Essential Driving Lesson Tips

I just had a pupil who failed his test he had several driving errors, actually all of them were serious ones. But the thing is those 2 serious errors were what I would call stupid mistakes and all because of what I think was him being in a hurry to actually get the test done and over with. I’ve actually found out that a lot of my pupils on their test, they seem to have this idea that “I want to get this test over with” so they’re in a hurry. There’s no reason for it; take your time on whatever it is you’re asked to do, especially when you’re moving up for the very first time or you do a maneuver. You need to make sure you actually look all around and it’s safe for you to do what it is you’ve been asked to do. There’s no reason why you need to be in a hurry, there’s no time limit on the maneuver so if it’s not safe for you to proceed with the maneuver then they need to wait until it is safe. The same thing with a junction; if you’re emerging and the road that you’re emerging into is not clear then you obviously you can’t emerge into that road.

So you need to make sure on your drivingtest; take your time when you’re doing a maneuver or when you’re emerging, whatever it is make sure that you do not rush it and only proceed when it is safe. This is a big difference from hesitation; hesitation is when you’re not making progress when you should be making progress or you don’t go when it’s safe for you to go, and usually you find that hesitation happens either on a straight road where you can see ahead that it’s safe and you’re not making the right speed or you’re approaching what is called an open junction where you can see well enough that it is safe for you to go and you’re not progressing, that’s where you usually get problems with hesitation. But you should not confuse this with making sure that it is safe for you to proceed at a closed junction or when you’re moving off.

Junctions:

How to use junctions correctly. A junction is a point where 2 or more roads meet, and for most people taking driving lessons it’s the most common hazard and the place where most accidents occur. There are many different types of junctions and it’s a good idea to discuss these with your instructor during your practical lessons. In the meantime, Gary Lamb, our BSM instructor of over 20 years offers a basic process to using junctions correctly. Step 1 – the process; all junctions require the mirror signal maneuver routine on approach, where junctions are concerned, the maneuver is broken down into 3 sections – position, speed, and look. Step 2- turning off from a main road; once you’ve decided to turn check your rearview mirror and the door mirror on the side you’re turning. Signal, do this even if you can’t see anyone else on the road. Position the car in your normal driving position, if you’re turning left, look out for cyclists and pedestrians. If you’re turning right, move next to the centerline. Watch out for oncoming traffic and be prepared to stop if necessary. Complete the turn safely. Straighten the car once you’ve joined the new road and ensure that your indicator is off. Step 3 – emerging onto a main road; when turning onto a main road you must always give way, this will be shown by the broken white lines at the junction. Firstly check your rearview mirror and the door mirror on the side you’re turning to, be it right or left. Give the signal to let others know which way you’re turning. If you’re turning left move over to the left and if you’re turning right move towards the center line. Pull out if it’s safe to do so otherwise stop completely and wait until there’s a big enough break in the traffic. Once you’ve completed the turn, straighten the car and do a mirror check. Step 4 – crossroads; crossroad layouts vary so pay careful attention to road markings and signs. As you approach, remember mirrors, signal and get in position. Observation is key to safety at crossroads, be prepared for the unexpected; vehicles don’t always give way or stop as we would. Take extra care when turning right if an approaching vehicle is also turning right. You can either turn offside to offside passing drivers’ doors or nearside to nearside passing passenger side doors. Now you know the basic principles, you’re on your way to tackling junctions safely and confidently.

Roundabouts:

How to use roundabouts. A roundabout is where 2 or more roads converge around a central island, the concept is to keep the traffic flowing by giving way to vehicles coming from the right. There are many different types of roundabouts and it’s a good idea to discuss these with your instructor during your practical lessons. In the meantime, Gary Lamb, our BSM instructor of over 20 years offers a basic routine for using roundabouts correctly. Step 1 – the process; as with all junctions, roundabouts require the mirror signal maneuver routine on approach. The maneuver is broken down into 3 sections – position, speed, and look. Position the car depending on what exit you’re intending to take, slow your speed by easing off the gas pedal, breaking sufficiently and selecting the appropriate gear to match your speed and look, what do you see? Is it safe to go? Or do you have to give way to other traffic? Step 2 – first exit; when approaching roundabouts positioning is crucial, it helps to tell people what your intentions are. If you’re taking the first exit, keep to the left side of the road and indicate left. Stay in the left lane when using the roundabout, ready to easily leave at the first exit. Step 3 – straight on, if you’re going straight ahead again, keep left but don’t indicate. Stay in the left hand lane on the roundabout, indicate left after you’ve passed the exit before the one you want. Make good use of your nearside door mirror ensuring there is no one who will be inconvenienced by you turning off. Step 4 – turning right; if you’re turning right stay over to the right on your approach and indicate as such. Keep to the right lane on the roundabout until you need to change lanes to exit. Indicate left after you’ve passed the exit before the one you want. Once you’ve left the roundabout make sure your signal has been canceled and check for following traffic in your mirrors. Step 5 – other roundabouts; many roundabouts follow the same highway codes as normal roundabouts. When it comes to multiple and satellite roundabout systems, deal with each separately, treating it as you would a normal roundabout. Congratulations, you now know the basics for using roundabouts safely and confidently.

manuel runs manueldrivingschool.co.uk and offers introductory driving lessons from as low as £10.

image credit: flickr.

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