Guide To Getting Your Drivers Licence & Passing Your Driving Test

May 03, 2019 at 2:19 PM

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Tips For Learner Drivers

Vehicle Licencing FAQ
More Common “Learning To Drive” Questions Answered
The Basic Steps to Getting Your NZ Drivers Licence
Getting a Drivers Licence - Medical Requirements
Rules For The Restricted Driving Licence
Steps To Getting Your Driver’s Licence In New Zealand
Do You Have To Do A Three Point Turn In The Driving License Test?
5 Ways To Fail Your Drivers Licence Test
Learner Driver Beware: 10 Common Mistakes
The New Zealand Driving Test: Top Fail Areas
Top 5 Tips to Passing Your Driving Test
How to Fail Your Driving Test
Booking the Restricted Licence Test. How Do I Know I'm Ready?
New To NZ? Getting Your Licence, What You Need To Know

Tips For Learner Drivers Who Are Preparing For Their Driving Test

Whether you have just become old enough to get your licence, or you're 60 and have never learned, learning to driver can be very hard and stressful. There are many aspects in learning how to drive, and in the end passing your test is only a minor part in the grand scheme of driving. Below are some tips that you are likely to not hear from your average driving instructor: these are tips that will keep your alive and safe on the road, rather than just getting your licence.


There are hazards absolutely everywhere on the road. The most important aspect of your safety will be your ability to recognize these, and to know how to deal with them. Common hazards include: wet road, ice-covered road, pot holes, and of course, other cars. Check the weather before leaving so you know what to expect for the day. Avoid known 'bad' roads to avoid large pot holes and bumpy surfaces, and keep an eye on the cars around you.

Be sure you don't look at the road directly in front of you, and look out onto the road ahead. This will take some adjusting to if you are accustomed to looking just in front of the car, but it will allow you to notice possibly dangers earlier.

The ... Second Rule

Have you heard of the two second rule? This is usually 'keep two seconds driving time between you and the car in front'. This isn't true. In fact, having a full three seconds of reaction time has been shown to prevent majority of accidents. While it may seem over the top, it could save your life. Now, this only applies to dry roads. If the road is wet, extend this to four seconds, and if it is icy, aim for ten.


Stress is a major factor in your driving skill. If you are very stressed, it will greatly affect your ability to react to a situation. As such, teaching yourself to be calm on the road will allow you to be a better driver. Usually this will come with time but aiming to remain calm when you start out can mean you also learn quicker, as you'll absorb more instead of simply 'freaking out'.

Choosing The Right Instructor To Prepare You For Your Driving Test

You should always drive with someone who not only knows what they are doing, but who you get along with. When you are learning from a non-qualified person (such as a family member or friend), look for someone who has a lot of experience behind the wheel, and who can teach you calmly. If they get frustrated easily, they will not be the best for teaching you how to drive.

As for qualified driving instructors, be sure to go to a driving school with a good reputation. Do a bit of research before you begin to pay, as some can be quite pricey. Also, from within that company try to choose an instructor who you trust and get along with; you will learn far better from them than from someone who you don't like and have no respect for.

As long as you follow these tips, you should be safer and a far more able driver on the road. Consider undergoing a defensive driving course, even if it is not mandatory. These are probably the best skills you can have while on the road, and could very well end up saving your life.

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Vehicle Driving Licencing & Driving Test FAQ 

Q: How much does it cost to get your license in New Zealand?
A: Below are the average costs for the different stages of a Class 1 car license.

A: Learners License test $93-90
A: Restricted License test $134-80
A: Full License test $109-50

 These fees are the test fees only and do NOT include any professional driver training (which is highly recommended). The test fee does NOT include the use of vehicle (Restricted and Full test)

Q: How much does it cost to get a motorbike license in New Zealand?
A: Below are the average costs for the different stages of a Class 6 motorbike license.

A: Learners License test $93-90
A: Restricted License test $134-80
A: Full License test $109-50

These fees are the test fees only and do NOT include any professional training (which is highly recommended). The test fee does NOT include the use of motorbike (Restricted and Full test)

Q: Can you get your motorbike license without a car license?

Q: How many hours practice should I have before I take the test for my license?
 It is recommended to have at least 120 hours of practice

Q: Is my foreign license accepted in New Zealand?
A: Yes, you can use your foreign license for the first year you are in NZ. After that you will have to convert to a NZ license

Q: What age do I need to be to get my NZ learner license?
16 years of age

Q: How do I get my learner license?
 You have to study the Road code and sit the theory test

Q: Does it cost money to get my learner license?
 Yes, the cost for the learner’s license test is $93-90 

Q: Can I drive in New Zealand with my foreign license?
 Yes, you can use your foreign license for the first year you are in NZ.
After that you will have to convert to a NZ license

Q: Do I have to pass a driving test to drive a moped/scooter?
Yes, you have to pass your Class 1 or 6 learners license

Q: What do I do if my license has been stolen?
Report it to the police and apply for a replacement

Q: What do I do if I misplaced my license?
A: Report it to the police and apply for a replacement

Q: How long is my license valid for?
Learner License 10 years
A: Restricted license 10 years
A: Full license 10 years

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More Common “Learning To Drive” Questions Answered

When should I organise professional driver training for my son or daughter? 

It is best to do some professional driver training as soon as your child has passed the learners license test, so that we can teach them the correct habits and take the hard work out of it for you.

How many lessons will my child require?

 We would recommend starting with 5 lessons before taking your child out yourself to practice the skills learnt. They would then continue to have lessons to become competent drivers. The number of lessons required is different for each person and also depends on what people learn, automatic or manual.

Will an Advanced Driving Course help my Learner Driver?

Yes an advanced driving courses will help the learner driver, but only if they have done a reasonable amount of driving (at least 30 hours), so that they understand the topics that are being discussed on the course.

How do I know what I should be focusing on when taking my son/daughter for driving lessons?

Ask your child what they learnt on their professional driving lessons and focus on those things. Don’t make it too complicated, keep it simple and just practice the basics over and over. Think about how you do things yourself - at the end of the day you are only passing on your knowledge.

What is the cancellation policy?

We have a 24 hour cancellation policy, but if you are unwell or if there is an emergency, please contact the office or your instructor immediately.

What do I need to bring to my driving lesson?

Your driver’s licence, spectacles or contacts (if required for driving and stated on your driver’s license), a good attitude, payment for the lesson (unless prior payment has been arranged).

How long will it take me to learn how to drive?

The time it takes to learn to drive depends on the number of hours spent driving. Driving is all about practice. You need to have your learners license for a minimum period of 6 months before booking your restricted driving test. The recommendation is that you drive 120 hours in this time frame.

When should I have professional driving lessons?

When should I organise professional driver training for my son or daughter? It is best to do some professional driver training as soon as your child has passed the learners license test, so that we can teach them the correct habits and take the hard work out of it for you.

What age do I need to be before I obtain my L plates?

You have to be at least 16 years old before you can sit your learner drivers license test. Once you have passed this test you can start taking professional driver training and/ or practice driving with a supervisor. This is when you use your L plates.

Do you just train learner drivers?

No, we train people on any type of license and of any age.

Where will my lessons be held?

We meet at your house and start lessons around quiet streets in your neighbourhood.

What type of car will my lessons be in?

All our vehicles are small in size and it is your choice to learn in a manual or automatic car.

Do you have dual controlled vehicles?

Yes, all our vehicles are dual controlled.

Am I covered by insurance?

Yes, all our vehicles have full cover insurance.

Can I carry passengers while learning to drive?

Yes, you can carry passengers as long as your driving instructor / supervisor agrees to this.

Do driving instructors have a code of practice?

Yes, our driving instructors have a code of practice. You will find the details on our website under ‘terms & conditions’.

Can I do my driving test in an automatic car?

Yes, you can sit your driving test in an automatic car, but if you do, you can only drive an automatic car until you get your full license.

How do I set up the poles to practice the reverse parallel park in my own car?

We don’t use this method, but it is a very safe way to start your first few parallel parks. We teach parallel parking behind single vehicles in quiet streets initially. Refer to the parallel parking video clip on our website.

What is the difference between an assessment and a test?

An assessment is where we observe your driving to see if you would be ready to sit the test. We give you feedback at the end on areas that need improvement. A test is with a testing officer and it is either pass or fail.

How many lessons will my child require?

We would recommend starting with 5 lessons before taking your child out yourself to practice the skills learnt. They would then continue to have lessons to become competent drivers. The number of lessons required is different for each person and also depends on what people learn, automatic or manual.

How will I know if I am ready to sit the driving test?

To know if you are ready to sit the driving test, it would be best to book in for a pre-test lesson/ assessment with a professional driving instructor. They will be able to assess your driving and let you know if you are ready to sit the test.

Can you pick me up and drop me off at different locations?

Yes, we can pick up and drop off at different locations, but this needs to be organised with your driving instructor when making the booking. The different locations can’t be too far from one another.

What do I need to bring to my driving lesson?

Your driver’s licence, spectacles or contacts (if required for driving and stated on your driver’s license), a good attitude, payment for the lesson (unless prior payment has been arranged).

Who can I drive with?

You can drive with a professional driving instructor or anyone that has held a full NZ drivers license for at least 2 years.

How should I prepare before the test day?

Make sure the vehicle you are using is in good working order and road legal. Arrive at the testing station well before the test time (no rushing).

How do I pass my drivers licence test?

You need plenty of driving experience (the recommendation is 120 hours). Once you have this experience, it is a matter of obeying the law and sticking to the rules and limits. Make sure you are familiar with the test scenarios and that you have practiced these.

Is the practical driving test hard?

Do people fail their test often? On average about 40% of people fail their driving test. Some people are simply not ready to sit the test, others get very nervous and make mistakes. Lots of good practice is the answer.

Who will benefit from doing a defensive driving course?

Anyone will benefit from doing a Defensive Driving course. Let’s face it, when you first learn to drive, most people focus too much on their physical driving and not enough on what is happening around them. By completing a Defensive Driving course, people learn about the hazards they encounter when driving, even experienced drivers  who sometimes don’t apply these skills.

What are the benefits of doing a defensive driving course?

By completing a Defensive Driving course in 4 sessions (of 2 hours), you are interacting with other like-minded people and a facilitator.  Discussions, work-books, assignments are given, as well as brain-storming ideas in groups and providing feedback to one another.  A one-on-one practical driving lesson with an instructor is beneficial in consolidating all the theory you have learnt on the course.

Top 10 Defensive Driving Tips for NZ Drivers:

  • Maintain a safe following distance at all times
  • Adjust your speed to suit the conditions
  • Focus on your driving and don’t get distracted
  • Don’t drive if you are not up to it
  • Maintain a safe position on the road at all times
  • Make sure the vehicle you drive is in good condition
  • Have regular breaks on long trips
  • Make sure you are aware of your surroundings at all times
  • Look well ahead and anticipate situations well in advance
  • Always expect the unexpected

How to get the most out of your defensive driving course

To get the most out of your Defensive driving course you will want to interact with everyone and discuss relevant topics.  As part of the course you have to set yourself some “driving goals”. Making as many notes as you need to in your course logbook will enable you refer to them at a later date and refresh your memory, as one easily slips back into bad driving habits.  On the practical driving session, ask as many questions about your driving techniques and seek clarification if unsure.

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The Basic Steps to Getting Your NZ Drivers Licence

In order to drive legally in New Zealand, you will need to hold a valid driver’s licence. New Zealand has a graduated licensing system which means that there are several stages that one must pass through to become a fully licensed driver.

Stage 1 – Learner Drivers Licence

In order to apply for a Learner Licence you will need to be 16 years of age and fill out an application at a driver licensing agent. At the time of your application, you will need to present valid identification, proof of your address and book a time to complete a theory (written) test.

At the time of your learner licence application you will need to pay for your theory test and pass an eyesight test. You will also need to sign your application and have your photo taken.

You will need to complete a medical declaration which states that you safe to drive. If you have certain conditions which may affect your ability to drive safely, you may need to present a medical certificate completed by your doctor.

When you fill out your driver licence application form you will be asked if you would like to be an organ donor in the event of your death. Your driver licence cannot be produced until you select “Yes” or “No” on the application.

Organ donation saves countless lives every year but your organs cannot be harvested unless you provide the proper authorisation. If you choose "Yes" you will be automatically registered in the organ donor database. You should also discuss this decision with your family so they are aware of your wishes.

Your learner driver licence theory test is a test of your knowledge of the rules of the road. This ensures that you will become a safe driver.

The computerised test is comprised of 35 multiple choice questions and true/false answers which include road rules, safety practice and road hazards all relating to the licence you are applying for.

You need to get 32 out of 35 questions correct to pass.

When you are driving you must always carry your learner licence and must never drive alone. Your supervisor must be seated next to you in the front seat next to you and you must always display your learner plates (L) on the vehicle while you are driving.

The blue plastic learner licence is issued to any applicant who passes the learner’s test.

Stage 2 – Restricted Drivers Licence

Once you have held your learner licence for a minimum of six months you are eligible to apply for a restricted licence.

You will once again need to make a medical declaration, pass an eye exam and take a one hour practical test. You will need to apply for your restricted licence at a driver licensing agent and present valid identification and proof of address.
A restricted licence holder is only permitted to drive alone between 5 a.m. and 10 p.m. with certain passengers. If there is a supervisor in the front seat, passenger restrictions do not apply.

When you apply for your restricted drivers licence, you will need to book a time to undergo your restricted licence practical driving test and pay for the test and the application at the same time.

You will also need to provide your signature and have a photo taken. You also have the option of booking your testing online or by telephone, but you will need to show up at the testing branch thirty minutes prior to your test to fill out the appropriate documents and have your photograph taken.

Stage 3 – Full Drivers Licence

Once you have held your restricted driving licence for 18 months you are free to apply for a full licence. If you have completed a defensive driving course, you are eligible to apply for a restricted licence within 12 months. If you are 25 years of age or older, your restricted licence period is six months and only three months with the completed approved driving course. You need to be 18 years of age to apply for a full licence.

You will need to book a full drivers licence practical driving test which is thirty minutes in duration and pass it. As with a learner licence and restricted licence, you must present valid identification, proof of your address, pass an eye test, complete a medical declaration, sign the application and have your photo taken.

Once a full licence holder has held their licence for two years they become eligible to act as a supervisor for any person who holds a learner licence or a restricted licence. The full licence must be renewed every ten years until a driver reaches the age of 75. They will then need to renew their licence at age 80 and every two years after that in order to continue driving.

Each stage of the graduated licensing system has checks and balances to ensure that a driver is capable of driving and is safe on the road.

This ensures that no drivers get passed through that are not ready for the next licencing stage. If you have a medical condition that may affect your ability to operate a motor vehicle safely including:

  • Seizure disorder including epilepsy;
  • Cataracts, glaucoma;
  • Cognitive impairment;
  • Mental or nervous disorder
  • High blood pressure
  • Diabetes
  • Strokes

You will be required to obtain a medical certificate completed by your doctor to state that you are safe to operate a motor vehicle. Most doctors charge a fee for this certificate.

If you decide to take professional driving instruction, you are definitely making a good decision. Driving instruction from a professional can ensure that you are ready for any situation that driving presents to you.

It can shorten your waiting time between graduated licensing stages and gives you a solid foundation, making you a responsible and careful driver from the start.

Although driving lessons require an investment, think of it as an investment in your future that will help you to move through the graduated licensing stages more quickly and help you to become fully licensed in less time.

Professional driving instruction may also ensure that you are eligible for auto insurance discounts due to the fact that you have received proper driving instruction from a qualified professional.

Before you take any driving lessons be sure to check that the instructor you are considering is accredited with the transportation authority.

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Getting a Drivers Licence - Medical Requirements

Safety is one of the most important things to consider on the roads of New Zealand. It is extremely important that each and every driver is medically fit to drive and must prove that they are medically fit each time they apply for a driver licence, renew it or replace it.
For the most part, proving that you are medically fit simply means that you must declare any existing medical conditions.

If the licensing branch needs more proof, they may ask you to obtain a medical certificate from your doctor, if they believe it might affect your ability to operate a motor vehicle safely.

When A Medical Certificate Is Required
There are certain cases where a medical certificate is required:

  • If you suffer from a medical condition that could affect your ability to operate a motor vehicle safely;
  • If you are renewing your heavy vehicle licence or renewing it (class 2, 3, 4, 5) you must provide a medical certificate if you have not provided one within the preceding five years;
  • If the driver licensing branch asks you to provide one;
  • If you have a licence for passengers (P), driving instruction (I), vehicle recovery services (V) or testing officer (O) and you have not provided a medical certificate to the licensing branch within the preceding five years;
  • If you are 75 years of age or older;

Obtaining A Medical Certificate

Your NZ Transport Agency medical certificate must be completed by a medical practitioner registered in New Zealand.

Some doctors may charge you a fee to complete the form that you need and these costs differ from doctor to doctor.

Once you have the medical certificate completed, be sure to take it to the licensing branch as soon as possible, as it has a 60 day expiry.
The certificate must state that you are safe to drive, or it should set out the conditions that must be in place for you to be able to drive safely – for example – you need to wear prescription eyeglasses.

Eyesight Exams

Having your eyesight checked should be something that you do, as any prudent person would, at least once every two years. When it comes to renewing your driver’s licence, it is up to you to prove that your eyesight meets required standards.

The licensing agent will run a general eyesight screening check when you arrive to renew your licence. This test takes around 90 seconds and tests your peripheral vision and distance vision.
Optometrists can conduct the appropriate eye testing and issue a certificate that you can present to the licensing branch.

The cost of the certificate will vary between optometrists, but should be no older than 60 days and show that you have met the required safe driving standards.
If you normally wear glasses or contact lenses, this will be shown as a licence condition which means that you need to wear the glasses or contact lenses each time you drive.
When you see a doctor regarding your medical fitness to drive, they may want a second opinion if they have any concerns and may refer you to an occupational therapist to complete a driving assessment.

This assessment is generally a two-hour off-road assessment and a 60 minute on-road assessment, taken one after the other.

Once this has all been completed, the therapist will write a report and send it to your doctor. At this point, your doctor may then issue the medical certificate you require, but it may also have special conditions attached.

One example would be that your doctor recommends you only drive automatic transmission vehicles.

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Rules For The Restricted Driving Licence

The restricted driving licence is one of the two licences you will have to have held before you acquire a full driving licence in New Zealand.

It gives you a restricted right to drive on public roads so as to gain the skills and experience necessary for a full driving licence.

As the name suggests, this kind of driving licence comes with several restrictions to the driver. Unlike the full driving licence, there are a few things a holder of this licence is not allowed to do.

It is however not as restrictive as the learner licence and will afford the would-be driver a few privileges.

To acquire this licence you will need:

  1. To meet all the application requirements. You will be required to:
    • Present proof of identity
    • Prove your eyesight is good enough
    • Take a photograph and provide your signature
    • Pay the application fee.
  2. Book, pay and sit a practical exam.
  3. Pass the practical exam.

Once you have received your restricted driving licence, you will be allowed to drive on public roads under the following conditions:

  1. You can only drive unsupervised between 5am and 10pm.
  2. If you want to drive outside this time period, then you must be accompanied by a qualified supervisor.
  3. If your licence test was carried out in an automatic vehicle, then you are only allowed to drive an automatic unless a supervisor accompanies you.
  4. Carrying passengers is not allowed unless your supervisor is accompanying you and allows you to do so.

There are, however, a few exceptions to the no-passenger rule. You are allowed to carry a passenger without a supervisor if the passenger is:

  • Your partner or spouse.
  • Your guardian or parent.
  • A child under your care or that of your spouse.
  • A relative living with you who receives social benefits.
  • Someone to whom you are the primary caregiver.

Who Qualifies To Be Your Supervisor?

For a person to qualify as a supervisor, they must:

  1. Be holders of a full New Zealand licence for the class of vehicle you are training to drive.
  2. Have held the licence for a period of not less than 2 years.
  3. Are not required themselves to be under driving supervision.

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Steps To Getting Your Driver’s Licence In New Zealand

To some, acquiring a driving licence may be a step towards freedom while to others it may be a necessary work tool. Whatever the reason, there are necessary steps to be followed for you to finally get that driving licence and be able to drive legally in New Zealand.

Since being on the road poses a risk for both you and other drivers, it is important that you prove to the New Zealand Transport Agency (NZTA) that you have the adequate skills and physical capability to drive on public roads safely. The necessitated requirements ensure that you have the knowledge and skills to properly handle your vehicle.

The driver licencing system is divided into three stages, namely; learner, restricted and full. All stages have a test that you have to pass for you to move on to the next one: a theory test for you to start stage 1 and a practical driving test for stage 2 and three each. With the graduation to the next stage, a new driving licence is issued with different sets of requirements and responsibilities to match your new driving status.

The steps are as follows:

Step 1 – Learner Drivers Licence

This licence is necessary for all would-be drivers to allow them to drive on roads. The applicant must be at least 16 years of age in order to be eligible for this licence. To obtain the licence, you will be required to make an application to a licencing agent authorized by the NZTA.

You will need to:

  1. Satisfy all application requirements which include: presenting identification documents, proving your eyesight, have a photograph of yourself taken and then pay the required application fee.
  2. Pass the theory test provided by scoring at least the minimum points.
    The licence is not full and, therefore, comes with several conditions.
  3. A supervisor must accompany you at all times when you are driving.
  4. When you are training on a light motor vehicle, you can have passengers on board if your supervisor allows.
  5. ‘L’ plates obtained from a licencing agent must be displayed at the front and rear of the vehicle you are driving. 
  6. For a moped, you are not required to have a supervisor with you but you must display the learner plates and only ride between 10am and 5pm.

The learner licence is valid for a period of five years during which you can drive on roads and gain the necessary knowledge and skills to help you pass the test for the next stage. If the licence expires before you move on to the next stage, you will be required to take another theory test for the licence to be renewed.

Step 2- Restricted Driving Licence

For this licence, you will have to be at least 16 ½ in age and must have had your learner licence for a period not less than six months. To get this licence, you must:

  1. Meet the application requirements similar to those required for the learner permit.
  2. Book, take and pass a practical test.

As the name suggests, this type of licence has restrictions which must be adhered to at all times. The following restrictions are provided:

  • Driving hours are between 5am and 10pm.
    A supervisor must accompany you if you are driving outside the allowed hours.
  • If you used an automatic vehicle for your test, then the licence only allows you to drive automatic vehicles unless you are accompanied by a supervisor.
  • Passengers are not allowed unless you are accompanied by a supervisor.

This condition however does have exceptions. They include: spouses, parents or guardians, children under your care, relatives living with you who are recipients of social benefits, and people to whom you are the primary care giver.

Like the learner’s licence, the restricted licence is only valid for five years. If the licence expires before you get the full driving licence, you will have to take a theory test for another one to be issued.

Step 3- Full Drivers Licence

For drivers under the age of 25, you must be over the age of 18 and had a restricted licence for a period not shorter than 18 months.

Presenting an approved certificate for an advanced driving course will slash 6 months out of the required restricted-licence period of 18 months.

For drivers over the age of 25, you must have had your restricted licence for at least 6 months before you are eligible for a full licence.

If you have an advanced driving course certificate, the period reduces by half to 3 months. Advanced driving courses include defensive driving and Street Talk.

To obtain a full driving licence, you have to apply from a licencing agent and must:

  1. Satisfy all requirements provided by the NZTA (similar in all licence levels).
  2. Book, sit and pass the practical test for the full licence.

The full licence eliminates all restrictions placed by other licences and also allows you to drive both automatic and manual vehicles regardless of the vehicle you used for your test.

Other Important details include:

  1. Identification documents- Evidence of your identity must be provided each time you apply for a driving licence regardless of the stage. A current New Zealand passport will suffice. If you don’t have one, a New Zealand birth certificate accompanied by a student ID, utility bill or 18+ card will do. Name change must also be proved with supporting documents.
  2. Eyesight checks can be done by the licencing agent or a certified medical practitioner or optometrist.
  3. A driving supervisor must; hold a valid New Zealand driver licence for the class you are training for, have held their full licence for more than 2 years and are not required to be under supervision themselves.

To improve your chances of passing your practical tests for the restricted and full driving licence, get lessons from a professional driving instructor who will guide and help you prepare for the test.

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Do You Have To Do A Three Point Turn In The Driving License Test?

In a restricted driving license test, you’re usually asked to perform a reverse parallel park. If there aren’t any suitable spots to perform the manoeuvre, however, the testing officer might instead ask you to perform a three-point turn; this gets a lot of people worried. The trick to doing a perfect three-point turn is to get adequate practise. Your testing officer will be evaluating you on:

  • Signalling: Make sure you indicate for a minimum of 3 seconds any time you need to let other drivers know what you are doing i.e. before pulling over to the kerb and before pulling out to start the manoeuvre.
  • Car positioning: Make sure your car is no more than 30 cm from the kerb when you’re pulling over and ensure you don’t hit the kerb at any time when performing the manoeuvre. Make sure to move forward and position your vehicle correctly on the road once you finish the reverse movement.
  • Observation: Practise the good habits you have learnt around looking for hazards and scanning the road. Check your rear, both directions, and over your shoulder when necessary to ensure safety.
  • Location: Don’t stop in an illegal or unsafe place when making the turn, such as in front of a driveway or on yellow lines. You also can’t enter driveways or any other private property when turning.
  • Proficiency: Make the turn in under 2 minutes and ensure the manoeuvre is an actual ‘three-point turn’ i.e. don’t move across the road more than once.

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5 Ways To Fail Your Drivers License Test

No matter how old you are, taking a driving test can be a terrifying and stressful experience. And although a lot of people will pass the test on their first attempt, a significant number will also fail the exam. Failing the driving test does not necessarily mean that you’re not a good driver, sometimes the stress makes even the best fail on their first attempt.

Driving licence tests not only focus on an individual’s ability to drive a car but also on their awareness of the things happening around them. This is where the problems arise as nerves creep in and make remembering even the simplest of things difficult for many people. It’s not surprising to find a student who did well in class failing their driving test exam because of simple mistakes.

The easiest way to make sure that you pass your driving license exam is to understand some of the common reasons why people fail and work on these areas. Sounds easy, right? But the number of learners that keep repeating these easily avoidable mistakes, is staggering.

That is why we have put together a list of the five most common mistakes that will make you fail your test.

1. Use of mirrors. This is something simple that is often forgotten by would-be drivers. Once learners get behind the wheel, they forget one of the most important rules of driving: mirrors are to be used at all times and especially when changing direction, speed and overtaking. If you are not sure if you should check your mirrors, check them just in case. As they say: better safe than sorry.

2. Incorrect positioning. Make sure your vehicle is always in the correct lane especially at roundabouts and avoid rolling forwards over the white line at intersections. Ask your driving instructor to take you through a refresher course if you don’t feel confident enough about this.

3. Driving speed. Most people worry so much about speeding that they end up driving too slowly. What most learners don’t know is that driving slowly can be just as bad as speeding. The speed you use during your driving license test is crucial, so make sure to throw a glance at the dashboard every once in a while, to ensure that you maintain the appropriate speed.

4. Steering control. There are some other times when confidence can cause your downfall during a driving test. Some drivers are so confident that they forget how to properly handle the wheel. Make sure you grip the wheel with both your hands at all times and make hand-over-hand turns releasing from the turn with controlled spillage. Never hold the wheel with one hand. 

5. Changing lanes. Changing lanes improperly during a driving test could cost you your license. Make sure to indicate first, check your mirrors and blind spot before switching lanes. Make sure to also watch out for the traffic in front of you and maintain the speed you are moving at.

These are the five most common mistakes that would-be drivers make during their driving licence exams which result in failure. Pay attention and practice on this and your chances of passing will significantly increase.

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Learner Driver Beware: 10 Common Mistakes

Driving, just like any other skill, requires time to be perfected. It is thus common for learner drivers to make mistakes in their first few months before they get enough experience.

There are a few driving mistakes that most learners keep repeating over and over again. We will list them so that you can try to avoid them next time you are out on the road.

  1. Changing lanes without looking. This is extremely dangerous and could lead to a serious accident. You should check your mirrors before switching to another lane.
  2. Speeding. Don’t try to drive as fast as other motorists on the road if you do not have enough experience. It can be dangerous if you cannot bring your car to a halt quickly and safely.
  3. Getting distracted. Distractions such as fiddling with vehicle electronics, phone calls or texting can keep you from noticing and responding to dangerous situations on the road. Avoid them.
  4. Maintaining the wrong following distance. New drivers often overestimate their ability to stop their vehicle in time. Make sure you always maintain a large enough safety margin between you and the car ahead.
  5. Not wearing the seat belt. A seat belt could sometimes decide who survives a crash and who doesn’t. Make sure you always wear your belt for safety.
  6. Forgetting to indicate. New drivers often forget to signal when making turns and switching lanes. Make sure you indicate during these two situations to avoid accidents.
  7. Driving tired.  Drowsiness decreases your awareness and delays your reaction time which could result in accidents. If you are struggling to stay awake, let someone else drive.
  8. Braking sharply. Learner drivers find it difficult to judge the time it will take them to stop and when to start braking. Braking sharply does not give the driver behind you enough time to adjust his/her speed and this could result in an accident. Make sure you always brake gently.
  9. Not stopping at stop signs. Many learner drivers don’t stop at the stop sign. This could be dangerous to you and other motorists. Make sure you obey all the road signs.

10.  Incorrect positioning. Always make sure that your car remains inside the lane you are using especially around bends. Make sure you do not go too far into the road.

It might seem like a lot to remember right now but if you keep practicing, all these things will become instinctive.

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The New Zealand Driving Test: Top Fail Areas

New Zealand has the highest death rate on the roads for the age group 16 – 17 and the fourth highest for the age group 18 – 20 out of countries in the OECD.

Graduated licensing has become the norm and the New Zealand Driving Test for learner drivers has become tougher.

For those learner drivers who book a road test and then worry about failing, they have the option of cancelling or rescheduling their road test booking without penalty or cost.

However, learner drivers who take the test and fail will have to pay another $86.60 to re-take the road test.

Hundreds Fail New Zealand Drivers License Test

The tough new learner licence test makes it harder for hopeful driving students to become legal on the road. Figures from the New Zealand Transport Agency show that the pass rate of 80% which was the norm for the old driving test has fallen to just 39% with the new test. So, what are some of the most common causes of failure among these students?

The NZTA cites “critical errors” as the main reason and these can be a wide variety of things from speed to checking or not checking mirrors. Here are some of the most common errors that are causing young drivers are failing the New Zealand Driving Test:

  1. Inconsistent mirror use before signalling;
  2. Driving too slowly;
  3. Driving too fast;
  4. Failing to look around carefully (check all mirrors) or signal appropriately before changing lanes or turning;
  5. Failure to proceed on a green light;
  6. Vehicle is not road worthy (this can be anything from bald tires to a burned out tail light and the examiner will conduct a pre-test inspection of your vehicle;
  7. Tailgating – leave sufficient space between your vehicle and the one in front of you (at least three seconds’ worth);
  8. Failing to give way;
  9. Not coming to a full stop at a stop sign; and
  10. Not doing a proper head check MISM – mirrors, indication, shoulder movement.

The new road test is substantially more challenging and has been designed in such a way that the learner driver must put in the full 120 hours of supervised practice if they expect to pass the test.

The previous test had placed a focus on skills such as three point turns and while those are still part of the new testing, more focus is placed on the anticipation of driving hazards.

The NZTA is trying to reduce the large number of young people being killed on the roadways.

Unfortunately, people believe that they have the right skill level and abilities based on the old test and are much less prepared than they should be.

A sharp drop in pass rates occurred when new restricted tests were introduced. There is no doubt that the updated New Zealand driving test demands a much higher driving standard for drivers to pass the test.

Many young drivers are intimidated when faced with the new testing and many say that they are terrified because they know if they fail they might not be able to afford further testing for a while.

New practical tests have specifically been designed to be tougher so that the roads will be safer. As a result, any learner drivers will need to clock a minimum of 120 hours of supervised driving practice before they proceed to take the test.

In short, the new test is a lot more challenging and those who want to take the test need to ask themselves if they are really ready to take the test before they book it.

Students need to be honest with themselves and put in the hard work and at least 120 hours of supervised practice in order to be ready to pass.

The NZTA says that those young drivers who have completed the 120 hours of supervised practice under their learner permit have a crash rate that is 40% lower than that of learner drivers who complete 50 hours.

These are the types of drivers that they want on the roads because they have more experience and knowledge and are not a hazard on the roadways.

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Top 5 Tips to Passing Your Driving Test

When it comes time to take your driving test it can be very exciting: full of apprehension and excitement. Getting ready for this moment is something that you have been working on for many months, and one single test determines if you are ready to become fully licensed or not.

What you do during your road test will determine if you get your driver’s licence, so the test itself can be very nerve wracking.

Here are five tips to help you to pass your road test with flying colours and get your licence:

  • Before you get into your car, take a quick look around at the tyres and check to see that the indicators are working. When you get into the car with the driving instructor there are many things that you must do before you start the car. Check the position of your mirrors and adjust them. Turn the car radio off and adjust your seat. Fasten your seatbelt and ask the driving instructor to fasten their seatbelt too. The instructor will be looking for all of these things.
  • As you start to drive, pay very close attention to the speed that you drive. You must obey the posted speed limit on any road that you are on. If you enter a zone with a lower speed limit, you must obey that speed limit imediately. Failure to observe and obey posted speed limit signs and any other road signs can be a reason for the driving instructor to fail you immediately. Stay within the posted speed limit at that exact speed or a few km/h under it.
  • Whether you are stopping at a red light or a stop sign or a give way intersection, you must apply the brake slowly, giving yourself plenty of time to slow down on your approach to the intersection. If you slam on the brakes or make a sudden stop, this will be a cause for demerits and you are only allowed to lose so many points during your road test before you are automatically failed.
  • Whether you are planning to make a left or right turn, you have to use your indicator. If you do not use those indicators, it will be another reason for you to lose points. When you make turns you need to look very carefully in every direction to ensure that the way is clear. Slow down to make a safe turn, but do not slow down too much. As you make the turn, start to accelerate on the other end of it. As you change lanes, check all of your blind spots and turn your indicator on to let other drivers know of your intentions. When the way is clear, move into the lane you want to be in.
  • During your driving test you will be asked to parallel park your vehicle. So it is important to have practised this carefully to ensure that you are able to complete it properly during a driving test. You need to be one metre from the rear of the car in front and back up while looking behind you. Turn your head to look behind you and use your mirrors. Pull into the spot carefully and adjust the vehicle as much as you need to. Take care not to bump the curb or you will lose points.

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How to Fail Your Drivers License Test

Taking your driving test can be a very stressful event. First of all, you are concerned about passing and second, you do not know what to expect from the test or the examiner who will be conducting the test.

If you have been practicing your driving skills and have clocked up the recommended number of hours, then you should be fully prepared and ready for your test.

If you are not ready, then you run the risk of failing your driving test.

Here are some things that may cause you to fail your driving licence test:

  1. Drive too fast or too slow. You must observe the speed limit while driving, and adjust your speed accordingly. Driving too fast (speeding) is an automatic fail. Driving too slow can present a danger to you or others on the roadways. You should have the confidence to bring the vehicle up to the correct posted speed limit when you are driving.
  2. Don't check your mirrors before changing lanes. It is important to follow the procedures for a safe lane change every time you change lanes. The examiner will ask you to change lanes during the driving test and you will need to first check your mirrors and then do a shoulder check to look at the blind spot before you turn on your indicator and move over to the next lane.
  3. Turn on the radio, chew gum and bring your cell phone. When the examiner gets to your car, you may get an automatic fail if you have any distractions such as music, food or your cell phone. Ask the examiner to put on his safety belt and do not turn the radio on. Turn your cell phone off and put it away and get rid of any food or beverage in your vehicle. Distractions can cause you to automatically fail your test.
  4. Do something that causes another driver on the road to take defensive action. If you pull out into traffic without looking or do something else that nearly causes an accident, you will automatically fail your driving test. The reason is that you have put another driver into danger and caused them to do something to avoid a collision with you, which may have in turn caused them to be involved in a collision.
  5. Do something illegal. One of the most common driver test fails is when the test subject does not come to a complete stop at a stop sign. Rolling through a stop sign is an automatic fail, so stop at every intersection and use caution at all give-way intersections. Study all of the rules of the road and learn who has the right to go first and make certain that you follow those rules.
  6. Examiner needs to take the wheel. If you almost caused a collision or caused some other dangerous situation where the instructor was forced to take the wheel to avoid that situation, you can be assured that you have just failed your driver’s test.

Keep in mind that you will have to pay the examination fee for each test that you take. Make sure that you are ready before you book your driving test.

Being ready, means you know the rules of the road, how to control your car, and you have the confidence to drive the vehicle in any situation.

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Booking the Restricted Licence Test. How Do I Know I'm Ready?

It’s not the actual driving that excites most would-be drivers when they are taking driving lessons, it’s the prospect of freedom that they will get once they get their driving licence. When you have a driving licence you have the freedom to go wherever you want at a time that is convenient for you. This makes scheduling your activities much easier as you do not have to rely on other people, say your parents, to drive you around.

There are a few hurdles that you will have to face before you can get your “freedom”. These hurdles come in the form of driving tests. To ensure both your safety and that of other road users, the government through the New Zealand Transport Agency (NZTA) needs to make sure that you will not endanger your life and that of others once they allow you to drive on public roads – hence the tests.

The first test that a would-be driver has to take is for the learner licence. This one is quite easy as it only tests the theoretical part of driving. With this licence you can then begin training for your restricted licence exam that will allow you to drive unsupervised under most conditions. The second exam is where things start getting a bit difficult as you will be required to prove to your examiner that you can handle a vehicle safely on public roads. If poorly timed you could fail the practical test which will cost you both time and money. So the big question is, how do you know you are ready to sit the exam?

Before we answer this question, let us take a look at what the NTZA requires from you before you’re allowed to sit the test. You must:

  1. Be aged 16 ½ years or older
  2. Have a current learner licence
  3. Have had your learner licence for at least six months.

If you meet all of these requirements, then you are ready – according to the transport agency – to sit your restricted licence practical test. But this is only a guideline, it will not take everyone six months to get ready for a test – some people will take longer while others might take a shorter time.

How to find out if you are ready for the restricted driving licence test

As I mentioned, everyone learns at their own pace, so don’t feel pressured to take the restricted licence exam before you feel you are ready.

The best way to know if you are ready for a test (any test) is to test yourself. Better yet, have someone with more experience test you. Ask your driving instructor to prepare a mock test for you so that you can gauge yourself. Mock tests are perfect for testing whether you are ready for the real thing without the risk of “real” failure. This test should be as near to the real thing as possible. Use the route used by the examiners during the actual test and if possible do the test at the same time of day as the actual test takes place. This will not only help you know if you’re ready but build your confidence.

At A1 Driving, we not only impart the skills that you need to drive safely on the road but also help you prepare for your exam. Our instructors will evaluate you and give a thumbs up when you are ready so that you can ace your test on the first attempt.

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New To NZ? Getting Your Licence, What You Need To Know

If you've recently moved to New Zealand from another country, you're most likely going to want to get a licence. Thankfully, if you already have a licence from your home country, you can most likely get it converted and save you a lot of time and money learning anew. Below lists all the information you'll need about overseas licence conversions.

Is Your Licence Valid?

First of all, you have to of course have a valid licence. This means your licence for your home country must not be expired, suspended or revoked. If it is expired, you can still be apply, provided it was within the last 12 months.

Where Do I Go?

There are three places you can go to apply for overseas drivers licence conversions: the Automobile Association, Vehicle Testing New Zealand, and Vehicle Inspection New Zealand. A branch of any of these will go through the application process with you.

What Do You Need To Bring?

When going in to apply for your conversion, you have to take in your passport or some proof of identity (other than your licence) and you will also need your overseas licence. You will need to prove your current address. Once you arrive you will complete the application form. You can pick one of these up prior to going in to apply and fill it out beforehand. If your licence is not written in English you will have to also bring along an approved translation.

What Happens When I Get There?

When you have provided your information and documents a licensing agent will begin to process the application. They will check all the information and identification supplied, take a photograph for your new licence and get your new signature. Your eyesight will also be tested and if they feel it is needed you will undergo some theory or practical tests for your driving.

What About My Age?

You will only be able to apply for a licence conversion to a licence in the correct age group. You have to abide by New Zealand's age requirements so if you fall below the category you have already because of age you will be dropped to that category. For instance, if you are 17 and on your full licence overseas, you will not be able to have a full licence in New Zealand and will be dropped to a restricted one.

Will I Have To Take A Test

This depends on what country you are from. You must know all the road rules for New Zealand so if there are many differences in the laws of your country and here you will have to take a test to prove your competence. If the road rules are fairly similar you may not have to. These tests are also available in multiple languages so if you are not confident in your English you can take the theory test in another language.

As long as you take the right steps and have a little patience you should be able to drive on New Zealand roads, no matter what country you came from originally.

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