How long the test will take?

Your test will not take more than 35 minutes (minimum drive time of 25 minutes unless the test is terminated). Allow at least 1 hour to complete all administrative activities. Uncontrollable events (e.g. road works and accidents) may affect test timing.

Pre-drive check

The driving examiner will assess your ability to locate and explain the following vehicle controls before you begin driving:

  • Mirrors
  • Headlights (high and low beam)
  • Hazard lights
  • Windscreen wipers and washer
  • Windscreen demister
  • Rear window demister (if fitted)
  • Air conditioner
  • Seat adjustment

A non-critical error occurs for failing to locate and explain how to operate any control.

How your driving will be assessed

You will be asked to perform tasks in different driving situations designed to evaluate your ability to drive safely assessed against a number of performance checks.

Key driving situations

High-speed merging

High-speed merges require you to effectively use a range of vehicle controls and hazard perception skills in a rapidly changing environment with the fast flow of traffic. You will be required to complete a high-speed merge, or if the infrastructure doesn’t allow for a high-speed merge, to turn from a side road into a higher speed road.

Turning at intersections

Safely turning at intersections requires you to effectively us a range of vehicle control and hazard perception skills (e.g. observation practices, appropriate signalling, applying give way rules, exercising judgement, and demonstrating vehicle control by turning smoothly). You will be required to perform a number of right and left turns at controlled and uncontrolled intersections, such as T intersections and cross roads.

Performance checks

Most performance checks are assessed as you drive. For example, as you negotiate a roundabout, use of signalling, road position, judgement, clutch control and steering could be assessed. Performance checks focus on your safe and effective operation of the car and your hazard perception skills.

Ancillary vehicle controls

Safe drivers operate all ancillary controls correctly while maintaining full control. You must start the engine correctly and always wear a seat belt. Never open the door while your car is moving or use a mobile phone while your car is moving or stationary. You will be expected to:

  • Operate all ancillary controls correctly as need when you drive.
  • Have your mirrors adjusted for the best view of the traffic behind you.
  • Wear a correctly fitted seat belt.
  • Respond appropriately to the car’s instruments.
  • Not use a handheld mobile phone.

An error will be recorded if you don’t operate the ancillary controls correctly.

Non-critical driving errors

  • Operating an ancillary control incorrectly or inappropriately
  • Wearing a seat belt that is not correctly fitted
  • Failing to start the engine because of incorrect gear selection in an auto
  • Assuming the engine is running when it is not
  • Attempting to start the engine when it is already running
  • Failing to start the engine or engage the gear of the car because of any electronic disabling device.

Critical driving errors

  • Failing to wear a seat belt when legally required
  • Failing to operate an ancillary control leading to a potentially dangerous situation
  • Using a handheld mobile phone while moving or stationary, but not parked

Gears, Clutch Control and Stalling

You must control the clutch to produce a smooth take up and assist in changing gears. Gear selection must be appropriate for the speed and conditions. Use all gears during your test and control the car to prevent unnecessary stalling. You will be expected to:

  • Select the appropriate gear for the situation.
  • Coordinate clutch and gear control to make smooth gear changes.
  • Avoid over-revving on take-off and during gear changes.
  • Control the clutch and gears to avoid stalling the car.
  • Remain off the clutch unless changing gears or preventing the car from stalling.

An error will be recorded if you don’t operate the clutch and gear appropriately for the conditions or if you stall the car.

Non-critical driving errors

  • Selecting an inappropriate gear for the situation.
  • Coasting in neutral for 3-5 seconds.
  • Changing gear or attempting to change gear without using the clutch.
  • Failing to re-select Drive appropriately during the auto gear change exercise.
  • Excessively and continuously riding the clutch.
  • Resting your foot on the clutch when not operating it for more than 15 seconds.
  • Releasing the clutch too quickly.
  • Coasting with clutch depressed prior to or during a turn.
  • Coasting with clutch depressed for 3-5 seconds.
  • Failing to use the clutch in an appropriate way to maintain control at low speeds.
  • Operating the clutch incorrectly.
  • Stalling the car.

Specific repeated driving errors

  • 6 or more non-critical instances of clutch coasting
  • 6 or more non-critical instances of stalling

Critical driving errors

  • Demonstrating a serious lack of knowledge and ability in changing gears appropriately for speed, car or conditions.
  • 􏰀􏰀􏰀􏰀Coasting in neutral for more than 5 seconds.
  • 􏰀􏰀􏰀􏰀Operating clutch in a way that compromises the safe operation of the car.
  • 􏰀􏰀􏰀􏰀Stalling that causes an obstruction or contributes to a dangerous situation.

Accelerating and braking

You must operate the accelerator and brakes smoothly and progressively to both accelerate and decelerate appropriately for the situation. You will be expected to:

  • Operate the accelerator smoothly and progressively.
  • Avoid over-revving the engine.
  • Operate the brakes smoothly and effectively to maintain control of the car.
  • Prevent the car rolling back when starting on a hill.
  • Use the handbrake correctly and ensure it is fully released when driving.

An error will be recorded if you don’t smoothly and progressively operate the accelerator and brakes appropriately for conditions.

Non-critical driving errors

  • Operating the accelerator in an uncontrolled manner.
  • Applying too much accelerator causing excessive revving, while the clutch is disengaged or partially disengaged.
  • Operating the brake excessively or erratically causing the car to pitch forward.
  • Failing to use the handbrake or foot brake when stationary (e.g. at traffic lights).
  • Rolling on a grade where safety is not compromised.
  • Applying foot brake heavily during a turn.
  • Leaving the handbrake on while in motion without affecting car performance.
  • Using your left foot for braking.

Critical driving errors

  • Operating the accelerator in a way that compromises safety.
  • Unnecessarily braking abruptly causing vehicles to take evasive action.
  • Rolling on a grade where safety is compromised.
  • Heavy brake operation that causes the wheels to lock up and skid.
  • Riding the brake causing erratic vehicle control.
  • Using the handbrake at a speed higher than a fast walk causing a loss of control
  • Leaving the handbrake on in a way that affects the performance of the car.

Steering

You must steer accurately and at the appropriate time, maintaining a safe and steady course for the road and traffic conditions using the hand over hand or pull-push steering method allowing full control of the car. You will be expected to:

  • Steer accurately and stay on track.
  • Steer in a way that assists you to control the car.
  • Steer with both hands unless you are operating vehicle controls.
  • Keep your hands on the outside of the steering wheel.
  • Keep your hands in a position that allows you to adjust your steering.

An error will be recorded if you don’t steer effectively and safely.

Non-critical driving errors

  • Failing to steer a steady course.
  • Rolling up an angle type kerb without mounting it.
  • Operating the steering wheel incorrectly:
  • Placing hands inside the rim of steering wheel.
  • Steering with one hand only, or using the palm of one hand.
  • Steering with arms crossed or in a way that restricts wheel movement.

Specific repeated driving error

  • 6 or more non-critical steering control errors.

Critical driving errors

  • Losing control of the steering wheel.
  • Removing both hands from the steering wheel while the car is in motion.

Road position

You must choose the appropriate road position for conditions, selecting the best lane and positioning your car safely within the lane. You must overtake and stop or park correctly. You will be expected to:

  • Maintain a safe, legal position on the road.
  • Choose the best position for the road and traffic conditions.
  • Drive safely within the lane.
  • Overtake only when it is safe and legal to do so.
  • Stop or park only when it is safe and legal to do so.

An error will be recorded if your car is not in the correct position appropriate to the road or traffic situation or you overtake, stop or park incorrectly.

Non-critical driving errors

  • Failing to stay within the confines of a lane.
  • Driving with less than 1/3 of the car needlessly on the incorrect side of the road.
  • Taking a road position inappropriate for the prevailing conditions by failing to read the road ahead and make necessary adjustments to your course.
  • Failing to keep left, where practicable, on a two-way road.
  • Unnecessarily driving in the right lane.
  • Stopping or parking illegally.

Specific repeated driving error

  • 6 or more non-critical road position errors.

Critical driving errors

  • Taking an inappropriate course straight through a multi-lane roundabout/intersection.
  • Overtaking inappropriately (e.g. without clear view of approaching traffic).
  • Stopping on a level crossing.
  • Stopping on a crest or curve with less than 100m clear visibility to the rear.
  • Driving with 1/3 or more of the car needlessly on the incorrect side of the road.
Screen Shot 2016-02-15 at 12.36.22 pm Screen Shot 2016-02-15 at 12.36.10 pm

 

Turning positions

You must maintain appropriate road position throughout turning in a variety of situations (multi-lane roads, roundabouts and intersections). You will be expected to:

  • Select and maintain the correct road position when turning.
  • Turn from the correct marked lane (when the road has marked lanes).
  • Stay within the lane or on the correct side of the road when turning.
  • Take the appropriate course when turning at a multi-lane intersection where allowed to turn from more than one marked lane.

An error will be recorded if you don’t maintain appropriate road position when turning.

Non-critical driving errors

  • Approaching a left turn while not as close as practical to the left side of the road.
  • During a left turn, failing to position the car as near as practical to the left road boundary (e.g. finishing unnecessarily close to the centre of a two-way road).
  • Turning left from a multi-lane road with a slip lane using an inappropriate path.
  • On approach to a right turn, failing to keep within the lane or to the left of, as close as practical and parallel to the road centre, dividing line or median strip.
  • Not turning right from as close as practical to the right side of a one-way street.
  • Positioning the front wheels to the right while waiting to turn right.
  • Making a wide right turn unnecessarily to the left of the centre of an intersection.
  • Cutting the corner marginally when turning right without causing danger.

Critical driving errors

  • Turning from, or through, an incorrect or non-allocated marked lane.
  • Taking an inappropriate course when turning at a multi-lane intersection where it is permitted to commence the turn from more than one marked lane.
  • Causing other vehicles to take evasive action because of incorrect positioning when turning left.
  • Undertaking a U-turn on a multi-lane roundabout from the left lane.
  • Driving 1/3 or more of the car needlessly on the incorrect side of road.
Screen Shot 2016-02-15 at 1.37.02 pm Screen Shot 2016-02-15 at 1.36.14 pm

 

Speed choice

You must drive at a safe and legal speed, progressing with the flow of traffic at a speed appropriate for the situation and conditions. Acceleration should be smooth, progressive and appropriate. You will be expected to:

  • Comply with the legal speed limit.
  • Drive a speed that is suitable and safe for the conditions.
  • Vary your speed appropriately to suit the conditions or manoeuvre.
  • Smoothly adjust to a suitable and safe speed.

An error will be recorded if you don’t appropriately and legally manage your speed.

Non-critical driving errors

  • Failing to adjust speed appropriately when merging in response to an advisory speed sign.
  • Failing to adjust speed appropriately when merging.
  • Accelerating too rapidly or slowly for the traffic and environmental conditions.
  • Driving too fast for the situation (incl. in reverse) but not exceeding speed limit.
  • Driving too slowly for the traffic and environmental conditions.

Critical driving errors

  • Driving over the speed limit.
  • Increasing speed while being overtaken.
  • Driving too fast for the situation, including in reverse, and compromising safety.
  • Driving excessively slowly for the traffic and environmental conditions.

Observation, scanning and shoulder checks

You must constantly scan, observe and monitor the driving environment in every direction to maintain a high level of awareness, using the rear vision mirrors on the approach to any hazard or potential hazard. You must respond quickly and defensively if a hazard occurs. You will be expected to:

  • Continually scan and observe the road ahead, beside and behind your car.
  • Regularly check your mirrors so you know what is happening behind you.
  • Check your blind spots before changing your road position.
  • Look behind you before and while reversing.
  • Be aware of traffic conditions beyond the immediate vicinity of your car.
  • Respond in a quick and defensive manner if a road or traffic hazard occurs.

An error will be recorded if you don’t appropriately scan, observe and monitor the driving environment or respond appropriately to a hazard.

Non-critical driving errors

  • Failing to scan and observe the road ahead, to the sides and behind the car.
  • Late/rushed scanning and not scanning in the correct direction for hazards.
  • Failing to conduct a shoulder check at every lane change or divergence.
  • Failing to scan and observe primarily to the rear while reversing.
  • Diverting attention away from the driving task for an inappropriate period of time.
  • Failing to check the rear vision mirrors before slowing or stopping the car, turning, changing lanes, diverging, merging or confronting any traffic hazard.
  • Staring into a mirror for a prolonged period (excessive for the situation).
  • Failing to respond appropriately or quickly enough in the event of a hazard.

Specific repeated driving error

  • 6 or more non-critical diverging situations where shoulder checks do not occur.

Critical driving errors

  • Failing to scan and observe at an uncontrolled intersection, uncontrolled level crossing or intersection with a traffic control (e.g. give way sign).
  • Diverting attention from the direction of travel, including conducting blind spot checks, in a way that compromises the safety of the driving task.
  • Failing to undertake any observation to the rear when reversing.

Judgement

You must choose a safe gap so other drivers don’t have to take evasive action and aren’t unnecessarily delayed when negotiating intersections, changing lanes and merging, responding appropriately to traffic and pedestrians. You will be expected to:

  • Decide which gap allows you sufficient space to safely complete the manoeuvre.
  • Select and drive smoothly into the first available safe gap after observing traffic.
  • Reject unsafe gaps.
  • Respond to the speed and distance of traffic and pedestrians.

An error will be recorded if you don’t exercise appropriate judgement.

Non-critical driving errors

  • Giving way unnecessarily to a road user (incorrect application of give way rules).
  • Failing to appropriately judge the speed and distance of other vehicles while negotiating lane changes, intersections, or merging situations.
  • Stopping where there are no vehicles/pedestrians present and it is clear.
  • Stopping appropriately, but not proceeding when presented with a safe gap.

Specific repeated driving error

  • 4 or more non-critical judgement errors

Critical driving errors

  • Entering a choked intersection causing obstruction to road users or trains.
  • Entering a level crossing causing obstruction to road users or trains.
  • Failing to leave an intersection when the lights turn yellow or red, after moving into the intersection on a green light waiting to turn right.
  • Failing to give way to vehicles and road users.

Safety margins

You must maintain a condition-appropriate following distance from the vehicle in front and a safe distance between you other road users and obstacles you are passing. Ensure you are correctly positioned when stopped in traffic. You will be expected to:

  • Adjust speed to maintain an appropriate gap from the vehicle in front.
  • Leave a safe distance when passing or overtaking vehicles and obstacles.
  • Change your road position to create space from hazards.
  • Leave the minimum distance between you and cyclists when passing.
  • Leave 1-2 car lengths to the vehicle in front when stopped in traffic.

An error will be recorded if you follow a vehicle too closely, stop too close to a vehicle in traffic, or don’t leave a safe distance when passing road users and obstacles.

Non-critical driving errors

  • Reducing the following distance from the vehicle in front to 1-2 seconds in good conditions or 2-4 seconds in adverse conditions.
  • Stopping in a line of traffic with insufficient space from the vehicle in front.
  • Driving too close to parked vehicles, cyclists, pedestrians or oncoming traffic at normal road speeds, without compromising safety.
  • Driving too close to the left edge/kerb or the right edge/kerb of a one-way road.

Specific repeated driving error

  • 4 or more non-critical safety margin errors.

Critical driving errors

  • Reducing the following distance from the vehicle in front to 1 second or less in good conditions or 2 seconds or less in adverse conditions.
  • Failing to maintain a safe distance when close to other road users or obstacles.
  • Failing to leave a minimum distance of 1m when passing cyclists in a 60km/h or less speed zone, or 1.5m in speed zone in excess of 60km/h.

Signalling

Signal in the correct direction long enough to give road users sufficient warning of your intention to turn, diverge, change lanes, or move to the edge of the road. Signal for at least 5 seconds before moving from a stationary position. You will be expected to:

  • Indicate for as long as necessary to let other road users know your intentions.
  • Indicate for at least 5 seconds before moving off from a stationary position.
  • Keep the indicator on until you have completed the manoeuvre.
  • Stop indicating within 5 seconds of completing the manoeuvre.

An error will be recorded if you don’t appropriately signal intention to turn or diverge.

Non-critical driving errors

  • Failing to signal with sufficient warning before a manoeuvre that requires it.
  • Failing to signal left before exiting a roundabout.
  • Activating the signal in the wrong direction.
  • Failing to cancel the signal within 5 seconds of turn or divergence completion.
  • Cancelling the signal prematurely before the turn or divergence is completed.
  • Signalling unnecessarily, where confusion to other road users may occur.

Specific repeated driving error

  • 6 or more non-critical signalling errors.

Critical driving error

  • Signalling incorrectly and causing a dangerous situation.

Signs, traffic signals and road markings

You must obey any regulatory road sign/marking or traffic signal (you are allowed to cross single and double continuous white dividing lines to avoid an obstruction or to pass a cyclist – when safe). You will be expected to:

  • Comply with all road signs and traffic signals and road markings.
  • Come to a complete stop at stop signs and lines, stopping before the stop line or as near as practicable but before entering the intersection if there is no line.
  • Safely and effectively drive through intersections with traffic lights, without blocking the intersection or causing unnecessary delays.

An error will be recorded if you don’t obey a road sign/marking or traffic signal.

Non-critical driving errors

  • Bringing the car to a stop protruding marginally over a stop line.
  • Disobeying a ‘through traffic keep right’ sign.
  • Not entering an intersection on a green light to wait for a safe gap turning right.
  • Inappropriately moving into an intersection behind another vehicle when turning right and facing a green light.
  • Demonstrating poor knowledge or understanding of traffic signals.
  • Unnecessarily crossing a continuous line separating lanes.

Critical driving errors

  • Disobeying any regulatory road sign, traffic signal or road marking.
  • Disobeying a stop sign by driving through it at any speed or not stopping at the line or, if no line, as near as practical to but before the intersection.
  • Stopping with the car over the stop line or intersection to an extent that could cause a potentially dangerous situation.

 

Continue reading the Your Guide to the Q-SAFE: Practical Driving Test Summary:

1. Introduction

2. Your Test Vehicle

3. Scoring Criteria

4. Taking the Test

5. Manoeuvres

6. After the Test


Check out the other QLD Driving Test resources available to help you pass the Q-SAFE Practical Driving Test and get your provisional P1 licence (Red Ps) or, if 25 or over, P2 provisional licence (Green Ps):

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