Driving practice is the best way to become a more comfortable and skilled driver. But that doesn’t mean you should hop on the nearest roadway and go without a plan.
After all, Sydney is a city notorious for having intense traffic, and you want to steer clear of the really congested areas until you’re confident behind the wheel. That’s why it’s a good idea to go to an area where you’ll be able to practice driving safely at your level.
The Parkhound team wants to help you find the ideal driving location so you can practice driving. Whether you’re a complete beginner who just passed your learner’s test or want to hone your parking and driving skills for your upcoming P1 provisional licence, this guide will give you some great options for safe and stress-free driving practice.
Driving with your learner licence
Getting your learner licence is relatively easy. You have to pass the written Driver Knowledge Test and an eyesight exam, but you won’t have had any experience behind the wheel. Then, for the next 12 months, you’ll have the chance to log the necessary 120 hours to get your P1 provisional licence.
Practicing with a learner licence isn’t just necessary for you to reach the 120 logged hours that you need for the next step. It’s also a crucial practice opportunity for you to prepare for the driving test that will give you a P1 provisional licence.
So, it’s a good idea to make sure that your driving practice is helpful and effective. This will include finding a trusted driving supervisor, either professional or someone you know who is eligible for driving supervision, and driving in the right area.
Best areas to practice driving with a learner licence
As a complete beginner, you ideally want to practice driving in an area with little to no traffic. This means you need to have plenty of space to practice driving as well as different kinds of turns and parking techniques.
If you live in a quiet suburb that tends to have few cars on the road, it might be ideal to start there. In fact, driving in your own neighbourhood is a great option, since you’ll already enjoy a bit of familiarity with the driving landscape.
Once you’ve mastered the roads in your suburb, test the waters and try to branch out. Exploring new areas will invite you to build your awareness and confidence in unfamiliar situations.
Some of the best options for driving practice are car parks during weekdays, university campuses when classes are not in session, industrial estates and residential suburbs. Here are some of the most popular for new drivers in Sydney:
- Sydney Olympic Park. During weekdays, this area tends to be pretty clear, and you’ll get the chance to practice on roundabouts and intersections, while trying out your parallel parking skills.
- Silverwater. This is a small industrial area that’s ideal for driving practice. That said, it can sometimes become busy on the weekends with, well, other beginners! So, try it out mid-mornings during the week.
- Croydon Park and Ashbury. These peaceful suburbs have plenty of light traffic hours so that you can drive with peace of mind. And the wide roads and roundabouts in these areas are great for learners.
- Rosebery and Eastlakes. These two residential suburbs offer quiet and easygoing roads to practice on. Even though there are shopping centres or commercial zones in both of these areas, you’ll still find the traffic manageable as a beginner, especially when driving during midmorning weekdays. This is also a good area to try out your parallel parking skills.
Areas to avoid with a learner licence
As you know already, some areas, including Parramatta Park and Centennial Park, are off-limits to drivers with a learner licence. This is because these areas are simply too busy and chaotic for new drivers.
However, there are areas that you may want to steer clear of as well, even though there are no set restrictions. By avoiding these key high-traffic regions, you’ll be able to build your driving confidence and keep everyone safe on the road. These no-go zones include:
- The M5 Motorway
- Parramatta Road/ Great Western Highway
- Pacific Highway
- Princes Highway, Newtown
- The CBD, and all surrounding suburbs
- Pennant Hills Road
- Hume Highway, Liverpool. This roadway was actually ranked highest in the number of traffic accidents in 2022.
As there are quite a few areas of Sydney where you will not want to practice driving, you might opt to rent a parking space through Parkhound in the quieter suburbs where you feel more comfortable. By parking your vehicle in Marrickville, Croydon, or another peaceful area, you won’t have to worry about navigating through high traffic zones before reaching your practice suburb.
Best times to drive
As you can see, there are plenty of places throughout Sydney where you can learn to drive without too many other cars on the road. Another thing to consider is the time of day.
Early mornings are wonderful for driving thanks to the usually light traffic condition during this period. But, you’ll want to make sure that you give yourself enough time to get off of the road before morning traffic picks up. You certainly don’t want to be caught in a busy suburb when the commuters get on the road.
As the morning rush dies down, mid-morning hours can also be also a great time to get some practice in. Visibility during this time is ideal, and you can expect some light traffic, which is good if you’ve been driving for a few weeks or months.
Taking a drive during mid-afternoon hours after lunch hour is another option, although you may have to contend with after school traffic. While these conditions might not be ideal for beginners, but you might find that you’re ready to navigate some moderate afternoon traffic.
Lastly, night-time is another option for novice drivers. Now, eventually, you’ll want to start driving at night, although you’ll want to stick to low traffic areas at first.
Common mistakes of new drivers, and tips for getting on the road
As you start to explore Sydney behind the wheel, there are a few final tips and considerations to keep in mind so that you can become a successful driver.
- Create a basic practice driving test NSW with your supervisor ahead of time. As we’ve discussed, there are some suburbs that are going to be easy to navigate from end-to-end. Others, though, may have some busy areas that you want to avoid. As you’re starting out, make sure that you and your driving supervisor have a basic plan of which streets to avoid.
- Always check your blind spots. No matter where and when you drive, there will always be driving hazards. You’ll likely already be looking for other cars, but don’t forget to keep your eyes peeled for pedestrians and cyclists as well.
- Make signaling second nature. Forgetting to signal is a common mistake in driving tests, so make sure that it becomes a habit early on.
- Stay calm and alert. Accidents tend to happen when drivers are either not paying enough attention or are overwhelmed. If you find yourself leaning in either direction, it’s a good idea to stop the session and try again when you’re calm and focused.
Good luck, new drivers!
Whether you’ve just passed your learners test or are well on your way to getting your P1 provisional licence, this guide will help you seek out the stress-free Sydney suburbs for your driving test practice. If you have suggestions or questions about driving practice, reach out to the Parkhound team!
Ready to venture beyond Sydney?
Driving out of your comfort zone may feel like a daunting task, but don’t worry! Parkhound has got you covered.
Whether you’re braving the bustling streets of Melbourne or Brisbane, or setting out on a west-side adventure in Perth, rest assured we have convenient parking options that adapts to your changing needs, so you can focus on your journey.
As you explore different cities and landscapes, having hassle-free parking is crucial. Whether you’re settling in Canberra or commuting daily in North Sydney, Parkhound offers convenient monthly parking plans, so you can focus on your priorities, worry-free.