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5 Tips For New P Platers

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Did you just get your P’s? Are you loving the freedom to drive anywhere at anytime?

Although it can be exciting, it can also be dangerous. P1 licence holders are the most at risk of being involved in a car crash compared to Learners. We’ve got some tips to help you reduce your risk of being in an accident.


Three New Digital Logbooks for NSW Learners

Digitalised alternatives for the way learners record and submit their hours on the road are newly available. The mandatory hours of driving practice are now easier to manage with apps that utilise GPS tracking to record the length and route of every hour spent practicing on the road. Most drivers are familiar with the laborious process of writing the details of every hour spent practicing on the road, but the launch of three new apps finally provides learners with a time-saving alternative.

For NSW drivers, there are three apps accepted by the Roads and Maritime Services. Sound exciting? Here’s your guide to three digital logbooks:

1. L2P

The L2P app allows learners to track and record each driving session in real-time. Users set up a profile and add one or more cars to a profile that can be used on roads across Australia. It connects learners with supervisors and instructors who can structure lesson plans or verify each driving session.

The app includes training elements for new drivers such as educational videos, a countdown feature for extra motivation, and enables learners to track their progress and achievements.

Cost: Free
Compatibility: Android and iOS (iOS 10.0 or later) platforms.

2. Roundtrip

Learners who use the Roundtrip app can store and submit supervised driving sessions by simply tapping the record button and entering the odometer reading. The Roundtrip app is interactive with checklists, driving tips and information. Learners can track the total amount of practice hours and manage their progress with learning goals and milestones.

Cost: Free
Compatibility: iOS (iOS 9.0 or later) & Android devices

3. Licence Ready

Learners can use the Licence Ready app to record their driving sessions with the platform’s digital logbook. Licence Ready also features instructional materials such as narrations and driving programs to explain road rules and traffic conditions to new drivers.

The app is accessible by multiple users and includes note taking capabilities to support the supervision of driving sessions. Licence Ready currently caters for automatic vehicles only

The app only requires wifi for the first 30 seconds and the GPS functionality can be disabled. Licence Ready will not record driving sessions longer than two hours, to encourage drivers to stop, revive and survive.

Cost: A free version of the app (valid for 24 months) is available.

  • Pro version ($2.29 per month) includes animated and photo-based learning goals, detailed summaries of a learner’s risk and skill status and planned routes.

Compatibility: Operates on iPhone and Android devices and across mobile and desktop.

Did digital kill the paper logbook?

Not yet  – for learners that prefer the paper version, logbooks aren’t going anywhere. If there are hours recorded in a paper logbook but you want to move to a digitalised logbook, you’ll need to manually add in the date, mileage and licence details of each entry into the app again. If you’ve got more than fifty hours completed and stored in a paper logbook, it might be more time consuming to move your data over to a digital logbook.

Like any piece of technology,  there is often the risk of an app crashing or troubleshooting but for each of the three platforms, learners can restore their account and driving history on another device and continue tracking their progress.

Ready, set, go!
Each digital logbook app is designed to save time and make it easy for NSW learners and supervisors. All that’s required to get going is a valid NSW learner driver license and a valid un unrestricted Class C Australian driver licence or a NSW driving instructor licence for supervisors.

There’s never been a better time to start clocking off your practice hours and get a step closer to your driving test – but with every good thing, there comes responsibility. When you’ve downloaded an app of your choice, there are a few things to remember:

  • Using a mobile device is still restricted whilst whilst driving. These digital logbook apps will automatically log your driving session in the background when you choose to start recording.
  • Your licence details, along with the licence details of a supervising driver are required to set up an account on any of the three approved apps
  • Transferring hours across apps needs to be manually entered
  • Digital records need to be submitted at least 48 hours before your driving test

Interested in how digital logbooks might affect your driving lessons? Speak to an LTrent instructor to find the best way of taking advantage of the new technology or start logging your supervised lessons today.

What you need to know about the new licensing scheme

There are plenty of ways to learn something new but when it comes to driving, experience is the best teacher. Typically the journey to earning your drivers licence takes place over four years – the system was designed to give learners plenty of time to gain confidence on the road and develop safe driving habits. Four types of testing modules were also in place to ensure drivers were ready to be on the road. But despite these precautionary processes, provisional 1 (P1) and provisional 2 (P2) drivers accounted for 15% of fatalities in NSW last year.
The alarming numbers prompted a revision to the way drivers were taught and tested.

As of November 20th 2017, the Roads and Maritime Services will introduce pivotal changes to the way drivers in NSW are tested for a full, unrestricted licence.

In a nutshell  

Drivers on their learner licence will need to pass a Hazard Perception Test (HPT) before booking a driving test for a P1 licence.

Drivers are only required to take the HPT once – before the P1 driving test. Drivers who have held their P1 licence for more than 12 months can now simply apply for their P2 licence without the HPT.

What else is new?

Previously the Driver Qualification test was a prerequisite to a full, unrestricted licence. After November 20th, drivers who have completed the HPT test and have held a P2 licence for at least 24 months, can apply for a full licence without sitting the Driver Qualification test.

But, if a P2 licence holder has collected too many demerit points or has had their licence suspended, there is a possibility that drivers will have an extra six months added to their P2 licence.

How will the new Graduated Licensing Scheme affect me?

Drivers applying for their P1 licence after November 20th will pass through the new Graduated Licensing Scheme – but drivers who are currently on their P1 or P2 licence will not be part of the new changes. Here’s a detailed breakdown:

Learner Drivers:

  • Current learner licence holders (including 25 year olds and older) will need to pass the HPT test before they are eligible to book the P1 driving test
  • Drivers with a learner licence will need to hold their licence for at least 10 months before they can take the HPT test. This doesn’t apply to learner drivers who are 25 years or over.
  • Don’t forget the HPT test is valid for 15 months. Learners will have to take the HPT test again if they are unsuccessful in passing their driving test within that time.

P1 Drivers:

  • Drivers with a P1 licence before November 20th will still need to sit the HPT.
  • Renewing a P1 licence after November 20th? You still need to pass the HPT test to progress to a P2 licence if the test hasn’t been successfully completed beforehand.

P2 Drivers:

  • Drivers who hold a P2 licence before 20 November 2017 will still need to pass the Driver Qualification Test before applying for a full licence.
  • Drivers who renew or apply for a P2 licence after the 20th of November 2017 do not need to do the Driver Qualification Test.

Find out more information about the changes here.

Preparing for the Hazard Perception Test

Changes to the licensing scheme place an emphasis on a driver’s ability to identify and respond appropriately to hazards on the road.

The Hazard Perception Test is a touch-screen test that measures a driver’s ability to recognise and respond to hazards on the road. The test assesses a driver’s perception skills through 15 potential situations and real traffic circumstances that contribute to common crashes in NSW. In every situation, drivers are asked if they’d slow down, overtake or turn.

Taking the HPT test is a crucial stage of progressing to a full licence. Here are some ways you can ensure you’re prepared for the test:

  • Take it slow: Before making an instinctive decision, stop to weigh up the real or imagined risks of every situation. Often, the risks are manageable and it’s only when we understand the situation that we can find the right response. Don’t forget to pause and breathe before determining your response.
  • React with caution: In uneasy situations, it can be tempting to react out of spontaneity or instinct. When you’re considering a response, always ensure that your course of action does not risk harming anyone around you (including yourself) and falls in line with existing road rules and policies.
  • Know the facts: It seems like a no brainer but knowing what hazards to watch for helps protect you before a dangerous situation even occurs. In NSW, almost 80% of accidents for provisional drivers can be attributed to collisions (rear end, at intersections or head on) or running off the road and hitting an object. When drivers know the facts, it helps them make informed decisions in light of precarious situations.

Need a helping hand? A Hazard Perception Handbook is available online. Plus, get a taste of the real thing with five interactive modules online.

There’s no compromise for quality

The changes make it clear that what matters the most is: safe driving. The change rewards drivers who can safely apply driving rules and avoid potentially dangerous situations. Leverage the experience of our seasoned drivers and ensure you’re well equipped for the HPT test or driving test with the help of our instructors.

See our Safer Drivers Course where you can easily get 20 bonus logbook hours.


If you have any further questions, please feel free to speak with our friendly staff.

How to choose the right instructor?

When it comes to learning to drive, choosing the right instructor is critical to your success on test day and beyond.

So, what should you insist on when choosing a driving instructor?

The instructor that you choose should have:

  • NSW driving instructor’s licence
  • Certificate IV Road Transport & Logistics (Car Driving Instruction)
  • NSW Working With Children Check

To ensure that you aren’t liable should something go wrong, your instructor should have:

  • Comprehensive motor vehicle insurance specifically covering driving instruction
  • Public liability insurance
  • Professional indemnity insurance


  • Small to medium vehicles are most practical for learning
  • The training vehicle should be less than four years old


  • Your instructor should follow a curriculum and not teach ad hoc
  • Most of your lesson time should be spent on practice and skills development, not new skills

Teaching skills
Your driving instructor should:

  • Be professional, polite and on time
  • Be supportive
  • Give honest, professional feedback, you need to know where you are up to.
  • Care about the kind of driver you will be on your P’s

LTrent Specialist Trainer’s are the most qualified in the industry because we are Australia’s leading educator of driver trainers. Why 300,000 Students Chose LTrent.
We guarantee that with Trent, you will experience the best level of training and service in Australia. We are so confident in our trainers that at the end of your lesson, if you don’t believe that you’ve received the best level of service and training, we’ll we refund your money.

The Three Tests on Test Day

Did you know that there are three different tests on the day you attempt to get your P’s?
Most people focus on the driving component but there are two other tests before you leave the kerb.
The first part of your test will see your logbook scrutinised.

To be able to sit the driving test you need to have 120 hours of logged driving with a minimum of 20 hours logged at night.
The examiner will look thoroughly through your logbook to ensure that all the pages add properly together, there actually is 120 hours and the night hours were logged after sunset or before sunrise.
A logbook entry from 6:00pm – 7:00pm in early December is not night driving.
The testing officer will check to see that the front section of the logbook has been signed off by your supervising driver and the declaration on the last page is signed.
Finally, they will ensure that any bonus hours from the Safer Drivers Course or the 3 for 1 Program are correctly entered by a registered driving school.

If the logbook passes the test, then it is out to the car.
Before you drive, the testing officer will ensure that the car you use for the test is roadworthy.
They will want to see that there is plenty of tread on the tyres, all lights and indicators are working, that there is no significant damage and the car is registered.  
If the car passes the test, then you will start the driving component of test day.
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In order to get your P’s you will need:

  • An accurate and complete logbook
  • A suitable and roadworthy car
  • To drive to test standard

To find more information on the driving component of the driving test, check out this link: https://www.ltrent.com.au/blog/whats-in-a-driving-test/
If you would like to take advantage of the Trent Test Day Concierge service and use one of our modern cars, book via this link: https://www.ltrent.com.au/lesson-packages-and-vouchers/driving-test-success

Making Early Decisions

early decisions
Early decisions are a key to safe driving.
If you think about the last time you were on the road,  you would certainly have seen someone making a late decision like finding themselves in the wrong lane or making an erratic move to park.
Modern technology like GPS and mobile phones have created distractions causing more drivers to fail to keep track of road signs and changes and then make late decisions.

What decisions are made on the road?
There are two types of decisions influenced and voluntary.
Influenced decisions are made because another driver has invaded your safety cushion, often because they have broken a road rule or done something unpredictable on the road.
Voluntary decisions are the choices you make on the road. Early decisions are voluntary.
You cannot make early decisions without good vision habits and maintaining your safety cushion.
Late decisions are caused by vision breakdowns.

What does an early decision do for me?
By making an early decision you are being predictable on the road.
Examples include starting to brake early or indicating well in advance. By giving other road users plenty of notice as to what you are doing, they will be less likely to crash into you!

How do I know that I am doing well?
At a top level of driving you will be planning lane choices well in advance. Local knowledge helps with this, reading road signs will give a lot of clues too.
As you see a difficult situation coming up, start to look for options like checking where all the other cars are around you, plan lane changes and assess possible escapes.

Read more on Road Safety: Safety Bubble

The Safer Drivers Course is designed for learner drivers wanting to learn more about becoming a safe driver. The course will help you gain a deeper understanding about what it takes to be a safe solo driver.
Through both in-class activities and on-road coaching, the Safer Drivers Course will help you to be safe long after the driving test. The course is fun, engaging and informative.

The Safety Cushion

(and the three-second gap)

Have you ever considered why so many people crash into each other?
The majority of crashes happen because the driver does not have enough space around them.
The space around the car is what Trent driver trainers call the Safety Cushion.
By maintaining space around your car you will allow time to react, manoeuvre and stop if required. You need to guard this space!

How do you know if you have enough space around your car?
Ideally, you need 2 metres between you and parked cars and about 1 metre between an oncoming vehicle.
On narrow roads, this might be difficult to maintain so you need to slow down. The basic rule is: Space reduced = Speed reduced
As space increases, you can speed up again.
Early learner drivers naturally slow down because they feel the need to ‘suck in’ when they go through narrow spaces. As drivers get more experienced and are more comfortable around other vehicles, they start to go faster. The problem is that every time you double your speed, your stopping distance is multiplied by 4.
Be aware of driving in the blind spots of other road users and avoid having cars right next to you. In multi-lane traffic, you need to be conscious of your safety cushion to oncoming vehicles. The right-hand lane is the head-on collision lane and should only be used when overtaking or turning right. It only takes a moment distraction by someone coming the other way for a head on collision. Don’t be there!
As safe drivers we should be thinking “Is there a person about to step out behind that van?” or  “Is someone about to pull out from the kerb in front of me?”

How do I protect my  Safety Cushion?

At higher speeds, you need to think about the space between you and the vehicles in front, behind and to the sides. This is where the  3-SECOND GAP applies.

Drivers should always maintain a 3-second gap to the vehicle in front.

To calculate a 3-second gap,  watch as the car in front goes past a stationary object and start counting: 1001, 1002, 1003. If you pass the object before saying 1003, you are too close.

Often the vehicle behind will not maintain a 3-second gap to your vehicle (if they are really aggressive, just get out of their way).

The 3-second gap works at all speeds

How do I know if I am good at applying the safety cushion?
When you have mastered the safety cushion you will:

  • Find yourself adjusting your position inside your lane to maximise your safety cushion where ever required.
  • Always have a 3-second gap or greater.
  • You will actively avoid driving next to other vehicles and get out of the way of aggressive drivers.
  • You will feel uncomfortable in the head on collision lane.

If this is you then great work! You are much more likely to be safe on our roads.


The Safer Drivers Course is designed for learner drivers wanting to learn more about becoming a safe driver. The course will help you gain a better understanding about what it takes to be a safe solo driver. Through both in-class activities and on-road coaching, the Safer Drivers Course will help you to be safe long after the driving test. The course is fun, engaging and informative. saferdriverscourse_infog

Road Safety: Vision

June is road safety month at Trent Driving School and over the next few weeks we will be examining some of the key ways to be safe out on the roads.
Everything we do at Trent is to help learners stay safe on our roads and it fills us with pride when we receive feedback from our students saying that our training saved them.
Core to our safety is our safety wheel, if you follow these simple rules then you cannot have a crash. We will be discussing these rules during June.
angle park
I have trained learners that are missing arms or legs. I have trained deaf learners but I have never trained a blind person.
Vision is critical to staying safe on the roads. During most crashes, one of the drivers gets out of the car and says ‘I didn’t see you’. While this is probably true there are things we can do to make sure that we see everything out there on the roads.
How do our eyes work?
Our eyes are hemispherical, we can see 180º in front of us. Our vision is broken down into central vision and peripheral vision. Our central vision is what we read with, it is a tiny area of focus. All the blurry vision outside of your central vision is called peripheral vision. Peripheral vision has a much faster response time than central and is our attention getter for our central vision. If we see something move in our peripheral vision we instantly shift our central vision to focus on it. This is a danger response that is built into our physiology.
Where should we be looking?
When we are walking we look about 40-50m ahead, this is fine while we are going ~6kph. When we are driving we will be going 10 times the speed. We need to be looking 400-500m ahead at 60kph and if we are getting out on the freeway at 110kph we need to be looking about 1km down the road.
In addition to looking all the way down the road we need to keep an eye on everything on and off the road in front of us and behind.
A good driver will be checking the mirrors every 10 seconds or more and be fully aware of all traffic sharing the road and also any potential danger around the road. Their eyes will always be on the move.
One of the things that learners, and many experienced drivers, forget to look at are road signs. As a learner most of your focus will be on the controls and keeping an eye out for other road users, in my experience it takes a learner 80-90 hours of experience before they are able to include road signs into their driving. Before a learner can be safe on the road they need to be able to see and follow all road signs.
In the modern day of GPS navigation many drivers are going ‘blind’ when it comes to road signs. I don’t want anyone reading this to be the person that drives into a lake ‘because the navigation said to”.
What do we do when we see something?
As we gain experience on the road and develop our vision habits we will be able to identify many hazards on the road. In most situations we will need to slow down and maintain a safety cushion (tune in next week for details!)


The Safer Drivers Course is designed for learner drivers wanting to learn more about becoming a safe driver. The course will help you gain a deeper understanding about what it takes to be a safe solo driver.
Through both in-class activities and on-road coaching, the Safer Drivers Course will help you to be safe long after the driving test. The course is fun, engaging and informative.



The Three Point Turn

Occasionally you will need to do a Three Point Turn. This might be when you have made a wrong turn, seen a parking spot on the other side of the street or you are at the end of a dead end street. Using a Three Point Turn you can turn the vehicle around in a street that is too narrow to perform a U-turn.

Before performing a three point turn

Before you can perform a Three Point Turn, you need to be proficient in the use of:

  • Accelerator and brakes
  • The gears
  • The clutch
  • Starting and stopping the car
  • Hand-over-hand steering technique
  • Blind spots
  • Moving to and from the kerb
  • Slow moving forward
  • Uphill starts
  • Downhill starts
  • Reversing
  • Slow speed control
  • Road signs and markings

The key to performing a good Three Point Turn is great car control. You need to keep the car going as slow as possible and the steering moving as quickly as possible. One of the big mistakes that drivers make when doing a Three Point Turn is turning the steering wheel when the vehicle is stationary. With a modern vehicle with power steering you won’t feel that it is difficult to do, however, your steering system and tyres will be hating you for it! Best practice is to make sure that the vehicle is moving even just a tiny bit before turning the steering wheel. This can be best done by turning the steering straight before stopping when doing your forward and reverse changes.
The most important part of doing a Three Point Turn is checking for traffic. Before each point change, using your mirrors and turning your head, you need to check that the traffic situation around you has not changed.

Where to do a Three Point Turn

  • Make sure that you can be seen.
  • Don’t do a Three Point Turn near a corner, crest or block out.
  • A Three Point Turn must not be done across any unbroken line.
  • Never use a driveway, this manoeuvre must be completed on the road surface without hitting the kerb.

How to do a Three Point Turn

  • Start a Three Point Turn by doing a kerbside stop, assess the traffic both in front and behind to ensure that there is time to perform the manoeuvre, then leave the curb (you have no right of way when you are performing a Three Point Turn).
  • Once you are moving, you need to turn the wheel as quickly as possible to the right.
  • Just before you get to the opposite kerb, straighten the steering in preparation for reverse.
  • After checking for traffic, reverse and turn the wheel quickly to the left.
  • Only reverse as far as is necessary to clear the kerb when moving forward.
  • Before you move forward again, check the traffic again and then off you go.

Sometimes a road is too narrow to make the manoeuvre in three points, in this case  you can use five. Just make sure to keep an eye on traffic throughout the process.

How do you know that you are confident at the Three Point Turn? 

  • When you start practicing Three Point Turns on a road that is just too narrow that a U-turn cannot be completed.
  • At the top level you can do a Three Point Turn on a narrow road with lots of parked cars and heavy road camber. In this situation, you will have to select an appropriate gap and use high level car control.

Mobile Phones

Research shows that being distracted when driving, such as by a mobile phone, increases the risk of a crash. Simply taking your eyes off the road for longer than two seconds, doubles the risk of a crash. A short lapse of concentration can have lifelong consequences.
See how far you travel when you take your eyes off the road for just two seconds:
Travel speed                    Metres travelled in 2 seconds
40 km/h                           22.22
50 km/h                           27.78
60 km/h                           33.33
80 km/h                           44.44
100 km/h                         55.56
Dangerous problem
Crash data from 2010 to 2014 showed there were 236 crashes where hand-held mobile phone use by drivers was identified as a contributing factor. This included seven fatal crashes and 116 injury crashes. These crash numbers are considered to be under-reported suggesting the size of the problem could be much greater.
From July 2014 to June 2015, more than 35,300 fines were issued to drivers in NSW for using hand-held mobile phones, showing the problem is still prevalent.
Research shows that males and females aged 17-39 years have the highest rate of use of hand-held mobile phones while driving, and the greatest involvement in crashes where hand-held mobile phone use is a factor.