Driving is never risk free,
but you should aim to drive ‘low risk’. You will be assessed on your low risk driving skills in speed management, road positioning and decision making. The test also assesses your ability to perceive and respond to hazards.
Observation is an essential skill for a low risk driver. The testing officer will be assessing your observation techniques throughout the test. You will fail if your observation is poor.
Scanning is keeping your eyes moving, checking in one area for no more than a couple of seconds and then moving your eyes to another area.
Low risk drivers constantly scan traffic conditions.
When driving around corners turn your head and look through the corner scanning the road ahead of your vehicle.
Slow down if vision of the road ahead is limited.
You will be expected to make regular checks in your rear vision mirror so you know what is happening behind you. You must check your rear vision mirror before you slow down or change direction.
Before proceeding through traffic lights, you must turn your head and check to ensure there are no vehicles that may be ‘running’ the red light, or pedestrians crossing against the ‘don’t walk’ sign. You must also turn your head and check to ensure it is safe before proceeding across a railway level crossing.
When scanning look:
• In the distance.
• At the road surface.
• Totheleftandright. • In your mirrors.
• At the instruments and gauges.
CHECKING BLIND SPOTS
A car, motorcycle or bicycle in an adjacent lane can easily be positioned beyond the area visible in the mirrors. Checking your blind spots is an essential observation skill as many crashes occur because drivers do not turn their head and look over their shoulder before steering. Frequently not performing observation checks will result in a fail.
Check blind spots before changing your road position.
Do not drive in the blind spot of other vehicles.
All vehicles have a large blind spot behind them. Because of this blind spot, extra care must be taken when reversing as small children can be out of view
You must turn your head and check your blind spots before:
- Changing lanes.
- Leaving or returning to the kerb.
- Merging or diverging.
- Turning left – looking for pedestrians, bicycles and motorcycles that could be beside you in your blind spot.
- Turning right – looking for vehicles that may be overtaking you.
- Joining the traffic stream.
- Leaving the inside lane of a multi lane roundabout.When reversing you must turn your head and look over your shoulder to check through the rear window for vehicles and pedestrians that may not be visible in your mirror. All vehicles have blind spots behind.
Before turning left you must check for bicycles and other vehicles that could be in your blind spots.
Before turning into a street or driveway you must have a head check for vehicles that may be overtaking you.
Observation errors are recorded on the Driving Test score sheet as a circle around ‘D’ (decision) and an ‘H’ in the notes column.Speed managementYou must drive at a safe and legal speed, managing your speed to suit traffic, weather and road conditions.
MAINTAIN SPACE TO THE FRONT
You must adjust your speed to maintain crash avoidance space to the front of your car.
The minimum safe distance needed in front is three seconds. This must be increased in poor conditions, or when you are being followed too closely by another vehicle.
When you change lanes or if another vehicle moves into your three-second gap, you will be expected to create a new gap by gradually dropping back.
To calculate a three-second crash avoidance space when following another vehicle use this basic technique: as the rear of the vehicle in front of you passes a stationary object at the side of the road such as a power pole, tree or sign, start a three-second count ‘one thousand and one, one thousand and two, one thousand and three’.
You must stay at least 3 secs behind the vehicle ahead.
You must increase this distance in poor conditions (rain etc).
If your car passes the object you picked before you finish the three-second count, you are following too closely. Your crash avoidance space is not large enough. Slow down, and repeat the count again until the three-second crash avoidance space is achieved.MAINTAIN SPACE WHEN STOPPED
When you are stopped in traffic you must keep one to two car lengths from the vehicle in front to reduce the risk of colliding with it if you are hit from behind. You may move forward to within one metre once other vehicles are stopped behind you and the risk of being hit from behind is reduced.Leave one to two car lengths in front when stopped.When you come to a stop sign you must
stop completely before reaching the stop line, and as close as possible to the line.
You must slow down if you do not have a clear view of the road ahead. Situations where your vision may be reduced include: blind corners; blocked intersections; crests and poor weather conditions.
Slow down if you cannot see five seconds ahead.
To calculate five-second vision in a curve, pick a fixed point in the oncoming lane that has just come into view and start a count ‘one thousand and one, one thousand and two… one thousand and five’. If you reach the point before five seconds you are driving too fast for the available vision.
Slow down if you cannot see 5 secs ahead.
For traffic calming devices, such as speed humps or chicanes, slow down enough to ensure there is no undue jolt or sideways roll of your vehicle.
You must also slow down in situations where space to the side of your vehicle is limited.
During the test you will be expected to maintain a safe, legal position on the road. This includes during manoeuvres such as a three-point turn and reverse parking.
Buffering is keeping as much space to the sides of your vehicle as practical in any situation. You should have at least one metre from other vehicles and hazards.
Where you are not able to keep space from other vehicles and hazards you must slow down.
You are also expected to change your position on the road to create space from hazards. On crests and curves, slow down and move away from oncoming traffic. When possible, you should be at least one metre from the centreline on blind crests and curves.
In multi-laned traffic, avoid driving in the high risk area beside other vehicles.
If you unnecessarily drive on the wrong side of the road, or unnecessarily cross any edge lines or lane markings, you will fail.
You must allow space for parked cars to open doors.
You must allow clearance from oncoming traffic.
Avoid driving in the high risk area beside other vehicles.
TURNS AT INTERSECTIONS
Your position in making turns is important to ensure a smooth and safe flow of traffic.
When turning left on unmarked roads you must approach as far left as practical. When turning left on laned roads, you must approach in the left lane, or any marked left turn lane.
To reduce the risk of head-on crashes on multi-lane roads, only drive in the right lane when overtaking or planning
to turn right.
Approach left turns as far left as you can.
As you finish a left turn, exit into the lane or part of the road that is best for the traffic conditions. Your choice will depend on where you are going next, whether cars are parked in the left lane, or whether outside lanes must be left clear for overtaking.
However, when there are multiple turning lanes, you must finish in a permissible lane.
You will fail if you exit in an incorrect lane.
When there are multiple turning lanes, you must finish in a permissible lane.
You can turn into either lane, depending on traffic.
You must keep your steering straight while waiting to turn right, to protect you from being pushed into the oncoming traffic if hit from behind.
When turning right on unmarked roads you must keep to the left of, but as close as practical to the centre of the road. When turning right on laned roads you must approach in the right lane or any marked right turn lanes.
In marked lanes stay in the same lane.
In marked lanes you must stay in the same lane as you go from one road to another.
Turning vehicles pass in front of each other.
When turning right, steer to the right of an imaginary centre of the intersection. This allows vehicles opposite you to also turn right. As you exit, you must keep to the left of the centre of the road.
When turning right into a one-way street, approach and exit as close as possible to the right side of the road.