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Driving Training in Victoria, BC

Like all skills, driving a car safely requires training and practice. Safe driving requires a high degree of situational awareness—you must know what’s going on not only in front of you but all around you. Driving requires the coordination of at least three senses and your whole body, and sometimes requires instantaneous decisions to avoid harm to yourself or others.

Driving schools in Victoria, BC, can provide a lot of this training—which mainly comes by experience. As you look around for driving schools, make sure you select one which knows Victoria well.

Graduated Licensing

British Columbia has a graduated license system. Each step of the system requires a period of safe driving.

The Learner’s License is available to you once you turn 16 years old. To get your “L” license, you need to pass both a vision and knowledge test at any Insurance Corporation of British Columbia (ICBC) driver licensing office.

The ICBC offers many resources to help you pass the knowledge test. They note that many of the questions will be on road signs, and offer a practice road signs test. You may take the knowledge test as many times as you need, but each attempt is $15.

Under your L license, you may only drive with a proper supervisor. A proper supervisor can be a parent or guardian, or a licensed driving instructor from a driving school. Many families use a combination of themselves and driving instructors to provide the supervision. The supervisor must be at least 25 and have a Class 1, 2, 3, 4, or 5 license.

You may not use an electronic device while driving. In addition, only one passenger other than the supervisor may be in the car. You may not drive between midnight and 5 am.

The Novice License is available after a year of supervised driving under the L license. The Novice (“N”) or Class 7 license requires a road test at the ICBC. The test itself takes about 45 minutes, and will cover most of the skills expected of good drivers. The ICBC states that they are not looking for perfection, but you should demonstrate solid control of the vehicle.

On the N license, you may drive on your own. You are limited to one passenger other than immediate family, unless you have a proper supervisor driver in the car also. There are no time restrictions for driving on an N license.

While there’s no set number of hours of behind-the-wheel driving required by ICBC, they do recommend that you have at least 60 hours of supervised driving around Victoria and nearby areas completed. They do provide a log sheet which you can use to track your hours, as well as a list of skills you should master.

Both L and N licenses require the display of a magnetic sign on the back of the car.

The Full License (or Class 5 license) can be yours after two years of clean driving on an N license. You will have to take a more challenging road test to receive the Full license.

ICBC examiners have a number of key tips to help you pass the Full or Class 5 license test. If you follow these, you will increase your chance of passage.

  • Watch your speed
  • Keep your distance
  • Come to a full stop
  • Scan intersections carefully
  • Shoulder check
  • Make clean turns
  • Practice, practice, practice

Should I Use a Driving School?

Some parents may wonder if using a driving school is worth the price. Most parents are experienced, safe drivers, and they know the driving habits they want to teach their students as they drive around Victoria. Many parents were also taught by their parents, and may see it as good bonding time with their teen drivers.

Being able to do something well, however, does not mean that you can teach it well. In addition, your good habits may be so much part of you that you don’t think of them consciously, which means you can’t pass them on. In addition, most experienced drivers have short-cuts which are safe because of experience, but might not be safe when committed by a new driver.

For example, you might know that driving the speed of traffic is safe, and thus are comfortable driving at 130 km/h on the highway—but that’s not good for a new driver. You may tend to flatten curves by crossing the middle line. You want to make sure your new driver follows the rules and learns by experience.

Driving school instructors in Victoria also can provide sample road test sessions as part of their time with you. Many driving schools can pick you up and drop you off at home, if its within their service area.

Adult Driving Lessons

Adults can learn, too!  Driving schools can assist adults learning to drive, as well as people who want to brush up on their skills. Around 5,000 adults take re-exam road tests each year.

Re-tests can be required for several reasons. Medical conditions may affect your driving ability. A crash or other police report may indicate the need for a re-test. An expired or suspended license will also lead to a re-test.

Senior citizens may also want to help preserve their freedom through driving lessons. These lessons will guide older drivers to being aware of the effects aging might have on driving. Awareness of slightly slower reflexes will help keep you behind the wheel.

Driving Around Victoria

Everyone on Vancouver Island wants the roads to be safe. Safety requires all drivers to be well-trained, responsible drivers. Using the services of a Victoria driving school will make you a safer driver.

The money you spend for your professional driving school may be the best investment you can make in keeping Victoria’s roads safe.

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