Could you pass the learner driver's test?

Getting a driver’s licence is considered by many Australians as a rite of passage into adulthood but before you can get on the road, you need to pass one crucial test.

Once you turn 16, a Drivers’ Knowledge test is the one thing standing between you and some brand new L-plates.

No matter what state you’re in, the test is largely the same. In NSW, for instance, there are 600 possible questions in the test which reflect the information contained in the Road User Handbook.

The questions wannabe drivers need to know relate to licences, road safety, safe driving practices, road rules, vehicle registration requirements and penalties.

For experienced motorists they might seem easy, even obvious and common sense should get you through most of them – but you could get caught out. The pass rate for the Driver Knowledge Test is approximately 70 per cent in NSW.

Learner driving test NSW

Among the roughly 45 questions in the general knowledge section, there might be one that gives you pause for thought.

For instance, do you know the answer to this?

Q: If your vehicle is involved in an accident (regardless of the damage), what details must you give to the other driver(s), if asked?

a) No details at all until you have contacted you insurance company.

b) Only your name and address details if a policeman asks for them.

c) You must let them see your licence, take details, and give the name and address of the vehicle’s owner.

Common sense should prevail here.

What about this one, do you know the meaning of this road sign?

Q: If you are driving through a road work zone in the left hand lane and you see this sign you should - 

You should be able to figure this one out too.

a) Speed up to get in front of any cars travelling in the right hand lane. 

b) Merge to the right and give way to other traffic 

c) Stop and wait for directions 

How about this situation?

Q: When you see the headlights flashing on the front of a bus, what should you do?

a) Be careful, there may be children about.

b) Stop and wait for the lights to stop flashing.

c) Drive past the bus only while the lights are flashing.

One last question. Do you know what the following indicates?

Q: You see a broken yellow line painted on the roadway adjacent to the kerb. What does it mean?

a) Clearway restrictions apply - you must not stop during the clearway hours.

b) You may at any time, park along this part of the road for 1 hour only.

c) Bicycle riders must ride along the yellow line.

These questions are among the many that might pop up in the NSW version of the test – and there’s not much wiggle room when it comes to making mistakes.

You can find the online practice test here, or alternatively download the app for iPhone or Android to see if you’d pass.

Those taking the test are asked 45 questions in the first 'General Knowledge' section and are allowed to get three questions wrong. After that any more than one wrong answer in either the 'Road Safety' or 'Road Signs' sections and you fail.

“The Driver Knowledge Test requires prospective learners to answer 45 questions selected at random,” explained Bernard Carlon, executive director for The Centre of Road Safety.

“In the first part of the test, there are 15 general knowledge questions followed by 30 road safety questions,” including traffic signs.

“In order to pass the test, 12 of the 15 general knowledge test questions must be answered correctly and 29 of the 30 road safety questions must be answered correctly.”

Questions are sometimes amended or new ones introduced over time. Such changes generally reflect major policy changes, including the introduction of new road rules such as the minimum passing distance rule around bicycle riders.

As part of the Road Safety Plan 2021, the NSW Government has committed to developing new platforms and enhanced road safety content in driver testing. Transport for NSW is currently reviewing the Road User Handbook.

Learner driving test Victoria  

In Victoria, the VicRoads test is much the same and is called the Learner Permit Knowledge Test.

It consists of 32 randomly generated questions that are based on all four chapters of the Road to Solo Driving handbook which “is full of road rules you need to know when driving on the road.”

This test has a slightly higher pass rate, at roughly 78 per cent according to Vic Roads.

You can find the online practice test here.

There are plenty of road signs to wrap your head around. Source: VicRoads

Learner driving test Queensland

In Queensland, prospective leaners will need to enrol in PrepL, a recently launched online learning and interactive assessment program.

“PrepL is designed to improve learner driver education by focusing on developing safe behaviours and attitudes,” the Queensland website said.

“It ensures new drivers know the road rules and understand the impact of the fatal five road behaviours: speeding, seatbelt use, fatigue, distraction, and drink and drug driving.”

Alternatively, you can do a written road rules test to get your Ls. You can find the online practice road rules test here.

Learner driving test WA

In Western Australia, prospective drivers need to pass what the state calls a Computerised Theory Test (CTT) on the road rules.

It is based on the extensive information contained in the Handbook for Western Australian Road Users.

You can find various online quizzes that consist of 30 multiple choice questions to prep for the WA learner test.

There is a legal requirement to give cyclists more space - don’t ‘squeeze’ them off the road the WA handbook says, alongside this photo. Source: WA Department of Transport

Learner driving test South Australia

Those in South Australia can study up on for the Learner's Theory Test.

Once again, those who are willing to do the prep should pass with flying colours as all questions in the test are explained in The Driver's Handbook. 

Each time you start the practice test you'll get 14 random questions from the real test including various questions about which driver has the right of way.

You can find the South Australian online learner test here.

This is the type of questions wannabe drivers will need to be across.


Learner driving tests for Tasmania, ACT and NT

In Tasmania, budding motorists will need to pass the Driver Knowledge Test which consists of 35 questions and can be undertaken at any Service Tasmania centre and a practice test can be found here.

In the ACT, drivers only need to be 15 years and 9 months of age to apply for their L plates.

At that point they need to complete a specially developed road safety course and pass a computer based Road Rules Knowledge Test which consists of 35 questions drawn from 378. You can find those 378 training questions here.

In the other territory, the NT, you will need to get at least 26 out of 30 questions correct to pass the learner driver course – which you can find here.

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