10 things to do to get your South African driver’s licence in no time!

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Having a driver’s licence is one of the most powerful and necessary pieces of paper a person can acquire in the 21st century. It allows one to travel long distances without relying on others and for some, can provide a foot in the door into the working world as a truck or taxi driver.

With all that, would you want to learn how to be prepared for your driver’s test with minimal effort? That is exactly what this article hopes to help you do. Let’s get started!

  1. Study the official K53 Light Motor Vehicle driver’s manual. I originally wanted to create a similar document to this one, but it is already the comprehensive document on the rules of the road and driving a car in South Africa. Refer to each section as you learn their content in your lessons, and you will be able to recall the correct procedures and rules easily.
  2. Learn the very basics of driving with your family or friends before getting proper lessons. Here I am assuming you will get a driving instructor for lessons. Before you do however, learn all the necessary components of the car, how to adjust your seat, mirrors and how to start and stop the car moving before you start lessons. This will mean you can start lessons with a bit of a head start and don’t spend money on things you could have learned at home.

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  3. Be prepared for lessons. This means sitting ten minutes before a lesson mentally preparing yourself for the hour ahead, clearing your mind of any distractions, recalling what you learned last time and what you will learn in the time ahead. This will allow you to be focused and present while driving in the lesson time. Being prepared also means ensuring you have had sufficient sleep the night before, a wholesome breakfast and if you are doing parking lessons, having money to pay for use of the parking practice facility.
  4. Keep a record of what you have done in each lesson. Even if you have the official K53 driver’s manual, take instructor-specific notes on what you learned that day. Important car-specific information such as what rev count you should change up a gear at should be recorded on paper or on a printed copy of the K53 driver’s manual.
  5. Get as much practice as you can. The only sure-fire way you can improve your driving skills is with experience. As such, you must practice at least once a week if you can. Drive your mom to the mall, or dad and dogs to the dog park. Whatever it is, you need to keep your skills sharp and experience as many situations as you can on the road to improve your skills for the lessons and your overall driving ability.

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  6. Get a new instructor if you must. If your instructor is unreliable, unprofessional or you just don’t get along with them, get a new one. This will save you a ton of annoying last-minute cancellations and make the whole driving journey less stressful and costly.
  7. Trust the process. Getting a driver’s licence is not an easy task, so be patient and trust the process of learning a new skill. You will have good and bad days, but don’t get too high or low. Know that to ascend this metaphorical mountain is simply a sequence of many small steps.
  8. Wear a cap on the day of the test. This is one of the oldest tricks in the book, and your instructor might tell you to do this one too. However, this is still useful as the peak of the cap moving makes it more evident to the tester where you are looking for the various K53 checks you will be required to do before every start, indication and turn. This allows you to lose less points for not checking correctly and give you a better chance of passing your test.

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  9. Don’t be intimidated by the tester. I felt daunted by my tester the first time I attempted my driver’s and failed because I rolled forward in the parallel parking section. This is as I was nervous, and the scary tester didn’t help. Don’t let this happen to you. Understand that they are only a person and mustn’t rush you. You have 20 minutes minutes to do the yard test and up to 45 minutes to do the road test. Talk yourself through every procedure before and during them and focus on what you have learned. The rest will take care of itself.
  10. If you fail, it’s okay. I did. As mentioned in the point above, I failed my first driver’s test and honestly it didn’t matter in the end. If you have sufficient funds to book another test, simply do after you failed the first, you will likely do the test again a few days later with no harm done. Just remember to bring enough cash, a copy of your learner’s, ID and a photo of yourself on the day of your first test in case you fail and need to book again.

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I hope this list provides useful tips to those seeking a driver’s licence. I have been where you are now and now wonder why I worried so much. You will get your licence, but it will require some dedication and grit to get it. Best of luck and I hope to see you driving around in no time!