Common questions

Confused? Worried? We've compiled some of the top questions we get about the restricted test.

If you have a different question about the test, or a specific question about driving, try using our answer search on the restricted hub.

Can I find out what the test route will be so I can practise it before the test?


Waka Kotahi NZ Transport Agency doesn’t publish or publicise test routes because the aim of the test is not to assess how well you can drive a route you already know well. The aim is to make sure you can drive safely during a range of driving manoeuvres and in various types of traffic. This way, they can make sure you’re safe to drive on any New Zealand roads by yourself – not just roads you’re familiar with.

Most testing locations will have several different routes that testing officers can use, so even if a friend or driving instructor helps you practise a test route that they know, it won’t necessarily be the same route that gets used for your test.

The Testing Officer will tell you exactly when and where to perform manoeuvres during the test. That means you won’t have to worry about working out where you’re going or planning the route, so you can just focus on driving as well as you can.

If you’re nervous about driving on unfamiliar roads, it’s a good idea to practise driving around the area where the test will start from to give you a bit more confidence.

If you have the chance, it could also be a good idea to drive at around the same time of day that your test is booked for: the traffic can get a lot busier around morning and evening rush-hours as well as around schools at home-time.

Can I have someone else in the car with me during the test?

Sure. One person max. But they must be over 20 years old and must not talk or do anything distracting during the test.

You can have one support person in the car with you if they meet the requirements.

Children, infants and pets aren’t allowed because they might be a distraction for you or the Testing Officer.

The support person must not talk or distract you or the testing officer during the test (if they do the test will be stopped and you will need to book and pay for another test). You must agree to the support person going on the test with you and the Testing Officer will specifically check with you that you agree.

Information for the day of your practical driving test

How long do I need to practise driving before I can take my test?

As long as it takes. Make sure you’re 100% confident on all the skills you’ll be tested on and check with your coach.

As a driver, you’re the best person to decide whether you're confident about each skill you practise. If in doubt, ask your driving coach’s opinion or book a lesson with a professional driving instructor.

We recommend you aim to get around 120 hours of supervised driving practice in a range of situations and conditions before you consider taking your test. That’s a little over two hours driving per week for a year. However, some people will need more and some people less.

If you can do all the starting out, beginner, intermediate and experienced skills (except towing trailers) outlined in our Restricted Test section confidently and consistently, then that’s a good sign you’re probably ready.

If I sit my test in an automatic, does that mean I’m only licensed to drive an automatic?

Yes. But you can still drive a manual if you have a supervisor or coach with you in the car.

Do I need to provide my own vehicle for the test?

You sure do. And it’s up to you to make sure it’s roadworthy and safe to drive.

Check your car before the test

Will doing a defensive driving course cut down the time before I can apply for my restricted?

Nope. But once you’re on your restricted, doing one will mean you can apply for your full licence after 12 months, rather than 18.

If this is something you’re interested in, take a look at the approved driving course providers.

Approved driving course providers