You can finally start to taste that freedom you’ve been longing for since entering your teen years – getting your learner’s licence. If only it was as simple as getting into the driver’s seat on your 18th birthday and driving off into the sunset.
Unfortunately it isn’t as simple as it all seems in the movies. You first need a learner’s license before you can even consider getting into the driver’s seat. But as with all things, it’s about taking it step by step. Getting your learner’s isn’t that difficult. It mainly requires dedication to study times and the ability to remember tons of road rules. And, the test is multiple choice, which can also make things a little less of a hurdle.
So, let me tell what you need to know.
The way it works in South Africa, and pretty much everywhere else in the world, is you get your learners licence a year before you are able to get your driver’s licence. So here I’ll give you the low down of what steps you need to take to be a legal learner driver on the road.
The learner’s licence exam tests your theoretical knowledge on how to drive and obey the rules of the road. Some of the theoretical knowledge includes road sign knowledge, road rules and vehicle controls (where the accelerator is and how to start a car). You can write it once you’ve turned 17.
Booking & Writing your Learner’s
Just before or once you’ve turned 17, you can go to the traffic department to book a date on which to write your learner’s.
For the booking, make sure you take the following along:
- ID book
- two black and white ID photos
- the amount you need to book the test (price varies according to location)
Once you’ve made a booking, keep the booking receipt in a safe place!
Click here to see details about the test, and get contact numbers for your nearest departments.
Fill in LL1 form
At the traffic department, you will need to fill in the LL1 form to book your learner’s licence test. Most of us just want to be able to drive a normal car, this is the Code 2 licence.
Other codes you might be interested in are: motorcycle without a side car with an engine not exceeding 125cm3 (A1), motorcycle without a side car with an engine exceeding 125cm3 (A), a heavy vehicle like a big bakkie or a taxi (any future taxi drivers out there – you need this one).
After booking, you need to go queue to do the eye test. This test is compulsory. If you wear glasses, take them with you, or take a note from your optometrist if necessary.
Study the K53 book
Study the road rules. The K53 book is available in most stores, your local grocery store should have it as well as book stores. Some driving schools also offer classes for the learners licence.
Online mock tests
There are some awesome websites which have online tests you can practice with. I would not suggest relying solely on these. Study the handbook first and then use the mock test as an indicator of your knowledge.
Write the test
On the day of your test you must take your ID and the booking receipt. If you pass the test, you must pay an issue fee. Ask them what that will be when you book your test. The issuing fee will depend on what code license you selected and your municipality.
Once you’ve passed your learners, you are free to roam the roads. Almost had you there, didn’t I? The thing is, you can roam, but you need someone with a valid driver’s licence in the passenger seat at all times. The passenger can be any age as long as he/she has a valid driver’s license. Try to find someone patient and responsible who can teach you how to drive (and perhaps that person should have a decent amount of courage too!).
Your learners license will be valid for 2 years, so be sure to get your drivers within those two years otherwise you will have to go through the above process all over again. It’s not worth the PT and believe me, you really do want to get your driver’s license as soon as physically possible.
The process involved in getting your learner’s license really is not too complex. Just remember to be safe and follow the rules of the road. Read Part 2 on How to get your Driver’s Licence to find out the procedures involved, as well as about the different driving schools. Good luck!