Whether you already have your first car or you are planning to buy a quality second-hand car, you’ll want to get your license as soon as possible. We’ve put together this simple, straightforward guide to help you get your license quickly and avoid common missteps.
Technically, step one in getting your license is turning 16, but that won’t take any actual effort on your part.
Once that’s out of the way, you’ll need to study up and learn the road code so you can successfully take the learner license test. There are many easily accessible resources to help you learn the code, the most accessible of which are these interactive tests on the NZ government website.
Now you need to book in with a vehicle licensing agent to actually take the test. Before you do so, you’ll need to organise a few things:
Bring all those things along to the licensing agent. They'll take a screen capture of your signature and a photo for your license, as well as testing your eyesight. Then you'll be ready to sit the test. You'll need to answer 35 questions from a pool of 200 possible questions. You must get 32 correct to pass the test. Assuming you pass the test, you'll be given a temporary learner's permit you can use while you wait for your proper license to arrive.
Once you have your learner’s permit, you can start driving with supervision. Get as much driving practice in as you can – nothing beats experience – and find a reliable driving instructor to get you ready for your restricted license test. You can undertake simulated driving tests as well, and taking a defensive driving course is a great way to give yourself the best chance of being successful.
Once you've had your learner's for six months, you are 16.5 years old, and, most importantly, you're feeling confident in your skills, it's time to move to your restricted license.
You’ll need all your identification again, plus another eye test and photo. The test itself takes an hour and is split into two stages. You need to pass the seven tasks in Stage 1 to move onto Stage 2’s 18 more difficult challenges. Around 40% of people fail this test on the first go and nerves are often the culprit. When you get nervous you can make silly mistakes, and with only two critical errors allowed and a range of errors that mean an instant fail, silly mistakes are bad news.
Do whatever works for you to relax before the test and try to treat it like just another lesson. Once you’re finished, your instructor will tell you whether you have passed or not and also explain any errors you made.
Getting your full license is similar to getting your restricted permit. But while driving and carrying out tasks, you’ll need to verbally name and respond properly to any and all hazards. In the lead up to your test, practice driving and naming hazards with a friend who can let you know if you’re missing anything. For the test itself, stay calm and alert and make sure you get a full night’s rest the evening before.
Generally, you need to be 18.5 years old and have held your restricted license for 18 months (or 6 months if you're 25 or older) but you can actually cut this down. If you take a certified defensive driving course, you can sit your full license test after just a year, or just three months if you’re 25+.
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