Introduced progressively in most states during the 2000s, the learner logbook, a record of how many hours of driving practice a learner driver has completed, has quickly become the bane of many an Australian learner driver's existence. Some states, such as Western Australia, are lenient, and only require learner drivers to log 25 hours of supervised practice before they sit their tests. Others, such as New South Wales and Victoria, are more stringent, imposing a 120-hour minimum on their novice drivers. Unsurprisingly, many learners find it difficult to accrue the required number of hours, and delay taking their driving tests until well after they are old enough to do so. Here are four tips for making filling out your logbook less of a burden.
1. Extra credit
Be sure to take advantage of any 'extra credit' opportunities offered in your state or territory, as these can significantly reduce the amount of time you'll need to be out on the road. In New South Wales, for example, learner drivers who complete 10 hours of lessons with a qualified driving instructor can record 30 hours of experience in their logbook, and completion of the Safer Drivers Course nets an additional 20-hour bonus. This reduces the required hours of supervised driving experience to 70, a much more manageable figure.
2. Take advantage of every opportunity
Every chance you get, offer to be your parents' chauffeur. Even a ten-minute drive to the shops every week adds up - these short drives might not sound like much, but over a year, this adds up to nearly nine hours of experience.
3. Road trip!
If your family enjoys travelling interstate, consider driving instead of flying next time you go on holiday. A trip from Sydney to Melbourne, for example, is a great opportunity to clock up more than 10 hours of experience in each direction. Driving holidays are also an excellent way to experience the best of what rural Australia has to offer. Be careful, however, about following the rules for learner drivers when you travel interstate. In New South Wales, for example, learner drivers must observe a maximum speed limit of 90 km/h, regardless of what state their learner licence was issued in.
4. Keep your logbook with you
It might seem obvious to take your logbook with you when you go for planned practice drives, but to maximise experience for those spur-of-the-moment trips, keep your logbook handy at all times. When a friend offers to give you a lift, or your grandparents need some help down at the shops, ask if you can drive. Those spontaneous trips can really add up, and if your logbook is sitting at home, you can't log them!
120 hours might seem like a lot of driving practice, but by following these simple steps, it's easy to make it less of a burden.