- Follow our P-Plater safe driving tips to reduce your risk of becoming a road accident statistic
- Call 1300 696 762 to book your driver training with the NRMA and improve your skills
- Special licence conditions apply to P-Plate drivers
- There are restrictions in relation to passengers, mobile phones, alcohol and vehicle types – do you know what they are? (Hint: We’ve listed them below)
Driving tips for new P-Plate drivers
Young drivers are at the greatest risk of dying or being seriously injured in the first six to 12 months of probationary driving. In fact, the statistics show that they are exposed to more than three times the risk of a serious crash compared with an experienced driver.
By applying the driving tips below, you can reduce this risk:
- Attentiveness - Remaining alert to what's going on around you will allow you to recognise and act to avoid potential crash scenarios.
- Scanning the road - Many crashes happen because drivers only watch the car or road immediately in front of them. Always scan as far ahead as you can so you have more time to recognise potential hazards and take evasive action.
- Buffer zones - It can take 45 metres to stop a car that is travelling 60kmh. That distance increases to 54m in the wet (or when the road is slippery) – that’s longer than an Olympic-sized swimming pool.. Count out a distance of three seconds from the car in front of you (more in wet conditions) to ensure a safe gap at any speed.
- Driving to conditions - Rain, wind, glare, gravel and night driving pose unique challenges you must account for to ensure you stay safe. Slow down, always drive within your comfort zone and observe advisory signs on the road; they're there for a reason.
- Blind spots -To avoid blind spots when changing lanes, always check over your shoulder first. You can help reduce blind spots by ensuring your side mirrors are turned out far enough to see the entire width of the lanes beside you – you don’t need to see your doorhandles.
- Driving tired, intoxicated, drugged or distracted – Drinking alcohol and driving is not on for P-plate drivers, however some prescription drugs, tiredness or having your mind elsewhere can also reduce attentiveness and slow your reflexes.
- Plan your route – If you’re busy working out where you're going while driving you won’t have as much mental capacity left to drive safely and attentively. A simple tip is to always program your route before you start the car. If you need to change your route during your trip, pull over and stop the car to do this safely. Slowing right down will help you take in an unfamiliar environment and allow you to drive more safely.
- Driving at night - Lack of visibility makes night driving more challenging than driving in clear daylight. Slow down if you're having trouble seeing. Shift your eyes away from oncoming headlights and adjust your rear vision mirror to reduce glare from behind.
- Driving in the wet – Roads become more slippery when it rains, especially after a long spell of dry weather has allowed oil to build up on the surface. Reduce your speed when driving in the rain to account for the car’s reduced grip on the road – and your reduced visibility – and use the accelerator, brake and steering as smoothly as you can. In these conditions, always increase the distance between you and other vehicles.
- Country roads - Country roads can be narrow, winding and rough, and hold surprises such as kangaroos, oncoming trucks and potholes. Adhere to advisory signs, don't be tempted to speed, avoid the edges of roads (but be ready to slow down and move over for passing vehicles), and always stay alert, even if the road looks quiet.
- Seat belts - Seat belts will limit your contact with the car's interior on impact and spread the forces over more of your body to protect against neck injury. Without a seatbelt and airbag, you can be killed in a head on collision at just 29km/h.
For more driving tips, download NRMA's driving test guide (PDF 456KB)
Understanding P-Plate restrictions
Special licence conditions for new drivers in NSW place restrictions on speed, passenger number, vehicle type, and prohibit the use of mobile phones. The conditions and restrictions that apply to learner or provisional licence holders do not change when they travel outside NSW.
• Provisional P1 and learner drivers must not exceed 90km/h
• Provisional P2 drivers must not exceed 100km/h
• Provisional and learner drivers who exceed the speed limit by more than 30km/h face licence confiscation by police and immediate suspension
• P1 and learner drivers penalised for speeding will lose their licence for at least three months
• P2 drivers penalised twice for speeding will lose their licence for at least three months
P1 and P2 drivers are banned from driving high-performance vehicles with:
• Power to tare mass (PMR) ratios of greater than 130kW per tonne
• Modified engines that need to be approved by an engineer
• Other high performance classifications
More information on prohibited vehicles, and a list of approved vehicles is available on the Roads and Maritime Services website.
P1 drivers under 25 are not permitted to drive with more than one passenger under 21 between 11.00pm and 5.00am. P1 or P2 drivers who are issued a new licence after being disqualified from driving, will only be allowed to carry one passenger for 12 months.
There is more information about passenger conditions on the RMS website.
Zero blood alcohol
Provisional and learner drivers must have a zero blood alcohol concentration, which means no alcohol before driving, even if it’s the night before.
P1, P2 and learner licence holders must not use a mobile phone while driving, including via Bluetooth hands-free or speaker mode, for the viewing or sending of text messages, or to use any other phone function. P1, P2 and learner licence holders must be parked out of the line of traffic to use a mobile phone.
Learner and P1 drivers and riders caught illegally using a mobile phone will lose four demerit points, (over the demerit point threshold) and result in a three-month licence suspension.
Information about additional P1 and P2 licence conditions regarding towing, seatbelts and automatic and manual vehicles is available on the RMS website.