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First car and licence


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#1 Rockwiz

Posted 02 December 2019 - 10:02 AM

Firstly, I don't have a licence as I have a visual impairment which prevents me. As a result we only have the one car - DH is our driver. DS has had his L's for a while now but is only now really wanting to start with lessons and purchasing a second hand car for himself. He's been a bit slower wanting to start than many of his peers - probably because he has ASD (high functioning) - meaning he has always been a little behind his peers socially and maturity wise because of this. I think the fact a lot of his friends are now learning to drive has started to get him motivated and he's now ready. He's been talking about it a lot.

Not that I'm ready for it!! It doesn't help that I've never driven a car before myself, though obviously I so wish I could. So I need to book him in for some lessons and DH needs to supervise his practice. As we only have the one car I'm thinking DS needs his own car to practice in while doing the lessons rather than using our car. We have a large Camry and I think I'd prefer he learn in a smaller vehicle. Perhaps I'm being paranoid. Am I?

Any suggestions on what to look for in a first car? Or should I just let him learn on our only car and stop being paranoid?

#2 Murderino

Posted 02 December 2019 - 10:09 AM

No advice on first car (mine was a $600, 18 year old my kids won’t be getting something like that) but my sisters and I learned by driving whenever our mum* would have driven and we used their car- a Tarago for my older sister and a VL Commodore wagon you me and my younger sister.

* dad wasn’t a good passenger with an experienced driver he not could be with learners. For three years my mum never drove as my sister and I had a one year cross over on L plates and we drove when she otherwise would have no matter the time of day or the weather.

Edited by Murderino, 02 December 2019 - 10:09 AM.


#3 blue86

Posted 02 December 2019 - 10:12 AM

Honestly, get him learning in the large car (even if he ends up buying a smaller one for himself). I have so many issues at work with staff not being comfortable driving larger work cars and not having any confidence in them because they’ve never driven them.
In terms of buying a car, but the absolute newest car he/you can afford. Do not buy a new driver an old beater thinking that they’re going to damage it. They may regardless (I never did) but the newer the car, the more safety features, both technology wise, but more importantly, structurally

#4 Sandra

Posted 02 December 2019 - 10:14 AM

Mine learned in my car , which was larger, but they bought their own cars for when they could drive on their own.  They saved and one got as ford laser and the other a Suzuki swift.

#5 dadwasathome

Posted 02 December 2019 - 10:17 AM

I've taken DS16 out three times now in our SUV, and it's been fine. If we had a small car I'd be fine too.

I reckon just let him learn on your car.

#6 hills mum bec

Posted 02 December 2019 - 10:19 AM

My DS18 has just got his P's after two years with a learner licence.  We ended up buying a car for DS to learn in as our family car is a large ute that was too big for him.  I don't think a Camry would be too big for a learner driver.  The car we bought for DS to learn in is a Suburu Impreza and he was comfortable driving that.  I'm not sure about the process to get your licence in other States but in SA he had to do 75 hours of supervised driving (15 of those at night) and then he had to have a list of driving skills signed off by a driving instructor which took about 8 lessons to get through.  Driving lessons are quite expensive, $70 for a one hour lesson, $100 for 90 minute lesson and then the final lesson was $180.  DS used the instructor's car for these lessons.  He didn't start the formal lessons until he had done most of the hours for his supervised driving.  On the weekend DS bought himself a car as he has just finished year 12 and applying for apprenticeships that require him to have a car to get to and from work.  He didn't have a lot of money saved so he bought a 20 year Honda for $1600.  I'm not thrilled with it but hopefully once he gets a full time job he will be able to save quickly for a better car.

#7 born.a.girl

Posted 02 December 2019 - 10:36 AM

For a new driver car, look at Corolla, Huyundi i20, and Mazda3.


More than five or six years old and you're probably not going to get a great range of safety features.


Advantages of getting a car now and him learning it that:  means that his first year on Red P's (Vic, same logic elsewhere) means that at the point where their risk of an accident goes through the roof, he's familiar with the car.

Disadvantages of getting a car now: with only one of you able to drive, one car's always going to be sitting there doing nothing, so you've got two lots of insurance, reg risk of damage etc. It means most of your family trips (so he gets the hours up) are going to be in his car.

My suggestion would be for him to do most of his hours in the current car, given you currently only have one licensed driver, then look for a car for him well before he's going to be an independent driver.

Being able to confidently drive both will be an advantage.

Regarding lessons: with the hours they have to get up now, I feel the best way with lessons is for them to be interspersed with the whole learning period.  I went with the instructor so I could see if there was something I should be doing differently, and if she was doing something incorrectly that I wasn't having success correcting (driving to the conditions!).

Good luck, it's a nerve wracking time.

#8 WannabeMasterchef

Posted 02 December 2019 - 10:52 AM

We have one large 4wd as our family car.  When the time comes I think we might buy a family cheap and cheerful car as we will have 3 kids to learn to drive and honestly by then we will probably need 2 cars. We get away with it now as we live walking distance from a bus station.

I don't think a Camry is too big though, that's probably something like what I was looking to get as our 'backup car' .  Around my area Klugers are very popular and they are an SUV body on a camry.

#9 Hellbent

Posted 02 December 2019 - 11:12 AM

DD recently got her license.  She had two lessons with me in my Tarago, but found it difficult so bought herself a cheap second hand barina, did the rest of her lessons and  her test in that   and found it much easier.  A few of her friends had trouble taking the test in larger cars and consequently didn't pass first attempt and ended up buying a small car themselves as DD did.

I think its an individual thing, but I think DD would have struggled to pass first attempt in my car.

#10 Rockwiz

Posted 02 December 2019 - 12:25 PM

Some great advice there. Thanks. It's helped me put a few things in perspective, though I'm still nervous about the whole thing. I dont think DH is going to be great at teaching him either - not his driving skills as he's a good driver - but his patience amd calmness. I think he will be an anxious 'supervisor' , which he has already admitted himself, all of which is adding to my nerves.

#11 Wot*A*Lot*Of_____

Posted 02 December 2019 - 12:33 PM

DD20 bought DH’s mums car from her for a really great price. She paid MIL cash for it and finished her driving hours in it, so about 40hrs. The rest of her hours were done in DH’s company car which is a CX9. So she can drive either car pretty well. Hers is about half the size.

#12 born.a.girl

Posted 02 December 2019 - 02:36 PM

View PostRockwiz, on 02 December 2019 - 12:25 PM, said:

Some great advice there. Thanks. It's helped me put a few things in perspective, though I'm still nervous about the whole thing. I dont think DH is going to be great at teaching him either - not his driving skills as he's a good driver - but his patience amd calmness. I think he will be an anxious 'supervisor' , which he has already admitted himself, all of which is adding to my nerves.


You might be surprised.   I was able to stand back from the situation and understand what my role was.  Because my husband's the calm and slow to anger type, it didn't occur to him that he would need to stop and think about his role.

Guess who our daughter preferred to have teach her to drive?  Within a few months she said 'I'm never going with him again!'.

It's bliddy nerve wracking let me tell you.

You don't mention which state you're in, but in Vic, Vicroads has a fabulous booklet that comes with the learner's manual,  that's directed at the instructor and gives an idea of what YOUR role should be at each stage of learning.  I only read it after the first time out (as you do) and it made a huge difference.

#13 Rockwiz

Posted 02 December 2019 - 03:01 PM

View Postborn.a.girl, on 02 December 2019 - 02:36 PM, said:




You might be surprised.   I was able to stand back from the situation and understand what my role was.  Because my husband's the calm and slow to anger type, it didn't occur to him that he would need to stop and think about his role.

Guess who our daughter preferred to have teach her to drive?  Within a few months she said 'I'm never going with him again!'.

It's bliddy nerve wracking let me tell you.

You don't mention which state you're in, but in Vic, Vicroads has a fabulous booklet that comes with the learner's manual,  that's directed at the instructor and gives an idea of what YOUR role should be at each stage of learning.  I only read it after the first time out (as you do) and it made a huge difference.
We’re in Canberra and yes he received a booklet. We still have to work out whether he wants to go the lessons and final test route or the complete the log book but no test route. The latter will probably cost more money to have every box ticked off by an accredited instructor. DH has no choice but to be his support person as unfortunately I can’t do this one. It’s usually me who deals with all the kid’s stuff but this one I can’t.

#14 seayork2002

Posted 02 December 2019 - 03:02 PM

We do not own a car but may get one soon, DS is 12 and I may change my mind but what I am planning on doing is having him have about 10 hours of instructor lessons then letting him loose on our car, if we get one soon this will become his at the time and we will get another then.

I do have a license so will have lessons my self first so I can help supervise.

What I will also do is read the learner manual myself (and get DH too although he does drive) because I know correct driving and what each person actually does may be different ie different way to parallel park

#15 born.a.girl

Posted 02 December 2019 - 03:12 PM

View PostRockwiz, on 02 December 2019 - 03:01 PM, said:

We’re in Canberra and yes he received a booklet. We still have to work out whether he wants to go the lessons and final test route or the complete the log book but no test route. The latter will probably cost more money to have every box ticked off by an accredited instructor. DH has no choice but to be his support person as unfortunately I can’t do this one. It’s usually me who deals with all the kid’s stuff but this one I can’t.

Ah, I'm not familiar with the Canberra system at all, here they just need 120 hours full stop, if they're under 21, it doesn't matter who they're with.

The booklet I'm talking about is one specifically directed at parents, not at the learner. Separate from the learner log book etc.

Here's the PDF from Vicroads:

https://www.google.c...ndKzKhB-W3w-ems

#16 CaSPer79

Posted 03 December 2019 - 07:48 PM

DD 16 is learning to drive in my large SUV. We will be trading in DH's old car for a smaller SUV early next year though. So she will have options.
DH said last year he will not be teaching DD to drive because they just clash all the time but surprisingly he is actually taking her out and they are getting along great.

#17 Mumsyto2

Posted 03 December 2019 - 08:37 PM

It’s a really hard one. Ours have learnt on a larger SUV as we felt it was safer (for them!). It also has more safety features than our other smaller car.

We found they couldn’t afford a car we would be happy for them to drive in terms of safety, anything over 5 years was lacking the features we wanted for them. So we were a bit hamstrung there. Solved it by getting a new one so my ‘old’ one (4 years old but with best additional safety pack possible at the time) became a spare. So not gifted to anyone in particular but available as a spare. Guess who still drives my old car and who now drives my new car, hmmmm.

Not sure about your state but here if they take an advanced driving course they get credited additional hours. Maybe that’s an option for your son at some point after getting the hang of the basics?

#18 yeah

Posted 03 December 2019 - 08:49 PM

My DD bought herself a Camry. I prefer that to the small hatchbacks. Great car too.

#19 Dianalynch

Posted 03 December 2019 - 09:15 PM

It’s good to learn in a big car, and it will probably have better safety features than a car he could buy, just make sure your insurance covers him :)

#20 Mollycoddle

Posted 03 December 2019 - 10:19 PM

 born.a.girl, on 02 December 2019 - 03:12 PM, said:



Ah, I'm not familiar with the Canberra system at all, here they just need 120 hours full stop, if they're under 21, it doesn't matter who they're with.

They would need to test at the end though, wouldn't they? Here in Canberra you can do logbook where over the course of the lessons they tick off competencies. There's no test per se aside from the final run-through the instructor takes them through in the last 2 or so lessons.

In Canberra we currently don't have a set number of supervised practice hours but as of January 2020 they are bringing this in. Which will cause an issue for clients of our youth service as up til now we've been able to pay for up to a dozen lessons and most of them can get their Ps on that (I mentioned this in another thread once and was howled down, as the person who puts through invoices and books lessons in my organisation I can tell you this definitely happens here in the ACT currently, where conditions for P-platers are also comparatively lax). The kids we deal with usually don't have a parent or other responsible adult with a vehicle who can supervise their practice so I don't know how feasible getting their Ps will be for them as of January.

Ultimately it's a good thing for P-platers to get more road experience but I think there's a gap that exists for people like our clients which the government should address by funding special programs. Which makes me really mad as it is a concrete example of how the already disadvantaged in society are made even more disadvantaged.

Edited by Mollycoddle, 03 December 2019 - 10:23 PM.


#21 Froggilicious

Posted 03 December 2019 - 10:24 PM

View PostRockwiz, on 02 December 2019 - 12:25 PM, said:

Some great advice there. Thanks. It's helped me put a few things in perspective, though I'm still nervous about the whole thing. I dont think DH is going to be great at teaching him either - not his driving skills as he's a good driver - but his patience amd calmness. I think he will be an anxious 'supervisor' , which he has already admitted himself, all of which is adding to my nerves.
My dad was able to sit in on some lessons with an instructor when I was learning (a while ago now I'll admit) but it was really helpful for both of us and made him teaching me so much better.

#22 born.a.girl

Posted 04 December 2019 - 04:40 AM

View PostMollycoddle, on 03 December 2019 - 10:19 PM, said:

They would need to test at the end though, wouldn't they? Here in Canberra you can do logbook where over the course of the lessons they tick off competencies. There's no test per se aside from the final run-through the instructor takes them through in the last 2 or so lessons.

In Canberra we currently don't have a set number of supervised practice hours but as of January 2020 they are bringing this in. Which will cause an issue for clients of our youth service as up til now we've been able to pay for up to a dozen lessons and most of them can get their Ps on that (I mentioned this in another thread once and was howled down, as the person who puts through invoices and books lessons in my organisation I can tell you this definitely happens here in the ACT currently, where conditions for P-platers are also comparatively lax). The kids we deal with usually don't have a parent or other responsible adult with a vehicle who can supervise their practice so I don't know how feasible getting their Ps will be for them as of January.

Ultimately it's a good thing for P-platers to get more road experience but I think there's a gap that exists for people like our clients which the government should address by funding special programs. Which makes me really mad as it is a concrete example of how the already disadvantaged in society are made even more disadvantaged.


Yes, the still do a practical road test at the end of 120 hours, but it might be the first time you've driven with anyone other than just another appropriate driver.

The 120 hours only apply to 18 - 21. After 21 they don't need 120 hours, I assume they're considered to be a bit more mature by then.

Yeah, it's not cheap doing that many hours.  For us, the year she got most of her hours was when it was a five hour return trip to my mother, and we were all doing everything for her at that stage to keep her at home, so the trips were very frequent.

Those who live where we do, with good access to public transport, also find it difficult to keep the hours up, with has nothing to do with money, but some just doing random trips everywhere to get the hours up did not fit in with their approach to the environment.

Edited by born.a.girl, 04 December 2019 - 04:44 AM.





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