Parents and Students Useful Information

Useful Links to the RMS for Students and Parents


Parent and Student Information

Information about the RMS Driving Test
Learning Manual
Some useful links to the RMS

First of all always touch up on your road rules knowledge or maybe take a knowledge test.

Knowing your road rules forms part of the requirement for your licence and will give you a better understanding when driving to help you make the correct decisions.

People going for their licence should have the solid practical ability and be confident.
Be prepared for independent driving not just because they qualify and are 17 years old or have finished 120 hours of driving.
Not having enough experience can lead to mistakes and seems to happen too often so get some more practice.
Get assessed by Penrith Driving School to see if they are ready to be driving by themselves.

Links to the RMS

New Learners and P Plate Licence conditions from November 20th, 2017

If you have any inquiries or need to contact the RMS use the click on the link below
RMS Homepage

When was the last time you did the knowledge test?
Parents can also try the test and see if you’re up to date or just have a practice.
Drivers Knowledge Practice Test

You can click the link below to see the answers for the knowledge test if you’re not sure.
Car Knowledge Test Questions

When was the last time you had a browse through?
Road Users Handbook

 Information on licences click the link below.
RMS Licence Information

For P1 drivers or those preparing for the driving test click the link below.
P1 Licence information

Check out this link below to make sure you understand the most;
10 Misunderstood Road Rules

The link below contains information about road safety.
Road Safety Rules

For those students and people preparing for the driving test.
Read the link below especially pages 28-32 which the outline reasons you may not pass the driving test.

Guide to the Driving Test

Lesson Enquiries

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Preparing for the P1 Driving Test

By this stage of a students or a persons driving they should be able to drive “independently” by having solid vehicle control, understanding of the road rules, line markings and be able to understand complex traffic situations, be confident in making decisions, have a strong road awareness and also understand how to respond to hazards and what hazards are.

Students and drivers come to us when they are getting ready to undertake the RMS driving test.
Whether it is an automatic driving test or manual driving test there are always areas that need improvement prior to attempting the driving test but we shouldn’t have to be “teaching” someone how to drive if you are about to undertake the driving test.

As instructors, we don’t often see a student or driver that can show us they would pass the driving test without some guidance not because they can’t drive at all. Usually, it is because they are not aware of the RMS requirements and or at times they do not have enough experience where it counts as it may not have been taught by previous instructors or supervisors.
This is more so in the manual vehicle.

Get Prepared

We rarely see a student that can follow our directions without any intervention by the instructor.
During a driving test, any intervention by the RMS assessor will result in a fail item marked as F6 on the test sheet as high lighted below.
This means the student was not able to drive independently and required help.
By having some driving lessons before your driving test can improve the areas of driving that may be needed and also the confidence required but if we need to still teach you how to drive then this reduces our ability to progress you until you are meeting the RMS Driving Test criteria.

Furthermore, it should be remembered that it may not be that students or drivers can’t drive altogether.
Students need to drive to meet the RMS acceptable criteria they will be marked on during a driving test.
More importantly, they should be able to drive safely by themselves.
This is what is required after they do get their licence and is more important than just passing the driving test.
Driving only starts after you get your licence so be prepared for independent driving early.

The Driving Test

When a student attends a driving test the RMS assessors do not help a student to drive they only give directional instructions and ask students to do the required manoeuvres.Their expectation is the student is able to drive the car to the RMS criteria in order to pass the driving test. If a student does not know the road rules or the driving test requirements then this can result in failing the driving test.
It can be warning that you were not ready for independent driving and more practice is needed.

The extract below is taken from the “Guide to the Driving Test” page 30
At this stage of your driving experience, you should be able to drive without any help.
If the testing officer has to give you verbal or physical assistance, including using the dual controls in an instructor’s vehicle, you will fail.

RMS Testing Routes

The RMS has identified various driving test routes throughout the Penrith areas. These may include various types of intersections, roundabouts, stop signs, give way signs, traffic lights, multi-laned roads, various road markings, signage, hills, bends, various types of turns and various decision-making requirements.
They also include various manoeuvres which a student must be able to do and all form part of the driving test.
The purpose of these particular areas is to test a student’s independent driving ability without assistance from a supervisor.

Driving around these types of areas should be relatively easy for a student who is confident and has good vehicle control, road awareness and road rule understanding. Students will struggle if they do not have enough experience and knowledge.
They may require more practice or lessons to drive independently.

A Common Misconception

A common misconception is that parents and students can think passing a driving test means you know how to drive. Some students are definitely much better drivers than others. Students that have a more skill, ability, understand the road rules and have more road awareness usually pass because they are better more confident drivers.
In our view, the RMS driving test is not a proper test of skill and ability as it is a variable test that cannot be replicated on a consistent basis. The driving conditions can change from minute to minute and hour to hour so there is no constancy of testing when students attempt the driving test.
So basically not a level playing field as some students will have an easier driving test and for others, the driving test will be harder.

Variables of the Test 

A driving test during school zone hours is different to a driving test outside school zone hours. Various decision-making aspects can be different such as, contending with a busy roundabout is different to contending with no cars at a roundabout. Blind intersections where vehicles may block your vision are different to intersections where your view is not blocked. Peak hour busy traffic is different to quieter periods with no traffic are just some examples. Some students that pass only passed because they may not have been challenged with harder decisions or more complex traffic situations whereas a similar student of the same ability will fail when faced with more difficult situations.

Learning Experiences

Another reason is that when they have been learning to drive the learning experiences or driving lessons may not have been broad enough or wide enough. Driving areas should include complex traffic situations or driving conditions that require continual thinking and road awareness required to make steering, braking and road positioning adjustments using the correct driving techniques.

Students and drivers need to learn how to always be prepared for the unexpected by using skills, ability and learning driving techniques for controlling the vehicle properly if faced with different driving requirements or challenges. Most students or drivers we see can struggle when they have been taken out of their comfort zones where they have been driving.
Even a basic manoeuvre can be difficult and the majority are unable to perform simple kerbside stops to meet the RMS driving criteria.

Road Rules

Another main area that students and drivers struggle are with the road rules, signage and understanding the line markings. This should be included when learning as a part of driving lessons. This forms part of the requirements for getting a licence.
Consequently, misinterpretations, hesitating, unsafe decisions tells us as the instructors they aren’t quite ready to drive by themselves.
It is important when teaching driving lessons to have continual repetition but not on the same roads or in the same areas.
By continually varying the driving conditions expands the driving knowledge and experiences of the driver which builds more confidence and driving ability.
This results in students and drivers that pass the driving test because they are better and safer drivers.

Not Enough Driving Hours

In most cases, learners are trying to learn how to drive in 12 months or 120 hours with less than 2 hours of practice a week.
Inexperience is the main factor in a lot of accidents so the more driving hours the better.
How a parent or supervisor drives a car will be different to how a student or learner will drive a car.
Learners may not understand or be able to comprehend your experience and knowledge which is gained over many years of constant driving.

We see a lot of students that may start out doing 10 instructed driving lessons.
These can equate to 30 log book hours but are really only 10 hours of practical driving if that. Some may only end with 5 hours depending on the driving school.

After 50 standard driving hours (according to the logbook) students then go and do “a safer driver course” which then gets them another 20 hours but in fact may only be 30 mins of practical driving.

Only 2 Weeks Of Driving to Get a Licence

So to sum it all up in most cases, students may have only achieved about 80 hours of actual practical driving assuming the log books are correct.
Students may only get about 1.5 hours practice per week. Nowhere near enough.
Overall about 80 hours of practical driving equals 2 working weeks worth of driving to get a licence.
2 weeks of driving to learn all about driving. No wonder new drivers struggle to drive properly.
Is that really enough driving experience considering the traffic on the roads these days?

Learn Properly

Passing the driving test is just the beginning of driving because all the previous driving of a learner has been with parents or supervisors so driving independently by themselves is a new experience.
If you are skilled, confident and have good road awareness your chances of surviving on the roads can be better which can also reduce the risks associated with driving.

Penrith Driving School only teaches quality driving lessons to our students and customers, if you want time wasting there’s plenty of other driving schools happy to do that.
Not everyone wants to learn properly which is unfortunate mainly because they just want to pass the driving test today with the view they will worry about tomorrow when it comes, but tomorrow might not come if you don’t get through today.
With all the idiots on the roads these days the more experience and knowledge you have could just be the difference in you becoming a statistic.

Senior Instructor
Penrith Driving School
For the correct advice by experienced instructors contact us for further information.

Are you getting ready for your Manual Driving Test?

The manual driving test is more complex than the automatic driving test. A common area that is seen by us where students struggle is the vehicle control areas due to inexperience.
 can include shifting, clutching, braking, and steering. Students should have a solid ability of these skills.
Other areas such as observations, response times and reaction times are affected which can lead to loss of vehicle control and bad decision making.
Have a read below and think about if you know the answers or maybe are doing some of those things, do you know what they mean?

Does the gearbox thump when changing gears?
Does the car jerk when changing gears?
Do I drive too fast?
Do I know how to stop the car correctly?
Does the car roll back when trying to move off?
How do I do a hill start?
Does the car over rev when shifting?
What is the friction point?
Is my acceleration controlled?
Do I harshly brake/jolt the car when braking?

Do I shift correctly at the right speeds
What is clutch coasting?
Do I shift when steering correctly?
Do I oversteer/understeer?
Can I read the traffic?
Can I anticipate traffic?
What do to gears relate to?
Do I understand vehicle dynamics?
Can I control the car for maneuvers?
Does the car jolt when I down shift?

Do I stall the car?
Can I respond to hazards the correct way?
Do I look at my shifter?
Do I miss gears? (wrong selection)
Do I shift too fast?
Do I over rev the car?
Do I hold the clutch back?
Do I know how to control the friction point?
Do I stop the car for the wrong reasons?
Do I shift down at the right speeds?

Know what you need to be doing

If you don’t know the answers or are doing some or all of any of the above you need more practice and or more experience.
We would expect students getting ready for their driving test to have good vehicle control and understanding of driving.
Students are frequently unable to answer, explain or apply correct driving techniques and this comes back to inexperience and not enough practice.

Generally, the people teaching someone how to drive are teaching based on their own ability. To be fair some parents and supervisors actually do a very good job overall and are usually not aware of the RMS driving test requirements.
They may also not be aware of what was required in the learner’s log book. This is then not taught to a student. 

Previous Instructors

We regularly have students that have had numerous manual driving lessons with other driving schools.
They go for their driving tests and continually struggle to pass and when they come to us and we start to access what they might be doing wrong.
It is disappointing that the student was not aware of the RMS criteria needed to pass a driving test.
This should have been learned in previous driving lessons before the driving test but if the “teacher” does not know what to teach then the student does not learn.

Supervisors and Parents

Students, parents, and supervisors should remember it doesn’t a mean a student “can’t” drive at all.
You must drive to or better than RMS standard which is required and from what we see its generally not to a safe standard.
It’s all about the practice, practice and more practice.

Driving a manual vehicle incorrectly can result in damage to the car (especially the gearbox and clutch, diffs and CVs) and loss of vehicle control.

You need to listen to and feel the vehicle when driving so if you don’t understand the car then how can you drive it properly?
Too many people seem to think a gearbox is for slowing the car down from a higher speed, gearboxes do not slow cars down, cars do have brakes.
If you don’t understand or disagree we would be happy to explain how a car works feel free to call us, it’s a subject area that we have to explain to students all the time and why a gearbox does not slow a car down.

 All too often when students come to us when getting near their driving test we continually see all these problems occurring. (plus other areas of driving) These areas can affect your driving ability because students don’t have enough experience or understanding about how to drive a manual vehicle properly and how a car even works.

Our Opinion

We can only give our opinion to the student based on how a student drives during a driving lesson. If students are struggling then they need to improve. It’s not us as the instructors driving the car, we can only convey what you need to be doing. (as per the Guide to the Driving Test + RMS Assessors Manual + RUH: Road Users Handbook)
If students don’t want to learn the requirements or how to drive a manual properly that’s up to you.
Problems can be fixed but sometimes it takes more than a few lessons and more practice by the student.
Our mechanical opinion about cars is based on senior driving instructor Geoff’s 30 years experience as a motor mechanic with plenty of experience driving manual vehicles.

If you are a parent or supervisor teaching someone how to drive what are you basing your teachings on? is it your own experience and knowledge? that’s all good and well as most parents do a reasonable job overall.
If it’s based on your own experience and knowledge of how you drive you also need to add the RMS driving criteria to the teachings and if you aren’t teaching properly then how can somebody learn properly?

Be Aware of Cheap Driving Lessons

In recent times it has become more apparent to us that an influx of so-called “Driving Schools”. They seem to be providing a lesser quality of driving lesson to students. The parents of students that may have purchased these cheap driving lessons.

From the feedback, we have been receiving from our students and the parents of some of these students. It is obvious to us that some of these driving schools are more about time wasting and selling low-quality lessons.
By doing more non-informative time wasting cheap driving lessons these driving schools aim to make more money. Unfortunately, the parents and students are losing out by ending up having to pay more money in the long run. They thought the “enticement” of buying “cheap” driving lessons could save them some money.

Not Teaching the RMS Criteria

Some of these driving schools and their instructors are not meeting the required RMS teaching criteria as they don’t seem to be following the requirements of the RMS.
We always hear from students “I wasn’t told that” or I wasn’t shown that” “I wasn’t aware of that”  “I didn’t know that”. So what are these instructors and driving schools teaching?
It is certainly not what they should teaching be from our conclusion.

20 Learning Goals

The RMS has 20 “structured lesson plans” which coincides with the 20 “learning goals” that are in the learner’s log book. This is what driving instructors are required to teach. We see lessons being recorded in students log books as number “35” or number “57”.
None of those numbers corresponds to the “20” learning goals required by the RMS and we have no idea what a student has been taught. The student doesn’t remember which then takes longer for us to further access what they do know.

Lack of Knowledge

We continue to be dumbfounded when these students come to us and the student’s knowledge and ability are way below what you would expect. If a student has already had numerous instructed driving lessons they should have some knowledge and understanding of the RMS requirements.
Not all “20” structured lessons would be taught at once. They would be subject to how many lessons are purchased. Each structured lesson/s number should be recorded each time a driving lesson is conducted by a driving instructor.

Recording in Log Books

Some of these requirements are to record structured lessons in logbooks, keep student information sheets, provide structured lessons that meet the RMS requirements.
We have students telling us that they have had sometimes from 3 to 15 lessons with another instructor/driving school.
There is no evidence of this recorded in the student logbooks along with no instructors licence number or what type of structured lesson has been taught to the student.

The students and parents also tell us that they paid cash and there was no receipt provided which seems to be pretty common for the avoidance of tax and GST. Some without ABN numbers.
Some of these driving schools also seem to be using cars with very low ANCAP safety ratings (or our view “aluminium cans on wheels”) or cars that have seen better days which can put students at risk should there be an incident or an accident.

Using your Own Vehicle

Driving Lessons can be conducted in personal cars on request.
Cars must be roadworthy and have vehicle insurance.
If a car is not roadworthy the lesson must be conducted in the Penrith Driving School if the student or customer does not want to that lesson in the Penrith Driving School car the lesson will be cancelled and the lesson fee will still be charged.
We do not do lessons in cars that have no insurance or are not roadworthy.
Our instructors will not be held liable for any damage that may occur in personal cars during a driving lesson caused by the student.
Students or customers will be asked to sign a waiver of liability prior to any driving lesson conducted in a personal car.
Penrith Driving School cars are fully insured and cover students for any damage that may occur during a driving lesson.

Know what you are Buying

Don’t take driving lessons for granted be sure about who is teaching you and what you are actually going to get as cheap driving lessons with dodgy driving instructors will just end up costing you more money in the long run.

Penrith Driving School does not conduct driving lessons in students personal cars. Our insurance does not cover damage to your personal car. We are covered by our insurance should you damage our cars during an instructed driving lesson or when our cars are being used by you on a driving test.

Penrith Driving School also carries a copy of the “20” structured lesson plans as required by the RMS along with a 200-page breakdown of the those “20” structured lessons that meet the RMS requirements.
We also carry our insurance policies and driving instructors licences which can also be viewed.