The best driving schools in Canberra

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Canberra’s Best Driving Schools

What are Canberra’s best driving schools? Photo: file.

Canberran’s are blessed with some of the best road networks in the world. In saying that, we agree that they are not without issue! But, travel abroad, and you will soon realise that the quality of our road system is far above that of most.

Our roads play an integral role in getting us from point A to point B – quickly and safely. And as more young drivers approach the age of putting the pedal to the proverbial metal, road safety has never been more important.

Young driver road incident statistics are quite sombre. Under 25’s are over-represented in accidents across the board. With the safety of our youngest drivers at risk, the development of driver competencies is key.

While there is always a place for parentally supervised sessions, formal instruction is a great way to achieve this. This is where Canberra’s driving schools can help.

Driving schools offer structured lessons that maximise driving ability, and develop safe road habits. They cover a range of vehicles, from motorcycles and scooters, through to cars, trucks, and buses.

Open to new drivers and those wishing to gain more confidence, driving schools are the perfect place to begin. And, as learning how to drive is a rite of passage for many young Canberrans, this choice must be taken seriously.

Fortunately, we’ve rounded up the best driving schools in the region to help get you on your way.

What makes a great driving school?

Great driving schools understand there is more to driving than merely passing a test. They developing lifelong driving skills, creating future generations of safer drivers. Furthermore, the best are led by seasoned instructors, who get the most out of each and every student. Keep these things in mind while evaluating your next driving school:

  • Clear credentials. When it comes to driver education, establishing the credentials of the school – and instructors is crucial. All driving educators must hold a Certificate IV in Transport and Logistics matched to the appropriate vehicle of instruction. Additionally, instructors must be appropriately licenced with a state issued Driving Instructors Licence. Beyond these credentials a great reputation is key. Seek recommendations from family and friends, and you will soon have a list of the best driving schools around.
  • Well-seasoned instructors. Anyone who has spent time on the road understands just what experience brings. And the same holds true when choosing a driving school. In fact, the best instructors have seen it all. Their rich and diverse experience behind the wheel, and beside it, is what sets them apart. The best turn the most incapable students into confident and careful drivers.
  • Comfortable connection. The best driving schools are known for the demeanour of their instructors. A good connection between learner and instructor does wonders; particularly in the early stages behind a wheel. Therefore take the time to meet with potential instructors to see how they fit. The best instructors are cool, calm, and collected, allowing students to put their nerves aside and focus on learning.
  • Safety first. There is much more to safety than understanding the speed limit. Great driving schools focus on holistic driver safety. They work to combine an understanding of the road rules and hazards with developing driving habits. The best include preventative strategies behind the wheel, giving your new driver invaluable skills.
  • Focus on mastery. Understanding how to drive a car is one thing, mastering advanced techniques is another. While developing driver competency is important, mastery allows drivers to mitigate risks. The best driving schools push students towards mastery, giving them the confidence and skills in the event of emergency.

The best driving schools in Canberra

Riotact’s editorial team has combed through 20 years of on-site comments to compile a list of the most recommended businesses according to you.

To be listed in our Best of Canberra series, each business needs to have consistently received positive feedback on Riotact and Facebook as well as maintaining a minimum average of 4/5 stars on Google.

ACT Driving Solutions

ACT Driving Solutions excels at teaching members of the community to drive to exceptional levels. Services include professional, quality driving lessons and practical driving test preparation for ACT and surrounding NSW students. Other services include pre-learner’s courses, overseas license conversions, and refresher driving courses.

Lessons and training are learner-centred and instructors are clear and concise. Safe driving is carefully explained, including on all required road rules. Instructor Amrit Singh and his team – all highly experienced drivers, trainers and assessors – are welcoming, calm and supportive. They love driving and want students to also.

ACT Driving Solutions excels with learners of all types and instructors explain road rules and regulations in simple, relevant language. Students quickly build knowledge and skill and pass tests with confidence.

On Google, Neeraj Dahiya wrote, “Work ethic 5+. Patient, no rushing, explained manoeuvres. Trust me, if you choose them you will pass like I did today – first try.”

Road Ready Driving School

Road Ready Driving School have built a wonderful reputation in driver education across the local region. With a team of twelve qualified and accredited instructors, they deliver competency based training for both manual and automatic vehicles.

They pride themselves on the quality of their comprehensive lessons designed for new drivers and those wishing to gain greater confidence. Their team created individual programs tailored to the needs of each student, which means you will only pay for what you truly need.

CanBra1 shared this experience on RiotACT, "My daughter just got her P’s through Road Ready Driving School and she said her instructor was very patient and knowledgeable.....All in all I would recommend Road Ready to all Canberra Learner parents. A fantastic experience, both for myself as a concerned parent, and for my daughter who is now a very happy and safe driver!"

National Driving Academy

The National Driving Academy is home to eight qualified, accredited, and skilled driving instructors. Their motto "Safe driving, for Life" is embedded in the belief that preserving lives on the road stems from safer driving habits.

The National Driving Academy offers lessons at any stage of the licence process, at any age, and any ability level. They are known for catering to first time drivers, mature learners, overseas students, students with special needs, and visitors.

Lucah Conlan had this to say about the academy on Google, "As my instructor, Samson always gave clear and reasonable instructions and after each lesson the feedback was honest and well explained. Taking the competency based route toward getting my license has given me a newfound confidence in my driving and overall it was a highly educational and worthwhile experience."

Apex Driving School

Since 1983, Apex driving school has helped learners of all ages become confident, safe, and knowledgeable drivers capable of passing their driving test.

All Apex instructors are accredited and experienced and can teach you to drive in your own car, or in one of their dual controlled vehicles. What’s more, Apex now offers Canberra kids the opportunity to practice in a driver training simulator as a part of their Early Driver-Ed Program.

SheepGroper had this to say on RiotACT, "Apex driving school – I started learning in my forties and the instructor was a year younger than I was. With two decades of experience teaching people to drive in Canberra he was excellent both in people skills and with his depth of knowledge."

Pinnacle Driving School

Pinnacle Driving School believes in teaching their students how to be safe, responsible, and confident when driving. No matter your driving goals, the certified team at Pinnacle Driving School can help you achieve them.

Whether you’re a semi-experienced driver or have never laid a hand on the wheel, Pinnacle’s lessons will meet your needs. They cater for their students’ specific requirements. They offer manual or automatic training and male or female instructors.

Carlos shared his great experience on Google, "I highly recommend Pinnacle Driving School to everyone looking to learn or improve their driving skills. Throughout the entire process, the staff were very friendly and responsive...."

Ghatorha Driving School

As one of the leading driving schools servicing the Gungahlin, Belconnen and City area, Ghatorha Driving School's mantra is all about producing responsible drivers.

Their friendly and patient team of instructors provide training for new learners, nervous drivers, refreshers, and experienced overseas drivers seeking a local licence. They focus on the use of automatic vehicles to ensure peace of mind for students.

They are known for their provision of comprehensive practical training for safer drivers on our roads.

Kerryn Prasad shared this great review on Google, "My daughter had a fantastic experience learning to drive at the Ghatorha Driving School. Her instructor was punctual, polite and patient. Kulwinder provided simple step-by-step techniques to assist in a range of different scenarios including parallel parking, three point turns and hill starts."

If you’re looking for automotive services check out our articles on the best mechanics and the best car service centres. To keep your car looking neat and tidy our article on the the best car washes may also be of interest.

Your experience with driving schools in Canberra

Thanks to our commenters who have provided insightful feedback. If you believe we have got it wrong, please let us know.

Have you had experience with any of the driving schools listed above? If so, share your feedback in the comments below.

Frequently Asked Questions

What is the eligibility criteria for obtaining a learner licence in Canberra?

To obtain a C class (car) driver’s licence in the ACT you must be at least 15 years and 9 months of age. For R class (motorcycle) you must be at least 16 and 9 months of age to be eligible. For eligibility criteria for other licence classes please visit the Access Canberra website.

What are the steps to obtaining a C class learner licence?

Once eligible, there are a few steps that need to be successfully completed to obtain a learner licence. Firstly, you must complete the Pre-Learner Licence course, which is included as part of the year 10 curriculum at many ACT schools and is also available from various training providers. Next, is the ACT Road Rules computerised knowledge test. Once done simply take your certificate, along with proof of identify to an Access Canberra service centre, pass an eye exam, and pay the licence fee.

What are the minimum required driving hours for a learner’s licence?

If you are issued with a learner’s licence within the ACT and are under 25 years of age, you must undertake a minimum of 100 supervised driving hours, including a minimum of 10 hours at night. If you are over the age of 25, the minimum required supervised driving hours is 50, including at least 5 hours at night.

When can I complete my hazard perception test?

A hazard perception test can be completed online at any time after a learner licence has been held for at least 3 months. Successful completion of the test is a mandatory requirement for securing a provisional licence, along with satisfying the minimum driving hours, and passing the practical driving exam. Please note that you need to be at least 17 years of age; and have at least 12 months on your learner licence in order to be eligible to apply for a provisional C class.

How long are a learner and provisional licence required to be held?

In the ACT a learner licence can be held for up to 5 years; but must be held for a minimum of 12 months before applying for a provisional licence. A provisional licence however must be held for a minimum of 3 years.

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Olivia Pereira11:36 pm 08 Jul 19

I had a lesson with Bumblebee Driving School today are they were terrible. He was so impatient with me as a beginner. Don’t waste your time and money

My daughter just got her P’s through Road Ready Driving School and she said her instructor was very patient and knowledgeable. She went through in 7 lessons which I believe is the minimum amount. I was also able to pay the instructor using Eftpos as he had his own machine, which was great as I didn’t have to share credit card details. When booking my daughter in for lessons, I found the office ladies to be really friendly and easy-going. Be aware that they are really popular so my advice is to make sure you book ahead. All in all I would recommend Road Ready to all Canberra Learner parents. A fantastic experience, both for myself as a concerned parent, and for my daughter who is now a very happy and safe driver!

My son recently got his P licence. He was learning to drive a manual car. We went with L2BSafe driving Canberra with Stephen. My son tells me that Stephen is very patient with him. Especially with a manual car, the gear shift and clutch was something scary to learn. He was intimated with driving a manual car but I am glad he is now confident driving a manual car. It was difficult in the beginning learning to change gears and balance the clutch and get the car driving smoothly but with Stephen’s encouragement, he managed to grow and not give up. He is now confident with either manual or auto.

whitelaughter1:03 am 18 Nov 11

StenzOne said :

Apex Driving School – Ask for Gary. 🙂

Yeah, I (in my 40s) have had lessons from Gary and found him good.

justoneopinion9:29 pm 17 Nov 11

Fifth Gear Motoring is absolutely fantastic. Their trainers are professional and all of them have experience with advance driver training too. I would highly recommend them.

I believe AZORA driving school bough NRNA franchise, AZORA(NRMA) Employes contractor, their driving instructor are not any better than any other driving school any way, it is not the driving school which gives you the skill, it the instructor with the exp, I send my childern to SAFEWAY DRIVING SCHOOL, MOBIL 0404047005 first it is cheap $50 for a driving lesson than the instructor is very polite and kind, and skillfull.

AllaAurora said :

I have a friend going to Panache driving school and they said they were great. They don’t just tell you what to do, they tell you why you’re doing it (with the clutch, gears etc. and what happens mechanically with them). Panache teach you in a mini cooper though so if you’re a big guy you might want to look elsewhere.

+1 I had a great time with Panache both with lerning to drive and on there defensive course after I got my Ps I am a big guy I’m 6’5 and I fited in the Mini with ease better than most big cars.

Late to the party on this thread, but thought I’d add another thumbs up for Apex. Alastair (who handles their north side training, automatic) is just superb. Very professional, excellent teacher, great stuff.

georgeoscarbluth5:15 pm 25 May 10

I used this thread when deciding which company to go with and I ended up choosing Pinnacle Driving School. Grant was my instructor and he was totally fantastic, and Ron and Sue were really supportive of me. I am 26 and I was pretty anxious about learning but Grant was able to facilitate trust and confidence so I was able to get my license much more quickly than I thought. Go with Pinnacle!

Another vote for Apex Driving. I had Kirrilee teaching me. She’s good.

i had a pretty good experience with DRIVE.

NRMA sure has a play it safe attitude… if doing 80 in a 100 zone on the parkway is playing it safe. And it was the instructor driving!

+1 for ron @Pinnacle.a handful of nephews and nieces have attained their licences with niece complained she was taking longer than her friends to get her p`s.i found out she was over-confident,not listening and impatient,hence the son is currently learning with another instructor from pinnacle and has improved immensely.

Another “vote” for Gary at Apex – myself and my siblings all learnt through him – he is great

I second Brent from road ready been telling everyone to go with him, everyone is pleased! Greg from road ready is also very nice 🙂 even the receptionist is nice and welcoming and she has a very very good memory can remember your voice from 3 yrs back !

I just got my Ps in May and I used Brent at Road Ready He was great.

I’m 29 and I was on my L’s for 12 years before deciding/being peer pressured into finally getting my licence. Brent was really respectful and had a nice manner about him- he treated me like an adult and put me at ease the entire time.

I did the required six lessons with him and he taught me plenty as well as getting my confidence up.

Apex Driving School – Ask for Gary. 🙂

I found NRMA charges more than others, probably because of the ‘play it safe’ attitude.

I forget who I was with, I had 1 lesson & I learnt nothing new. My mother taught me how to drive & I passed first time round.

However my brother did have one lesson with NRMA & found it very helpful

Apex driving school – I started learning in my forties and the instructor was a year younger than I was. With two decades of experience teaching people to drive in Canberra he was excellent both in people skills and with his depth of knowledge.

I have a friend going to Panache driving school and they said they were great. They don’t just tell you what to do, they tell you why you’re doing it (with the clutch, gears etc. and what happens mechanically with them). Panache teach you in a mini cooper though so if you’re a big guy you might want to look elsewhere.

Ruby Wednesday5:42 pm 24 Aug 09

Pinnacle Driving School, Ron in particular. I was 26 when I started lessons, having not driven since I was 17 (and failed the Queensland test three times). I think it took about 10 lessons all up (I bought two packages of six lessons at the start so I could make bookings for a fair way out, and they refunded the lessons I didn’t use).

He also does Saturday lessons, which, having a Monday to Friday job, was a godsend.

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