Safe driving tips for beginners

Getting behind the wheel for the first time can be daunting. Even when you've gotten comfortable on the road, things like driving at night and on long trips can be a whole new challenge.

If you're new to driving and want to build confidence on the road, these safe driving tips might help.

General tips for first time drivers

  • Know the road rules: And aim for more than "studied enough to pass the knowledge test to get your learner license." Even before you get your Ls or L plates and start driving, knowing the laws for your state or territory inside out can make you safer and more confident when you're out on the road.
  • Practice somewhere quiet: Once you have your learner permit or Ls, you might be keen to get out on the road and start cruising down the freeway, but get comfortable with the vehicle first. Find a nice quiet carpark or empty space without any other vehicles or people around, and get familiar with steering, braking, parking, and accelerating – your supervising drivers will probably know some good spots to go.
  • Avoid distractions: You might think a quick glance to read a text or choose a song is safe, but it's never a good idea to use your phone while driving – plus it may also be illegal, of course. And that's not the only possible distraction. Some people find that music playing while they're learning to drive is too much, so don't be afraid to drive in silence. Also, while you need your qualified supervising driver in the passenger seat, consider whether you want other passengers (such as friends or siblings) in the back seat, especially early on.
  • Be aware of your surroundings: Get in the habit of using your rearview and side mirrors, so you're always aware of other vehicles. And be sure to head check, particularly when switching lanes or turning across bike lanes (mirrors don't catch everything!). As well as looking behind you, keep an eye on what's happening further up the road, so you can adapt to upcoming obstacles.
  • Be aware of other drivers: Beginner drivers often go a bit slower at first. While it's best to stick close to the speed limit (without going over it, of course), don't let frustrated drivers behind you pressure you to go faster.

Night time and wet weather driving tips for beginners

Driving at night or when it's raining can be unpredictable. That's why it's important to be even more cautious than you would when it's sunny. You can do this by:

  • making sure your lights are on (and working) – and make sure they're appropriate for the conditions.
  • driving slower, especially when tackling corners.
  • leaving more room between you and the car in front of you, in case you have to brake suddenly.

Long distance driving tips

Road trips can be fun! But if you haven't driven long distances before, here are a few safety tips.

Before your trip:

  • Check your water, oil, and tyre pressure (hopefully your supervising driver can show you how to do this!).
  • Make sure you have a spare tyre.
  • Consider packing extra fuel and drinking water, especially if you'll be driving through the Australian countryside where there may be long distances between petrol stations.
  • Plan your journey including rest stops and timing.

When you're on the road:

  • Take a break and switch drivers every two hours, at least. Switch earlier if you get tired before that.
  • Be flexible about your timing in case you're running behind. It's better to take a little longer to reach your destination and get there safely.

Why is it important to be a safe driver?

  • Aside from the obvious benefit of keeping yourself, your passengers, and other drivers on the road safe, there are some real benefits to being a safe driver. Many insurance providers look favourably on good driving track records and claim history which can influence your premium (how much you pay).
  • But the unexpected still happens to even the safest drivers – that's where car insurance can come in handy. Bingle covers learner drivers1 (people on their Ls or L plates). There just needs to be a listed driver in the car to avoid the unlisted driver excess.
  • Find out more about Learner driver insurance

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1 Subject to meeting acceptance criteria (our underwriting guidelines).