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before you drive checklist

If you haven’t supervised a learner driver before, there are legal requirements that you must know about before you start. There are also a number of other things to consider before your learner gets behind the wheel.

Use the checklist below to confirm that you and your learner driver are ready to drive.

Starting with a keys2drive free lesson is an excellent way for you both to prepare. A keys2drive accredited driving instructor can coach you in getting started and help you both ‘hit the target’ - six months on P plates with zero harm.

A basic ‘before you drive’ checklist

Legal matters

  • I know I can legally supervise a learner driver. (Check licensing requirements for your state or territory).
  • My learner and I each have our driver’s licence with us, it’s current, and we are complying with our licence conditions.
  • Our car is road worthy and registered.
  • I know the conditions on my car insurance that apply while my learner is driving.
  • We have L plates correctly positioned on the front and back of our car.
  • The learner has their Logbook (as required), and I have read and understand the instructions and advice.

Attention matters

  • We have both had enough sleep. Ask your learner how much sleep they’ve had in the last 48 hours if you’re not sure.
  • We both feel calm and we have enough time.
  • The type of possible distractions in and around the car will suit the learning situation. (Few, if any, for early sessions. Later, gradually introduce distractions and help your driver learn to manage them.)

Learning matters

  • I have a good understanding of my learner’s knowledge, ability, and experience.
  • I have asked my learner what concerns he/she has about learning.
  • I have asked my learner what he/she wants to do or feels they need to do. (If this is different to what you think is best, see if they can work out why rather than say “Do it my way.”)
  • We have talked about and agree on what we are going to do and why.
  • When my learner tries any new task, I will first check that it has been explained and demonstrated.

Safety matters

  • I have bought a stick-on rear vision mirror that I can use from the passenger’s seat.
  • I know I must check first that it’s safe for my learner to get into and out of the car. I appreciate they may not be thinking clearly.
  • I have double-checked passengers are seated correctly, have their seat belts fitted properly, and have adjusted their head restraints.
  • I have explained to my learner that I’m a co-driver and I will be looking around and behind to double-check our safety. They know I’m not being controlling.
  • My learner driver knows how to slow and stop the car before they move off. I’ve demonstrated it.
  • We’ve talked about where we are going and how we’re getting there.
  • I have checked there is safe space around the car for us to move off, given my learner’s skill.
  • I judge that the situations we are likely to encounter fit with my learner’s skill level.
  • We’ve talked about tricky traffic situations we could meet on this drive and how we will manage them.
  • We have discussed and practiced what I will do if I have to take over some control of the car. (You might guide the steering wheel and talk your learner through a situation).

Directions matter

  • I know I have to be careful about using words like “stop” or “right”. (They could be taken as literal directions.)
  • I know I have to give directions for going, slowing, or turning well ahead of time.
  • I know the “At, Do” method works best, e.g. “At the traffic lights near the service station, we’ll Do this: take the left lane, turn left and then keep in the left lane.”

Words matter

  • I know I have to be mindful that some words I use may have little meaning to my learner. I’ve asked them to tell me if I use words they do not understand.
  • I may hear driving instructors use terms I’m unsure about. I will ask them what they mean. (For example, blind-spots, block-outs, head-check, friction point, cover the brake, crash avoidance space, scanning, hazards and many more.”

Download the 'Before you drive' checklist (PDF 164kb)

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