Helpful Driving Tips 3

Adequate Clearance

In normal driving it is very important to leave the correct adequate clearance all around the car. Remember the only really safe gap to leave between you and the vehicle in front is the Overall Stopping Distance However in heavy, urban, ‘nose to tail’ traffic this is often not possible but even then never leave less than the thinking distance between you and the vehicle in front which is approximately 3m for 10mph. Similarly when following other vehicles at a speed over 40mph use the ‘2 Second Rule’ to ensure you are keeping the minimum safe following distance. Adequate Clearance to the Left Reduce the speed of the car if unable to leave the appropriate distances One metre distance from
  • the kerb line
  • pedestrians
  • parked vehicles
Two metre distance from cyclists As much distance as safely possible from horse riders Hold-Back position in a meeting situation Stop two car lengths from the parked vehicle on either side of the road. Moving in after parked vehicles When possible and providing road conditions and space allow you must be able to see both headlights of the vehicle you have just passed in your interior mirror before you pull back to the normal driving position. Tailgating - following vehicle is too close Increase the gap between you and the vehicle in front to enable you to slow down sooner and more gradually to give the vehicle behind more time to react to your action. Tyres on tarmac When stopping behind another vehicle you should leave a minimum distance of ½ a car length if appropriate.    

 Meeting Other Traffic

When meeting an obstruction on the left with an oncoming vehicle Check interior & right exterior mirrors and signal left if required. Aim to stop two car lengths back from the obstruction in a position allowing good vision down the offside of the obstruction. Reduce speed smoothly but progressively. Select first gear prior to stopping and once stopped secure the car. Keep the wheels of the car straight. Prior to the last vehicle approaching check your blind spots and ahead to ensure it is safe to release the handbrake. Signal to the right if necessary to help and warn other road users. Release handbrake. When meeting an obstruction on the right that someone is about to pass Check interior & right exterior mirrors. Aim to stop two car lengths back from the obstruction on the right Reduce speed smoothly but progressively. Select first gear prior to stopping and once stopped secure the car. Keep the wheels of the car straight. Prior to the last vehicle approaching check your blind spots and ahead to ensure it is safe to release the handbrake. Signal to the right if necessary to help and warn other road users. Release handbrake. Meeting an oncoming vehicle with obstructions on both sides of the road Look ahead for gaps between the obstructions on the left. When a gap has been located check interior and left exterior mirrors. Move into the gap to allow oncoming traffic space to pass and for you to have good visibility down the offside of the parked vehicle. Stop in first gear, secure the car and apply a signal to the right to warn and inform other road users that you do not intend to park. Prior to the last vehicle approaching check your blind spots and ahead to ensure it is safe to release the handbrake. Signal to the right if necessary to help and warn other road users. Release handbrake. If there are no suitable gaps on your side of the road stop opposite a suitable gap on the other side of the road. Supporting comments Maintaining a gap of two car lengths back from the obstruction increases zones of vision and decreases the amount of steering needed to pass the obstruction. Secure the car and keep wheels straight because a following vehicle may hit you. Always check mirrors and both blind spot before moving off as the situation may have changed. NEVER park in a gap on the right hand side of the road as:-
  • it is dangerous to cross the path of another vehicle
  • this will restrict your zones of vision.
   

Overtaking

Primary road When approaching a vehicle that is travelling slower than you. You must consider whether it is safe, legal and necessary to overtake. Overtaking When you locate the slower moving vehicle check the interior mirror. Maintain the correct distance from the vehicle in front. Position the car to give you the best zone of vision. If required select a lower gear in which to carry out the manoeuvre. Look beyond the vehicle in front to ensure that it is safe to overtake. Recheck the interior and right exterior mirrors before applying a right signal. When safe proceed with the overtaking exercise. Maintain a gap of not less than one car’s width from the vehicle you are overtaking. When past the vehicle Check interior mirror for both headlights of the vehicle you have overtaken. Check left exterior mirror and signal if required. When safe move back into a normal driving position. Check interior mirror and right exterior mirrors before making progress. Dual carriageway When you locate the slower moving vehicle check the interior mirror. Maintain the correct distance from the vehicle in front. Position the car to give you the best zone of vision. If required select a lower gear in which to carry out the manoeuvre. Look beyond the vehicle in front to ensure that it is safe to overtake. Recheck the interior and right exterior mirrors before applying a right signal. When safe proceed with the overtaking exercise. Centralise your car in the next lane to the right. Recheck the interior mirror. Cancel your signal. When past the vehicle Continue to overtake any other vehicles that may be going slower than you. Locate a safe gap to move back into the left lane. When you can see both headlights of the vehicle you have just passed in your interior mirror, check your left exterior mirror before applying a left signal. Recheck left exterior mirror. When safe move back into the next lane to the left. Check interior mirror and right exterior mirrors before making progress. Supporting comments Never Overtake if unsafe to do so. If you intend turning left in a short distance If you have to exceed the speed limit. When you cannot see clearly. Always signal when changing lanes on a dual-carriageway. Seeing both headlights in the interior mirror will ensure that you do not ‘cut in’.    

Reverse Parking

Locate a safe, legal and convenient place to park. Find a gap between 1 ½ to 2 car lengths. Stage one Position approximately 1m away from the car that you intend to park behind. Stop with the rear of your car in line with the middle of the other car. Apply handbrake. Select reverse gear and obtain the bite point. Make an all round observation. When safe look over your left shoulder in the direction that you are traveling. Release handbrake. When the front /rear of the other vehicle appears halfway down the back left passenger window pause. Make an additional all round observations to ensure it is safe to turn the steering wheel and move the bonnet of the car out into the road. Stage two Maintaining a slow but constant speed. Turn the steering wheel one full turn to the left. When the front of your car is positioned at about two o clock glance over the right shoulder for any other road users. Turn the wheel two full turns to the right. Continue to look in the direction that you are traveling. Just before the front of your car is in line with the back corner of the other car. Look forward to make sure that you are going to clear the other car. Look back over your left shoulder. Stage three When the car is virtually parallel to the kerb look forward and reverse the steering wheel one full turn to the left to straighten the front wheels. When the car is parallel to the kerb and within twelve inches of the kerb. Stop and secure the car. Do not leave more distance than necessary from the car in front Supporting comments Never pull up too close to the other vehicle. When waiting for other traffic behind to pass leave car in reverse and apply the handbrake, also apply foot brake and indicate left. Always make good observations and if unsafe to proceed remain where you are. Keep your speed as slow as possible. If pedestrians approach the car or step into the road around your car or are other vehicles approach - Stop     

Country driving

Check the interior mirror regularly and act on what you see. Make progress by driving up to the speed or conditions of the road. Stay to the left or centralise your car in the lane which ever suits. Overtake when safe to do so. Never cause another vehicle to brake or swerve. If another vehicle overtakes you do not increase your speed. Be aware of farm vehicles and large Lorries. Leave the correct distance from the vehicle in front. Utilise your gears by matching them to the speed of the car. Block change up as well as down through the gears.    

Dual Carriageway / Motorway driving

When entering the main carriageway Check the interior mirror before increasing the speed on the slip road, to match the speed of traffic on the carriageway. Match the gear to the speed of the car and road conditions. Avoid selecting the fifth gear until on the carriageway. Always check the interior and right exterior mirrors before giving a signal to the right. Lean forward, to widen the angle of vision, and re-check the right exterior mirror Give a quick sideways glance to cover the blind spot before entering the carriageway. Once centralised in the new lane recheck you interior mirror and cancel signal. Maintain the 2 second rule from the vehicle ahead. Periodically check interior mirror and act on what you see. Plan ahead for changes in traffic conditions. Keep up to the speed of the road when conditions allow. Overtake when safe to do so to make progress. Utilise your gears by matching them to the speed of the car. Never cause another vehicle to brake or swerve. When leaving the main carriageway Use your M.S.M. sequence making sure you signal to warn or inform others three hundred yards before your exit - at the first marker post with three chevrons. Recheck the mirrors at the last marker post with one chevron and before turning the steering wheel. Do not decrease the speed of the car until you are in the deceleration lane providing traffic conditions allow. Look ahead and act promptly on any signs/markings. Carefully monitor the speed of the car when driving at slower speeds.     

Independent Driving

Your practical driving test will include around 10 minutes of independent driving. It’s not a test of your orientation and navigation skills. How the test works During your test you’ll have to drive independently by either following:
  • traffic signs
  • a series of directions
  • a combination of both
To help you understand where you’re going when following verbal directions, the examiner can show you a diagram. You can’t use sat nav because the independent driving section tests how you make your own decisions. Forgetting the directions It doesn’t matter if you don’t remember every direction, or if you go the wrong way. Driving independently means making your own decisions - this includes deciding when it’s safe and appropriate to ask for confirmation about where you’re going. The examiner will confirm the directions to you if you ask for a reminder of them. Going off the independent driving route It won’t affect the result of your test if you go off the independent driving route, unless you make a driving fault. The examiner will help you get back on the route if you go off it or take a wrong turning. You can then continue with the independent driving. Poor traffic signs The examiner will give you directions until you can see the next traffic sign if there are poor or obscured traffic signs. You won’t need to have a detailed knowledge of the area.