You should make regular checks of your vehicle to recognise problems early and to keep your car maintained.
Carrying additional passengers or loads can have an impact on the car and its handling, you need to be aware of this and also the preparation required.
You should drive in a manner which is safer to the environment while not putting yourself or any other road users at risk and be aware of the impact of driving on the environment.
Learn to drive during the hours of darkness and in a variety of weather conditions while making use of necessary controls.
You should be able to stop the car promptly and under control as in an emergency and then move off under control when safe to do so.
Throughout your driving test your aim will be to slow down in good time and pull up gently, except in the emergency stop exercise, which will show your competence in taking immediate and effective action.
The emergency stop will be conducted at random during one–in–three car tests to enable extra time to be spent in normal driving.
The first thing that must be said is that an emergency stop situation should not arise because an alert driver who is looking well ahead and concentrating on the job of driving will seldom, if ever, have to perform an emergency stop. However having said that we are only human, a moment’s un-attention could mean that a situation is not read correctly and the only way to avoid an accident may be to stop quickly.
The Examiner will ask you to stop at various places during the driving test. Whenever you stop, you should do so in a safe place. It’s during one of these ‘stops’ that the Examiner will ask you to stop the vehicle as if in an emergency. The Examiner will hold up their right hand and say ‘Stop’.
This is the one occasion in the test when you don’t follow the mirrors–signal–manoeuvre routine. Before giving you the signal to ‘Stop’ the Examiner would have checked the road behind. They won’t ask you to stop if there could be a danger from following traffic. Remember also that you should in any case have an idea what is behind you with frequent checks as you are driving along.
Because this is an emergency priority must be given to prompt action, this means moving your foot as quickly as possible to the footbrake. It is important to remember to apply the footbrake first and then just before you stop push the clutch down. Leaving the clutch until the very end allows the engine to assist with the braking. Pushing the clutch down too soon will disengage the engine from the drive wheels and the car will lose the engine braking effect. When you put your foot on the brake pedal you should brake progressively harder to avoid the wheels from locking. Obviously the intention is to stop quickly but if you lock the wheels the car can skid and then you will have very little control and it may take even longer to stop. Should the wheels lock during the braking procedure then use what is referred to as ‘Cadence Braking’ which involves momentarily releasing the brake and immediately re–applying it. This will allow the tyres to regain their grip. Modern cars have ABS (antilock brake system) so the car will cadence brake for you.
While you are braking you should keep both hands on the wheel to give you the greatest possible control over the steering. You should make sure that you keep the wheel straight, do not try to steer while you are braking as this could also induce a skid. Keep both hands on the wheel until the car has fully stopped. When you have come to a halt apply the handbrake and go into neutral. You will realise that having stopped under these circumstances your vehicle will be out in the road. Before moving off you should look in the mirrors and around over both shoulders (to include the blind spot) to make sure that it is safe to move off.
Remember: Not looking over your shoulders before moving off is one of the easiest ways to pick up a driving fault; you are usually so pleased that you brought the car to a stop without skidding that you simply forget. Don’t let this happen!
The Driving Test
The examiner on the driving test will expect you to:-
- Stop the car promptly
- Keep the car under control without locking the wheels
- Stop the car in the shortest possible distance
- Stop the car without endangering other road users
- Use proper all-round observation before moving off again
You should be able to complete the following manoeuvres. Parallel Park, Parking in a bay and pull up on the right-hand side.
Using reverse gear is difficult for new drivers. The car steers differently, the front wheels become, in effect, the rear ones. When you drive forward you can see the car turning when you steer. In reverse, you have to wait for the steering to take effect.
The Driving Test
The examiner on the driving test will expect you to:
- Reverse safely
- Under control
- Keeping reasonably close to the kerb
- Without mounting the kerb
- Without swinging out too wide
The examiner will also be looking to see that you:
- Check traffic and road conditions
- Look out for traffic and pedestrians
- Stop in a safe position
You should be able to position the car correctly, overtake and also make progress when safe to do so.
You should be able to apply the MSM routine when approaching pedestrian crossings while anticipating the actions of pedestrians.
When you are driving along the road you should be looking well ahead. When you see a crossing ahead you must assess the situation. If you cannot see each end of the crossing clearly you should assume that there is someone about to cross. Pedestrians who are young, elderly, disabled or people with prams all need special consideration. If they are waiting to use a Zebra crossing you should stop and let them cross even though they have not yet put their foot on the crossing.
You must apply the MSM routine on approach to any hazard.
The first thing you must do is to check your mirrors, consider any signal that might be necessary. In this instance the signal part means the brake lights. On a Zebra crossing an arm signal for slowing down or stopping can be used, this is particularly useful if you decide to give way to any pedestrians who are obviously waiting to cross but who have not yet put a foot onto the crossing or if you have a vehicle following close behind. An arm signal has the advantage of being visible to following and oncoming traffic and pedestrians at the crossing and makes your intentions absolutely clear.
The next part of the routine is the manoeuvre, in this case the correct level of speed on approach. You must approach the crossing ready, willing and able to stop if necessary, so your speed must be reduced to enable you to do this. You must not approach the crossing so fast that you are not able to stop safely but on the other hand you must not drive needlessly slowly either. Sometimes simply easing off the gas pedal will be sufficient to allow a pedestrian more time to cross before you reach the crossing. If you have stopped to allow a pedestrian to cross on a Zebra crossing and they appear hesitant and undecided give them time to make up their mind. Do not beckon them on. When you enter the zigzag area of any crossing you must not overtake the leading vehicle or the vehicle that has stopped at the crossing.
When you are stopped at a zebra crossing you should wait until any pedestrians are clear, however if the crossing has a central island then it forms two separate crossings and you can move off if it is safe to do so when pedestrians are on the other half of the road. However you must watch for pedestrians who may cross from your right and walk straight out onto your side of the crossing. Remember: You must not park on a crossing or in the area covered by the zigzag lines. You must not overtake the moving vehicle nearest the crossing or the vehicle nearest the crossing which has stopped to give way to pedestrians
There are 5 different types of pedestrian crossing: – Zebra, Pelican, Puffin, Toucan and Pegasus.
A Zebra crossing is a path across a road marked with black and white stripes where pedestrians may cross. They have NO traffic lights. Drivers approaching a Zebra cosssing are made aware of the crossing because of its black and white poles with flashing yellow beacons and zigzag road markings. As you approach a zebra crossing look out for people waiting to cross and be ready to slow down or stop to let them cross. Use your mirrors frequently on approach so you know exactly what following traffic is up to and stop before the white dotted line – not after it. If you have time, give an arm signal for slowing down. This lets the pedestrians know what you are doing and also warns other vehicles that you are stopping. You MUST give way when someone has moved onto a crossing. Do not wave people across; this could be dangerous if another vehicle is approaching and don’t flash your headlights! Try and make eye contact with anyone waiting. This helps reassure them that they have been seen. Be aware of pedestrians approaching from the side of the crossing after you have stopped.
These are signal-controlled crossings operated by pedestrians. Drivers approaching a Pelican crossing are made aware of the crossing because of its traffic lights and zigzag road markings. Iron railings are usually used to stop pedestrians entering the road away from the crossing. Plan what you are going to do before you get there. If, for example, the lights are on green for some time and people are waiting at the crossing, be prepared to slow down as they could turn to red! Use your mirrors frequently on approach so you know exactly what following traffic is up to and stop on the white line – not after it! These are signal-controlled crossings where flashing amber follows the red ‘Stop’ light. You MUST stop when the red light shows. When the amber light is flashing, you MUST give way to any pedestrians on the crossing. If the amber light is flashing and there are no pedestrians on the crossing, you may proceed with caution. After the lights start flashing, watch out for people making a last-minute dash. Be prepared to let them cross but do not wave others onto the crossing.
These differ from Pelican crossings as there is no flashing green figure phase. Infa-red cameras are attached to traffic lights which extend the time drivers see red so elderly or disabled people aren’t at risk from oncoming traffic. The new ‘smart’ system also uses heat sensors to tell if pedestrians are waiting on the pavement, and can even override the red light shown to drivers if they’ve already got to the other side. It has reduced delays to motor vehicles, and improved crossing conditions for elderly and disabled persons by automatically varying the crossing times. Drivers approaching a Puffin crossing are made aware of the crossing because of its traffic lights and zigzag road markings. Iron railings are usually used to stop pedestrians entering the road away from the crossing. The lights have no flashing amber phase, so the lights just change like a normal traffic light at a junction.
Toucan Crossing (Two-Can Cross)
On Toucan crossings cyclists are permitted to ride across the road. Drivers approaching a Toucan crossing are made aware of the crossing because of its traffic lights and usually zigzag road markings (zigzag markings are not always present). Iron railings are usually used to stop pedestrians and cyclists entering the road away from the crossing. The lights have no flashing amber phase, so the lights just change like a normal traffic light at a junction.
The Pegasus crossing is usually used outside race courses or areas where horses are trained. They appear to be very popular in Scotland. The Pegasus crossing is similar to any other light controlled crossing, but in addition to provision for pedestrians (as at a Puffin Crossing) and/or cyclists (as at a Toucan crossing) the Pegasus crossing makes special provision for horses. Drivers approaching a Pegasus crossing are made aware of the crossing because of its traffic lights and zigzag road markings .Iron railings are usually used to stop pedestrians and horses entering the road away from the crossing. From a drivers point of view, the crossing works in the same way as ordinary traffic lights. For riders there is a ‘high level’ push button to operate the crossing. Because this is placed on the traffic–light support, the horse has to come very close to the road in order for the button to be pressed … So be careful!
The Driving Test
The examiner on the driving test will expect you to:-
- Demonstrate consideration and courtesy for pedestrians.
- Stop at Pelican, Puffin, Toucan and Pegasus Crossings if the lights are red.
- Give way to pedestrians at Pelican Crossings if the lights are flashing amber.
- Slow down and stop at Zebra Crossings if anyone is crossing or waiting to cross.
- Control your speed on approach to Pedestrian Crossings.
- Move off, after looking carefully to ensure it is safe.
You should be able to apply the MSM routine to join and leave a roundabout.
On approaching a roundabout take notice and act on all the information available to you, including traffic signs, traffic lights and lane markings which direct you into the correct lane.
Of course all roundabouts are different but generally the following rules apply:
- To Turn Left – Signal left and approach in the left-hand lane keep to the left on the roundabout and continue signaling left to leave.
- To go straight on – If there are no markings on the road you must use the left lane and stay in this lane until you need to exit the roundabout, signal left after you have passed the exit before the one you want.
- To Turn Right – Signal right and approach in the right–hand lane, keep to the right on the roundabout until you need to change lanes to exit the roundabout. Signal left after you have passed the exit before the one you want.
Approaching a roundabout
Remember to use the MSM routine at all stages and decide as early as possible which exit you need to take, give an appropriate signal. Slow up sufficiently and make sure you are in the correct lane a good distance from the roundabout. Adjust your speed and position to fit in with traffic conditions.
If you get your approach speed and gear right you can merge in with the traffic most times without stopping.
Always be aware of the speed and position of all the traffic around you. Don’t worry if you have to stop when you reach the roundabout. When it’s clear, move off smoothly, don’t rush, keep using the mirrors, and above all, stay calm. Once you are on the roundabout maintain a reasonable speed, especially when you are in the right–hand lane, failure to do so may result in other drivers passing on the nearside.
Watch out for vehicles already on the roundabout; be aware they may not be signaling correctly or at all.
Always keep an eye on the vehicle in front as you’re about to emerge. Don’t assume the driver won’t have to stop while you’re still looking right. Many rear end collisions happen this way. Make sure the vehicle has actually moved away.
Approach these in the same way as a normal roundabout, but remember there is less space and time to signal and manoeuvre. Vehicles coming towards you may want to turn right. Be sure any vehicle on the roundabout is going to leave before you join the roundabout yourself. Remember, you don’t always have time to signal when leaving a mini, but do check your left mirror.
Be aware of drivers that are using it for a ‘U turn’.
Multiple Mini roundabouts
At some complex junctions, there may be a series of mini-roundabouts at the intersections. Treat each roundabout separately and give way to traffic from the right. When negotiating a number of junctions within a short distance of each other, choose a lane that puts you in the correct position for the next one.
In all cases watch out for and give plenty of room to:
- Pedestrians – who may be crossing your exit.
- Traffic – crossing in front of you on the roundabout, especially vehicles intending to leave by the next exit or traffic which may be straddling lanes or positioned incorrectly.
- Motorcyclists, cyclists and horse riders – who may stay in the left-hand lane and signal right if they intend to continue round the roundabout.
- Long vehicles – (including those towing trailers) they may have to take a different course approaching. Watch out for their signals.
The Driving Test
The examiner on the driving test will expect you to:-
- Use the MSM routine
- Position correctly and adjust your speed
- Choose the correct lane where there are lane markings
- Watch out for motorcyclists, cyclists and pedestrians
- Take effective observations
- Assess the speed of traffic
You should be able to approach and emerge from a variety of junctions and apply the MSM routine to deal with them.