We, at StressFree Driving School, have learned that students have a million and one questions. Here are some of the most common ones:
How long will it take me to get my license?
The answer to this question will vary from student to student. It usually takes a typical student three to five 1 hour lessons to acclimatise to being on the road, perhaps two lessons to master the slow manoeuvres, and then perhaps another three to five lessons in the approach to the driving test. During this time if there is a support driving teacher such as a parent or friend then the extra hours on the road will typically make the path more efficient… as long as the “good habits” are focused on, not the bad, when away from the Driving Instructor.
When should I book in my Hazard Perception Test and Driving Test?
At StressFree Driving School we tend to recommend booking in for the tests as soon as you are getting a real handle on the slow manoeuvres (reverse parallel park and 3-point turn). Most VicRoad Testing Centres have a 3 to 5 week wait, and so that means there will be 2 to 4 lessons left. This tends to be a typical approach to a driving test.
Should I learn in a manual or an auto?
The answer to this is usually a practical one; what sort of car is referenced, what sort of car is available after the license is obtained? Many countries overseas have almost predominantly manual cars. Also, if you learn in a manual going to an auto is almost never a difficulty. Learning in an auto and trying to drive a manual is very difficult indeed. At StressFree Driving School we teach both auto and manual.
Do I really need a Driving Instructor?
The most honest, simplistic answer is no. However… most people with full licenses drive too fast, travel too close to others on the road, most have limited to no proper idea when to use their mirrors (probably never head-check in their blind spots) and invariably slow down at Stop signs but not stop. These are the people that a Learner has to learn from, as the alternative to a Driving Instructor. The above are only some of the criteria by which a Learner is assessed on the day of the driving test by the VicRoads Testing Officer. So if someone with a full license is teaching you what they do then you might be in for a long, frustrating haul to getting your license.
What should I be looking for, in a Driving Instructor?
In one word: Professionalism! A Driving Instructor should be instructing in a modern, well-kept, properly equipped vehicle. A professional Driving Instructor should have a lesson plan for each one of his/her students, reflecting the stage of competence that the student has. At no point should a student be made to feel uncomfortable. Yes, there will be “oopses” that a student will make whilst learning how to drive, but a fully competent Driving Instructor should be able to compensate and make sure nothing untoward happens. The Driving Instructor has the ultimate control of the vehicle and at no point is it acceptable for a student to be blamed for the non-perfect potentials.
What happens on the day of my driving test?
A Learner is able to take the Drive Test in their own car; please please do not drive to the testing centre on your own, though. It sounds pretty obvious but we do see the odd person pull into a VicRoads with nobody else in the car and go straight to the yellow testing bays. If you take the driving test in your own car it has to be fully roadworthy. If you take the driving test with an Instructor the Tester will sit in the back, after the admin stuff is done, and after the pre-drive check is completed. In the driving test, the Driving Instructor cannot assist or signal to the student. Talk to your Instructor about this, there is actually quite a lot happening on that day.
Where should I get tested? I’ve heard VicRoads Place-A is really hard, but VicRoads Place-B out in the country is easy.
We love this question at StressFree Driving School. People talk and invariably word goes out that some places are happy to fail you while others are ridiculously easy. We do not agree. On the day of the driving test, the Testing Officer has a number of criteria that examine your driving. Theoretically, if you can pass a driving test in one location you should be able to pass it at any other. And the logic of doing the driving test where there is one main street, no peak hour, etc… means that the licensed person will then stress and stress the first time they go anywhere near a bigger town/city. This is not empowerment, as far as we are concerned.
I am over 25 years old. It’s going to be harder for me to get my license, isn’t it?
The straight answer is NO, it will not be harder. The approach to learning and passing will perhaps be done with a slightly different attitude, but in this instance different certainly is not for the worse.
I’ve been a bike rider all of my life and find the roads to be full of angry motorists. How would getting my driver’s license help?
Firstly, it would help with knowing the Road Rules; who gives right of way to whom, when can certain parts of the road be used by whom, etc. If people are getting angry then there is certainly some sort of consistent behaviour that is causing this friction. Getting a driver’s license is a knowledge-gaining exercise and we cannot see a drawback to this. It would also help to see the functioning of the road from a motorist’s perspective.
People cut me off and get angry all the time when I’m learning to drive on the roads. What should I do?
If others are showing anger and annoyance the first thing to do is make sure that we are actually doing what we are supposed to be doing on the road. For instance, more than 10 km/hr below the speed limit, no matter what the speed limit is, and we are then presenting as a hazard on the road.
Do truck drivers, car drivers, motor-cyclists and bike riders have the same road rules to follow?
Yes yes yes.
I am nervous, should I do lessons with my mum/dad/uncle/friend first, before seeking a driving Instructor?
It is by no means wrong to start off with a non-Instructor; most people do it this way. The only issue is that the bad habits of an experienced driver will be potentially passed on from the beginning of someone’s driving life, and secondly, most non-Instructors will not be educated in how to give instructions. This can lead to frustration for everyone. Driving Instructors ideally would show a new Learner the ins and outs at the start, perhaps keep some lesson contact, then polish everything up as a drive test approaches.
Where do I get information to help me learn to drive?
A Learner’s most immediate access to information about driving and responsibilities on the road would have to be the “Road to Solo Driving” produced by VicRoads. The VicRoads website is also an ocean of information. All of this is condensed from the Road Safety Road Rules 2009.
When I drive as a Learner (or even after I get my license) should I just do what everyone else around me is doing on the road?
The best way that we can suggest for someone to FAIL their drive test is to simply do what everyone else around them is doing; most others will be going 3 to 5 km/hr over the speed limit consistently, most others will not be stopping before the solid white lines at intersections, most others will not be indicating with adequate notice when making a significant lateral change of direction. So knowing what the road requires of us is key, then being able to apply it correctly makes all the difference.
What are the safest streets/places to drive on as I’m learning?
That is all dependant on a Learner’s stage of driving development. Initially, the quiet streets do aid in learning to handle the vehicle but there tends to be a high frequency of observations and car control motions that go along with the quiet streets. Larger roads are a good place to learn about reading the road ahead, having a greater visibility and getting used to the sensitivities of the pedals. In the end, all types of streets should make up a student’s learning experience.
Is my mum/dad/friend able to come with me during lessons with my Driving Instructor?
Yes, you bet. Actually, we encourage it. The support teacher will listen and invariably improve their own skills when they come along, they will develop a standard way of teaching, which then positively affects any lessons that the Learner has with them.
I have had a Driving Instructor who did nothing but talk at me in our lessons, as well as shout at me when I initially made mistakes. Should I settle for this?
Never settle for such behaviour. Never ever! Reflective of our philosophy at StressFree Driving School, the student is not there for us, we are there for the student. No environment should be abusive, so why pay anyone a single cent to be nasty?
How can I pay you?
We accept payment directly to the Driving Instructor at the commencement of the lesson/test, payment can be made directly into our bank account (see Prices and Payments on this website) or you can pay through EFTPOS using your credit or debit card.
Do I have to be alcohol and drug-free in my lessons?
Virtually everyone would know that a Learner and P-plate driver has to be drug-free and with no alcohol in their system. There are numerous legal medicines, however, that also stop you from legally driving a vehicle (with or without supervision). If a Learner is on medications it is wise to always get advice as to their applicability to driving.
Does StressFree Driving School appreciate bad dad-jokes?
Oh yes. Yes yes yes. Not only do we appreciate them, we are also quite good at telling them. And we will prove it during the odd lesson.