Most Common Mistakes Learner Drivers Make - Intertrain
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Getting behind the wheel and learning to drive is one of the most significant milestones of adolescence. Although learning to drive is a huge stepping stone towards adult life, there are many common mistakes learner drivers make due to their lack of experience. This is why it is essential to gain the right education and training before driving on the chaotic roads.

Driving requires much more attention than sitting behind the wheel and maneuvering a vehicle. It takes practice, experience and a lot of training. It is important to understand that you are not the only person driving on the road, and your mistakes may cause the injury or death of other road users.

“During the 12 months ended in August 2019, there were 1,203 road deaths. This is an increase of 0.8 per cent from the 12-month period ending August 2018.” - Australian Government (Department of Infrastructure, Transport, Cities and Regional Development)

There are many common mistakes learner drivers make that can affect them and others throughout their driving if they are not corrected. Before receiving your drivers permit, it is recommended that you take professional driving lessons to learn about the proper methods of driving as well as knowledge surrounding road-rules.

Mistakes learner drivers make

Do you ever break the rules or make a mistake while driving, only to realise later that you may have done something wrong? Are you guilty of the following?

  • Speeding up to pass through a yellow light
  • Flashing your high-beams to warn people of a speed camera
  • Holding your phone between your head and shoulder so you can talk and drive
  • Disregard school zones, assuming it’s a pupil free day
  • Making a u-turn at traffic lights
  • Exit a roundabout without signalling left
  • Beep at pedestrians who stepped into the road you were turning into

These common mistakes are ones learner drivers make on a regular without realising. However, it is essential to note that these are quite dangerous and can land you a penalty. Alongside these everyday mistakes, there is a range of other rules many drivers forget or completely disregard while they are driving.


Many drivers approach roundabouts without using their indicator or turn them on too late. This can be quite dangerous as it is important to give other road users sufficient notice of your intent to turn. Drivers must also slow down or stop, ready to give way when they are entering a roundabout. Drivers must continue to use their indicator if they intend to turn left, right or make a U-turn. Many drivers make a common mistake of not indicating when they want to make a U-turn. All drivers must indicate right on approach when making a U-turn.

One of the most common mistakes learner drivers make is not signalling left when leaving a roundabout. This is not a requirement; however, if it is practical to do so, it allows other road users to be aware of where you are exiting.


Drivers must give way to pedestrians at crossings at any road they are entering. If you are turning left or right at an intersection and there is a pedestrian, you must give them the way, with or without traffic lights.


When driving on the road without lane markings and the number of lanes is reduced, drivers must merge by giving way to any vehicle that is ahead of them. Drivers must also remember that when they are driving in a marked lane which is ending, they must first give way to traffic travelling in the lane being entered.

Keep left

Many learner drivers make this common mistake when driving - not keeping in the lane they are meant to be in! On multi-lane roads where the speed limit is more than 80km/h, drivers must not take the right lane unless they are:

  • Overtaking
  • Avoiding an obstacle
  • Driving in traffic
  • Turning right or making a U-turn
  • Driving in a special purpose lane

Using headlights and fog lights

Common mistakes learner drivers make is using their headlights and fog lights when they aren’t supposed to. Drivers must not use their headlights on a high beam if travelling less than 200m behind a vehicle travelling in the same direction or less than 200m from an oncoming car.

It is also an offence to flash your high-beams unless being used to respond to an emergency. The lights should not be used to dazzle other road users. Regarding fog lights, a driver is only permitted to use these lights when driving in fog, mist or other conditions that restrict visibility.

Making a U-Turn

Before making a U-turn, drivers must:

  • Have a clear view of approaching traffic
  • Be able to make the turn without obstructing the movement of traffic
  • Give way to vehicles and pedestrians before making a U-turn

Common mistakes learner drivers make is performing a U-turn:

  • Perform a U-turn at an intersection without traffic lights where there is a “no U-turn sign” displayed
  • Across a single continuous dividing line or a two parallel continuous dividing line
  • At traffic lights, unless there is a U-turn permitted sign displayed

Safe following distances

Drivers must also remain cautious and keep sufficient distance behind a vehicle travelling in front of them to safely avoid a collision. Depending on the weather conditions, safe following distances will differ. As a general rule, drivers should travel three seconds behind the vehicle in front to provide enough time to avoid a crash. Applying the “three-second stopping” rule is helpful here as a total of three seconds is required to react to a situation in front of you.

As heavy vehicles are significantly larger and heavier than regular vehicles, there are certain limitations when it comes to stopping and slowing down while driving. These type of vehicles need much more room and stop times to ensure that they stop safely. When driving around heavy vehicles, it is important to keep a safe stopping distance of longer than three seconds (at least five seconds) to ensure that there is adequate space and time to avoid any dangers while driving.

School zones

A common mistake learner drivers make is not following school zones or not abiding them on ‘pupil free days’. However, it is important to note that school zones to operate on these days and on regular school days/times, usually during 8-9 am and 2:30 pm-4 pm.

If you were not aware that you were making these mistakes, it is important that you fix them to ensure the safety of yourself and others on the road. At Intertrain, our Bus Driver Authority training course ensures all bus-drivers are taught safe road rules and regulations to avoid the possibility of making mistakes or causing hazardous situations.

Are you thinking about becoming a bus driver? Our online driver authority courses make the process as easy as possible.

Learn more today! Contact us on 1300 222 776.

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