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Their first 6-12 months of driving alone are the most risky


Your young driver is more likely to crash on their restricted licence than at any other time in their life. This section explains some key things you can do to stay involved and help keep them safe.

Stay involved

You have years of driving experience and that amounts to lots of wisdom to share. Even though you're not always in the car with them, you can still stay involved in their safety by:

  • helping your young driver identify the risks they might face

  • working with them to manage those risks safely

  • driving with them when they first encounter new (and potentially risky) situations, such as in heavy traffic, on new routes, in wet weather and when there's poor light.

Practical tips

The restricted licence phase is about building on the experience and skills from the learner licence phase. There are some simple things you can do to help your young driver achieve this.

Regularly check up on how their driving is going. Keep an eye on their speed, acceleration and road position.

Help them practise anticipating and responding to hazards. Focus on hazards that may be hidden, for example, when large vehicles obscure other vehicles or pedestrians that may appear without warning.

Show them how to read changeable road conditions (rain, poor light, different road surfaces).

Give them supervised driving practice at night and while carrying passengers.

Help them know what to do when unexpected events occur on the road.

Talk to them about the risks of driving when tired, sick, distracted or emotional.

Help them develop strategies to avoid pressure to drive and manage distractions like loud music, gadgets and food.

Help them plan their route if they're driving to a place for the first time, and encourage them to take breaks.

Consider setting some ground rules around driving that you all agree to stick to – this could include picking them up if they don't feel safe to drive for any reason.

Choosing a car for your young driver

If you have more than one car available, give them the safest car to drive whenever possible. They'll benefit the most from the enhanced safety features.

It's best for them to use a family car while they build their experience so you can manage safe access to it, but if you're helping to choose a car for your young driver, go for the safest one you can afford. You can find more information on the Rightcar website,(external link) including used car safety ratings(external link).

Make sure they know about basic car safety. It will be useful if anything goes wrong, but it will also help them build good safe habits around proactively looking after the car they drive.

Why there are conditions for restricted licence holders

Restricted drivers are not allowed to drive between 10pm and 5am or carry passengers (with some exceptions) unless they have a supervisor with them.

The conditions of the restricted licence are based on a wealth of research and analysis, and they specifically address the driving behaviours which most put young people at risk of crashing.

Young drivers are over-represented in fatal and serious crashes, and the risk of crashing increases when driving unsupervised, carrying passengers or driving alone late at night.

Find out more about the restricted licence conditions

Preparing for the full licence test

The full licence test is about making sure that drivers have maintained the driving skills needed to pass the restricted test, and that they haven't picked up any bad habits.  It's also about checking that they are considerate of the other people on the road.

What to expect in the full licence test

Watch our video about what to expect in the full licence test. 

For further information on the full licence test click on the  links below: