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Parents and supervisors

P plater safety

The first few months of a P plater's driving are stressful for parents and friends. There are things you can do to reduce their risk.

Driving seems pretty easy most of the time. As long as nothing unexpected happens and your new driver is careful and legal, they should be safe.

However, unexpected things do happen. Sometimes drivers make mistakes or make poor judgements.

P platers are especially crash prone, particularly in their first year of driving. Here are some facts to keep in mind:

  • P platers have three times the risk of being in a crash where at least one person is injured or killed.
  • They have three times the risk of having a single vehicle crash, such as running off the road.
  • Their crash risk in the first few months is very high compared to later in the provisional period.
  • Even with 75 hours of experience as a learner, P platers are still developing safe driving skills and still have a high risk of crashing.

Making the most of the learner period is an important start and there are extra things you can do to help your new P plater stay safe.

Encourage safe driving habits

Your new solo driver can continue developing safe driving habits. Remind them of this every now and then and if they borrow your car, you can set a few rules.

  • Solo drivers should start simply. When they first get their Ps, it's best to limit their driving to low risk situations in the first few months.
  • Minimise driving at night until they have been driving for a few months. Driving late at night is very high risk for new drivers. Use alternative transport whenever possible. It's a bit of a nuisance, but parents can still provide a 'taxi' service sometimes.
  • New drivers should never drive after drinking. Provisional licence holders are prohibited from having any alcohol or drugs in their system.
  • Learner's and P1 drivers are not allowed to use a mobile phone or any function of a mobile phone while driving.

New drivers need to remember some key safety strategies:

  • Don't follow other vehicles too closely.
  • Increase the space around the car.
  • Scan intersections for hazards.
  • Wait for longer gaps when turning into or across traffic.
  • Minimise distractions, such as changing CDs and the radio.
  • Drive at an appropriate speed for the conditions, which may be below the speed limit. Think about what car your learner will drive. Inexperienced drivers need the safest car.

If you are looking to purchase a new car for your P driver, it is important to remember that safe cars don't need to be expensive.Cars with relative high levels of crash protection can be found at affordable prices. Check the safer vehicles section for information on vehicle safety ratings and features and use the My First car checklist when shopping for a new car.

Videos worth watching with your P plater

Passenger distractions
What to do if you are in a crash
Sharing the road with heavy vehicles
Tips to hang onto your licence Safe following distances

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