A long distance drive is a journey of 2 or more hours. It’s a challenging driving task for new drivers, so make sure to practise it with them.

Long distance driving requires a lot of concentration over a long period of time. It also usually involves a variety of road, weather and traffic conditions.

For these reasons, it should only be undertaken by drivers with more advanced driving skills like experienced learners or restricted licence holders.

If your restricted driver is ready to try long distance driving, you don’t have to make a special trip somewhere. Simply use a trip that you were planning anyway such as a holiday, family outing or work trip.

Planning and preparation

Planning and preparation play a large part in making sure your restricted driver completes their long distance journey safely.

Here are a few key points to go through together:

  • Be well rested before starting your journey.
  • Check weather, road and traffic conditions before you go.
  • Allow plenty of time to get to your destination.
  • Plan to stop at least every two hours for a rest.

For more details on the planning stage, review our restricted lesson, Preparing and planning for a journey.

Preparing and planning for a journey

Coaching during the lesson

During this lesson, leave all decisions up to the driver and only get involved if there is a safety concern.

Get them to discover their own mistakes by asking appropriate questions that’ll lead them to the issue and solution. Remember the WASP technique (Wait, Ask, Show, Practise).

WASP technique

Driving skills to focus on

  • Observation: Make sure your restricted driver checks their mirrors and maintains a 12-second search ahead. This will help keep them aware of oncoming and surrounding traffic.
  • Signs: There will be a lot of road signs. For example compulsory, advisory and information signs. It’s important they observe these signs and make the necessary driving adjustments. For example, an advisory speed sign on a curve.
  • Speed control: Do they stay within the speed limits and drive at a safe speed for the conditions?
  • Following distance: Check they maintain a 2-second following distance in normal conditions. Or, a 4-second following distance in wet or icy conditions.
  • Curves: Check your restricted driver displays the correct driving technique through curves. Do they brake before a curve and use the correct lines in and out of the curve?
  • Positioning: Make sure your restricted driver keeps left and doesn’t cross the centreline at any time, except when passing.
  • Sharing the road: Do they have a patient and courteous attitude towards sharing the road?
  • Indicating: Check your restricted driver uses their indicators to communicate any change in direction.
  • Passing: When passing slow traffic, check your restricted driver does so safely. They’ll still need at least 100 metres of clear road ahead when they have completed the passing routine.
  • Distractions: Can they manage or remove distractions inside or outside the car?
  • Stopping: If necessary, check your restricted driver can come to a stop in a safe place. Remember, they’ll need to be as far left as possible or off the road.
  • Rest breaks: When driving long distance, your restricted driver should take rest breaks at least every 2 hours.
  • Fatigue: Can they recognise the warning signs of fatigue and find a safe place to stop and rest?