How to prepare for the VicRoads Drive Test

After doing all the on road learning and the hard work behind the wheel, finally the day of your VicRoads drive test has come to show your safe driving skills and start driving independently after getting your P's. Completely understandable that you are under pressure in this situation but the key to success is staying calm and implementing all you have learnt so far practically in your drive test by ensuring the safety of yourself, the passengers (LTO and Driving Instructor) in the car and the other road users including pedestrians. Below is the detailed guide on the preparation and the process that you as a learner will be undertaking to move onto your P's and all the information you need for your VicRoads Drive Test on the day of assessment.

What do I need to know to pass my Vic Roads driving test?

Its very important to come prepared for the drive test so that you are not taken away by any surprises on the day. The following information will assist you with the driving test criteria and what is required of you to pass this test. 

What tests must I pass before sitting for the VicRoads Drive Test?

You will need to pass the following tests:

  • A computerised hazard perception test (HPT) where you will be required to identify road hazards on videos of simulated driving conditions. All candidates undertaking the drive test need to pass the HPT before attempting the drive test. The HPT is valid until one year from the date of assessment so do ensure that the HPT has not expired.

  • An eye test - on the day you will be asked to read the chart from a distance to ensure that your eyesight is correct. Do ensure to wear your specs or lens in case you have been prescribed by an optometrist. 

  • A practical driving test which is 30 to 35 minutes in duration. This includes a pre-drive check.

 

What will I need to bring on the day of Drive Test?

You will need to bring the following:

  • Proof of your identity and proof of your current address.

  • Appointment number and/or appointment receipt.

  • A currently registered, roadworthy vehicle in clean condition, maintaining a comfortable temperature and fitted with ‘L’ plates. You can use instructors vehicle for the drive test and at Safe N Smart Driving School all our vehicles have a safety rating of 5 starts and fitted with reverse cameras. 

  • Payment for your licence (check Vic roads website for all their current licence fees.) Overseas applicants must also provide proof of their overseas licence, which must be accompanied by English translation, for example, an International Driver Permit. If not, an English translation by a qualified translator is required. Overseas applicants must also show another proof of identification that may be their passport. 

  • Logbook complete with 120 hours. Not applicable for anyone over 21years of age.

 

Vic Roads Drive Test Criteria

During the driving test, the testing officer(LTO) will give you simple, clear instructions such as “At the next street, turn left.” If you are unsure of any instruction then do not hesitate to ask the LTO to repeat the instruction. . While you are driving the LTO will me marking you for the assigned tasks in the manner below: 

  • YES when you do something correctly

  • NO when you do not do something correctly

  • N/A if road or traffic conditions mean you cannot perform the expected behaviour 

Your driving skills will be assessed against a performance checklist for which you must get a YES for at least 80% to pass the test and obtain your licence. The performance list is as follows:

Pre-Drive Safety Check

Before the Drive Test begins the LTO will direct the applicant to perform a pre-drive safety check. You must know where these controls are and how to use them:

  • turn Indicators both left and right alternatively

  • brake lights

  • beep the horn

  • turn the headlights on – both high/low beam

  • hazard lights

  • windscreen washers and wipers

  • the applicant is required to identify the handbrake, front and the rear demisters where fitted. *

If the applicant fails to satisfy the requirements stated from 1-6 or any of these controls are not in proper working order, the test cannot proceed. If it becomes necessary to use one of these controls during the VicRoads Drive Test and the applicant requires assistance to operate the control, an Immediate Termination Error (Intervention) is recorded. 

 

What will you be assessed for during your VicRoads Drive Test?

 

During the VicRoads Drive Test you will be assessed if you can perform the following actions safely and legally in a range of traffic conditions:

  • Right and left turns at different types of intersections

  • Lane changes to the left and the right

  • Merging with other traffic

  • Reverse parallel parking and a three point turn

  • Driving along straight or curved roads in different traffic conditions

 

You can drive in different traffic and road conditions without committing any serious safety errors such as:

  • Colliding with the kerb when driving

  • Causing a near miss with other cars or road users

  • Exceeding the speed limit at any time

  • Causing other road users to avoid a collision by failing to signal, observe, or give way

  • Driving through a Stop sign or red traffic light

  • Stopping the car in an unsafe position

  • Driving too slowly for the conditions

  • Failing to look or signal

  • Blocking a pedestrian crossing

  • Allowing a wheel to mount the kerb when parking or leaving a parking space

  • Failing to come to a complete stop, in the correct position, at a Stop sign

  • A serious safety error could result in immediate termination of the test and a fail being recorded

 

During the drive, your testing officer (L.T.O) will check that you do the following:

  • Observation – observing the traffic and road conditions around you while undertaking the VicRoads drive test is very important. Safe driving is all about observations and reacting in a safe and timely manner. Forward planning is very important while diving so that you are aware of other road users and road conditions at all times. During the VicRoads Drive Test, you will be assessed for using head checks and mirrors as well as looking ahead of your car and observing behind your car when demonstrating low speed manoeuvres.

  • Signal use – when being directed by the Licence Testing Officer (LTO), the learner drivers are expected to follow the simple instructions like turning left/right. When being directed, the learner drivers must communicate their intentions to other road users by using your signals correctly and in a timely manner. The expectation is that the car users must at least give a notice of five clicks of the indicator before turning into streets or doing a lane change so that the traffic around is aware of your intentions of turning. 

  • Gap selection – the learner drivers must  choose the first safe gap when moving into traffic while performing a lane change or turning from a give way/stop position. When being instructed by the LTO  to perform a lane change when it is safe to do so) the learner driver must keep looking for the safe gap and move in only when it safe to do so. In case the cars behind are not making any place to move in, the learner driver must continue straight until there is a safe gap and at the same time if there is a safe gap, the learner driver must take that opportunity to do the lane change while missing on the opportunity. The same applies while turning from a give way or a stop sign, the safe gap selection should be made without missing on the opportunity. 

  • Safe speed – the learner drivers at all the times must follow the speed limits in the area they are driving. It is very important to look for the speed limit signs as soon as you turn from one major street/road to the other as the speed limits might have changed. At the same time the learner drivers must remember that in the built up residential areas the speed limit is 50kmph unless stated otherwise. Learner drivers must always drive under the speed limit but not too slowly as well at the same time. That is, you choose a safe, efficient speed depending on traffic, road and weather conditions. The best practice is to be 5kmph below the speed limit to give you the margin of error especially in tough situations like doing a lane change when you are concentrating hard to pick up a safe gap. 

  • Following distance – a learner driver must always leave a safe distance from the car in front of your car. The safe following distance can be stated as a 3 second gap from the vehicle in front while travelling on a straight stretch. The following distance will increase depending on the traffic and weather conditions i.e. in case the conditions are wet, add on an extra second to allow more time to cope up with the poor visibility and wet road conditions. 

  • Lateral positioning of the vehicle  – the LTO's will be assessing during the drive test that you choose the safest lane to drive in, steer a smooth path, and always stay within your own lane. The positioning of the vehicle is important to ensure that you do not obstruct the oncoming vehicles and always stay on your side of the road while driving. When turning, you must drive in the correct lane or position on the road and follow all road markings and traffic lane arrows. Your car must travel entirely within the lane markings of the correct lane or in the correct lane of traffic. 

  • Stop Position –  during the drive test, the learner drivers are expected to stop the car fully in the correct position when at stop signs, traffic signals, and pedestrian crossings. The expectation is to completely stop for 3 seconds without the car rolling behind the solid line. You must stop the car within 2 metres of the stop line at a stop sign. You must not stop with the front wheels on or in front of the stop line. If there is no stop line, you must stop as close as practical to, but before the stop sign or intersection. You must be bring the car to a complete stop for 3 seconds and the car should not be rolling slowly when at a stop sign. 

  • Control – the drivers undertaking the drive test are expected to be in full control of the car at all times and can drive smoothly. You must control the vehicle correctly using the steering wheel, gears and clutch (manual transmission) brakes, accelerator and proper handbrake usage.

  • Mirrors - you must check the mirrors ( internal & external ) immediately before signalling and before braking. You must use your external and internal mirrors while lane changing and also while doing the slow manoeuvres i.e. three point turn and reverse parallel parking. Mirrors should be scanned constantly at regular intervals to be aware of the traffic conditions around you.

  • Lane Change - before merging or diverging into traffic or changing lanes, you must indicate, check the mirrors and do a head check(blind spot) by turning your head and looking through the appropriate side window to check for other road users in your blind spots. You must maintain a safe gap while doing a lane change and must not force yourself into the other lane when the gap is not safe enough. You must not slow down and become a hazard to other road users when you are doing a lane change.

  • Judgement - at intersections, you must slow down, look in the correct direction(s) and react correctly to other vehicles and pedestrians. At the same time if the vehicles in front are slowing down and you can see their brake lights, then smooth braking should be applied in timely manner rather than harsh last minute brakes.

The VicRoads Drive Test is conducted in 2 stages, Stage I and Stage II. Stage one does contain low speed manoeuvres i.e. reverse parallel parking or three point turn. The candidate must perform this task to pass the Stage I of the Drive Test. Below is a brief description of both the tasks and what will you be assessed for while performing these low speed  manoeuvres. This aspect of the assessment will test your control of the car at low speed including the reverse parallel parking or the three point U-turn. The candidate will be asked to do one of these two during your driving assessment:

 

Reverse Parallel Parking

You will be required to pull up next to a legally parked vehicle and asked to reverse into the space behind the vehicle.

You must:

  • Indicate left to make the traffic behind aware of your intentions to reverse park

  • Look in the direction of travel before and during reversing

  • Check the mirrors and an external head check to have a 360 degree view around you before reversing

  • Finish with the front and rear wheel within 300mm of the kerb and be between 1 and 2 metres from the car in front

  • Not reverse back further than 7 metres from the vehicle in front

  • Use no more than 4 and no less than 2 movements to enter the space and no more than 4 to leave it

  • Must complete the task within 2 minutes

  • Do not hit the kerb heavily to cause discomfort to the vehicle occupants

  • Do not allow any wheel to mount of the kerb while parking

  • Signal and do a head check before leaving the space

 

Three Point Turn

You will be asked to make a three point turn (turn your car around) on a road which is not as wide as your car’s turning circle. You should be able to complete this manoeuvre in three movements:

You must:

  • Put on your left signal before stopping at the kerb

  • Position your car parallel to and within 300mm of the kerb before starting the turn

  • Put on your right signal before leaving the kerb

  • Look in both directions before commencing the turn i.e. perform a head check before starting to move to the other side of the kerb

  • Proceed across the road to the opposite kerb

  • Look in both directions and an internal head check through rear window before reversing

  • Look in the direction of travel before and during reversing

  • Signal right (optional) after reversing, look in both directions before moving off

What are immediate failures?

You will be failed immediately if you do anything deemed illegal or unsafe. For example:

 

Driving In Traffic 

  • Red traffic control signal

  • Stop sign and/or stop line

  • School crossing with the flags or signs displayed when any pedestrian is on the crossing

 

Position after stopping:

If you stop at a location that placed another road user in a dangerous situation.

 

Colliding with: 

  • Another vehicle

  • A pedestrian

  • An object such as rubbish bin or pole placed on or near the road

 

Dangerous actions such as: 

  • Requiring emergency braking or swerving by another driver, or dodging by a pedestrian to prevent collision

  • Requiring your instructor or testing officer to come to your aid in controlling the car

  • Driving any wheel over the kerb or onto the footpath

  • Committing any driving fault which causes immediate danger to any person or property

  • Lack of control to the point where the testing officer believes continuing the assessment would be dangerous

  • Improper action causing collision of other vehicles in the immediate vicinity

 

Speed Limits

Exceeding 5kph over the speed limit.

  • Driving over the speed limit for more than 5 consecutive seconds from when speeding is verified.

  • Speeding during school times at marked school zones.

 

Slow Driving

  • Driving too slowly without reason continuously for more than 10km/h under the speed limit.

 

Intervention 

  • When the LTO or Driving Instructor has to take control or intervene to avoid a dangerous situation. 

 

Completion of the Test

On completion of the test, you will be given a copy of your results. The LTO will go through the Improvement Needed/Feedback section and will identify your strengths and your weaknesses. This feedback will provide you with the opportunity to further improve your driving skills by concentrating your efforts on those weaker areas. A critical error that may have been recorded will be explained out to you for further improvement. 

For more information on how to pass and prepare for your VicRoads Drive Test in the first attempt , please ask our experienced trainers at Safe N Smart Driving School. Alternatively for more information on the Drive Test and Test Centres locations you can visit the VicRoads website.

Conclusion

Getting the P's is what every young learner driver dreams about the moment they get their learner permit so that they can enjoy the freedom behind the wheel and can move around freely without being dependant on anyone else. From L to P's is a long journey that every young learner driver is a part of and there is a lot of hard work and time involved in preparation by yourself and your supervising drivers as well. Undertaking a drive test can be challenging but at the same time its a matter of being calm and demonstrate your safe driving behaviours what you have learnt during your valued journey from L to P's. The above article is just a step to help all the young leaner drivers and share my knowledge on how to prepare for the Vic Roads Drive Test and be ready for the most important day that every young learner driver dreams of.