sure: 

  • they have been issued with a current driving instructor’s licence by the Department of Transport
  • their vehicle is appropriately licensed and has dual controls. 

Stages of learning to drive

Stage 1: Learn the basics

At the beginning, your role as a supervisor is to instruct your learner driver on how to safely operate and control the vehicle.  

Skills to practice could include: 

  • how to start, move and stop the vehicle 
  • finding the controls and mirrors and understanding how to use them 
  • setting up the vehicle for driving 
  • how to drive forward, reverse, corner and stop smoothly and within the speed limit. 

It is best to teach these skills in a low-traffic location, such as an empty car park or quiet street. 

Stage 2: Driving on the road and negotiating traffic

When you and your learner driver feel confident, you can begin instructing the learner how to drive on the road, scan for hazards and follow traffic rules. 

Skills to practice could include: 

  • how to safely start and park the vehicle in the street 
  • recognise and obey traffic signs and lights 
  • how to safely travel through intersections and roundabouts  
  • travel at a safe speed and distance from other cars 
  • look for, recognise and safely respond to hazards on the road
  • use mirrors to monitor traffic and recognise hazards 
  • speed up and slow down to respond to changing traffic.  

It is best to begin learning these skills in a quiet, low-traffic location and progress to moderate traffic areas and varying times of day and weather, when ready.

Stage 3: Driving in complex conditions

Now is the time for the learner driver to put all the skills they have learnt into practice — in a range of traffic, weather and road conditions. During this stage, the learner should be able to operate the vehicle more independently, so you can focus on supervision.

Skills to practice could include: 

  • enter busy traffic and intersections safely
  • drive on freeways, major and country roads safely
  • change lanes and overtake vehicles safely
  • use mirrors to check blind spots and recognise hazards
  • plan your own driving routes
  • negotiate intersections and roundabouts  
  • anticipate and respond to common road hazards.

Stage 4: Practising driving solo

By this stage, your learner driver should have passed their Hazard Perception Test and is ready to gain as much experience as possible in wide range of driving conditions. As a supervising driver, you may still offer advice and suggestions but most of the decision making should be made by the learner driver.

Skills to practice could include:

  • drive safely in light, moderate and heavy traffic conditions
  • obey all road signs, road markings and speed limits
  • maintain a safe distance from other vehicles, particularly on wet roads
  • choose an appropriate speed for the road, weather and traffic changes
  • drive safely in wet weather and at night, using headlights when required
  • make safe decisions without guidance
  • handle complex tasks, such as merging and changing lanes on freeways, reversing from driveways and parallel parking
  • scan for and respond to other road users and hazards
  • make longer trips but making sure to manage fatigue
  • manage moderate levels of distraction when driving, such as music and passengers.

By the end of this stage, your learner driver should have plenty of experience and feel confident to drive without supervision in a range of driving conditions.

Remember, the requirement to complete 50 hours of supervised driving is just the minimum.

We recommend learner drivers get as much supervised driving experience as they can in a different traffic, road and weather conditions.

When they feel ready, meet the age and eligibility requirements and have completed at least the required supervised driving hours, your learner driver can consider taking their practical driving assessment.

Stage 5: Preparing for the practical driving assessment

Before your learner driver takes the practical driving assessment (PDA), it’s a good idea to practice the manoeuvres and exercises that may be tested in the PDA.  

You can find these manoeuvres, exercises, and a range of other helpful information about the stages of learning to drive in our Driving Techniques for Safer Drivers: A Guide for Learner Drivers booklet.

Not ready? Reschedule your PDA.

If your learner driver doesn’t feel ready to take the PDA, it’s likely don’t have the skills and confidence to drive safely unsupervised — which is what the test looks for.  

If they do not pass the test, they will have to rebook and pay another fee. 

If your learner driver doesn’t feel ready, it’s best to do more practice and reschedule their test.   

Learners can reschedule their PDA using DoTDirect.  

Dealing with the stress of learning to drive

Learning to drive can be stressful for both the learner and supervising driver. 

While supervising a learner driver, keep the following in mind:  

  • If you or the learner feel stressed or angry, stop the car safely and take a break. 
  • If the driving conditions become worse and your feel uncomfortable, stop the practice session and take over driving. Driving sessions should never place you at risk of crashing and learners should never drive beyond their ability or skills. 
  • Remember a few mistakes will happen; however, there will be lots of progress. 
  • During a stressful situation, remain calm and talk your learner driver through it.  
  • When you have finished the driving session, calmly discuss how to improve for next time. 
Page last updated: Wed Apr 17 2024 3:02:41 PM