The Practical Test - What's expected


The 'Cockpit Drill' It is extremely important that you carry out the cockpit drill every time you enter the car and sit behind the driver’s wheel, it is equally important to check before walking into the road and opening the driver’s door. Opening a door carelessly can put you and others in danger and it may force them to brake or swerve and could cause an accident. Although not part of the cockpit drill it is also important that you check the ‘blindspot’ by looking over your right shoulder before opening your door to exit the car

DOORS - Make sure that all the doors are firmly shut.. Make sure that any passengers have closed theirs. You are responsible for the safety of your passengers. A door not properly shut may fly open as you drive along.
SEAT AND HEADREST - Adjust the base of your seat so that you can operate the foot pedals easily. Ensure that you can fully depress the clutch pedal while not over stretching your left leg. After driving for a short while you feel aching in your ankles this usually suggests you are too close to the wheel, try moving the seat back a notch. If the base of the seat can be raised up and down adjust it until you can get a good view of the road ahead. Adjust the backrest of your seat so that you can reach all of the steering wheel with your arms slightly bent. Don't get too close or you may find it awkward to let the pedal up and you could knock your knee on the steering wheel. When adjusting the back of your seat, make sure that the 'head restraint' is adjusted correctly to protect your neck.

SEATBELTS - Fasten your seatbelt and make sure that your passengers fasten theirs. The law requires that all passengers wear seatbelts where fitted, unless they have an exemption certificate. It is the driver's responsibility that children under 14 have the seat belt fastened.
MIRRORS - Adjust all of your mirrors so that you can obtain a clear view of the road behind and to the side of your vehicle. Try to reduce the ‘blindspots’ to the side. Use your left hand to adjust the interior mirror and be careful not to touch the surface of the mirrors with your fingers. If the vehicle is new to you check which, if any, mirrors are convex (i.e. curved to give a wider field of vision).
HANDBRAKE/GEARS - You are ready to switch on the engine, but before you do you have to check that the handbrake is on and the gear lever is in neutral to avoid any movement of the vehicle before it is safe.


The Driving Test
On your driving test the examiner will expect to see you carry out the cockpit drill, not only is it designed for your safety when driving but failure to do so is a ‘sure fire’ way to pick up a driving fault before leaving the Test Centre. So remember:-
1. Make sure all the doors are closed
2. Ensure your seat and head restraint are properly adjusted
3. Check your seatbelt
4. Check your mirrors are properly adjusted
5. Ensure the gear is in neutral and the handbrake is on.


Moving Off and Stopping
The procedure for moving off is in three parts, Preparation, Observation and then Move
Preparation
Assume that the engine is running and that you want to move off the first thing that you have to do is prepare the car, this consists of putting the clutch pedal down to the floor and selecting first gear, this is the gear that you will use for moving off on a flat road or uphill. The next thing that you must do is to set the gas, this means pressing the gas pedal slightly and then hold it still). Press it to generate sufficient power to move. Listen to the engine noise. Don't let the engine roar! Bring the clutch up until the sound of the engine drops slightly and then keep both feet still (this is called the ‘biting point’) You will find Diesel engined cars require little or no gas to pull away, however Petrol engined vehicles will always require gas or they will stall easily.


Observation
You must check the road ahead and behind through the interior mirror. However it is also extremely important that you use the door mirrors to look for dangers that can be present in the ‘blindspots’ which are to the left and right of the car. Be prepared to wait if the road is not clear. As well as deciding whether it is safe to move off you must ask yourself whether it is necessary to give a signal before moving. If there is not the slightest chance of any-one being affected by you moving off, including oncoming traffic and pedestrians, there is no point in signalling. But if there is any sign of life anywhere near you indicate to be safe.


Move
To enable the vehicle to move off smoothly the handbrake must be taken off then very slowly the clutch pedal must be brought up and a gentle pressure applied to the gas pedal, the car will begin to move off as this is done. If the car doesn’t move let the clutch up a little more/ Move away only if it is safe, it is probably a good idea to check that ‘blindspot’ again! When the car is moving you will have to gently steer into a safety line which on this road means moving out to the driving position about 1 metre from the kerb. To increase your speed, press the gas pedal gently and gently raise the clutch and take your foot away from the clutch pedal. You will need to change into 2nd gear soon after moving away.
Note: You should normally use 1st gear for moving off except when moving off down a steep hill, then it may be best to use 2nd gear.


Stopping
When you have to pick a place to stop you must make sure that it is a safe place, you wouldn’t for example park near a junction or blocking an entrance, on a bend or before a hump-back bridge. You must also make sure that it is lawful to park and that there are no restrictions on stopping. There are many places where parking would cause an obstruction to other vehicles or road users.
Once you have selected a safe place to stop then you must use the Mirrors, Signal, Manoeuvre routine. You should never be taken by surprise when you check your mirrors because through regular checks as you drive along you will have a good idea about what is behind you. Just as important when stopping is to use the exterior mirrors with particular emphasis on the nearside mirror as there might be a cyclist in the ‘blindspot‘ area
Having checked the mirrors and deciding that it is safe to stop you must then decide if you need to give a signal. A signal should be given if it will help or warn other road users, remember that signal will also help oncoming vehicles and any pedestrians as well as vehicles approaching from behind. A signal should always be given in good time but you must avoid giving any signal which may be misleading, for example if there is a road on the left prior to the place where you intend to stop the signal would have to be left until you have passed it.
The Manoeuvre part of the sequence involves slowing down at first by coming off the gas pedal and beginning to steer into position for stopping then use the footbrake progressively to bring the car to a stop in the proper place and close to the kerb. Just before the car stops the clutch pedal must be pushed right down to the floor to prevent the car engine stalling. When the car has stopped keep both feet still until you have applied the handbrake and moved the gear level into the neutral position.


The Driving Test
On your driving test the examiner will expect you to:
1. Move off safely and under control on a level road, from behind a parked vehicle and on a gradient
2. Use the MSM routine
3. Check your blindspot for traffic and pedestrians
4. Make balanced use of the accelerator, clutch, brakes and steering
5. Use the appropriate gear

Changing Gears
It is important when driving that you do not look down at the gear stick when changing gear, although some drivers find this difficult at first it doesn’t take long to achieve. You can practice gear changes sitting in the car with the engine switched off and the clutch pressed down. If you do have difficulty mastering the gears there is always the option of driving an automatic car, the downside of this is of course that after passing your test you will be restricted to using automatic cars only
In most vehicles the first 4 gears form an 'H' appearance on the gear lever. Neutral is the middle line in the 'H' formation on the gear stick. The gears run from left to right of the ‘H’, top left being first gear through to bottom right being 4th gear. Most cars now have a fifth gear which is located on the far top-right of the gear lever (to the right of the ‘H’)
To engage reverse gear you sometimes have to either push the gear lever down or lift it up towards you. Different vehicles have different setups. So always check were reverse is on a new vehicle.
1st Gear is used for moving off, manoeuvring and for creeping slowly in traffic and at junctions.
2nd Gear is used for moving off down very steep hills, building up speed after moving away and driving at low speeds.
3rd Gear is used to build up speed and when you need more power for climbing hills. It also increases your control when going down steep hills and dealing with some bends.
4th Gear is used for driving at speeds generally higher than 30 mph, where there are no hazards to confront.
5th Gear not all vehicles have a 5th gear. which gives better fuel economy. This is normally only used on open roads when travelling constantly at higher speeds.


Practice Gear Changes
To practice changing up through the gears on the road, first find a fairly straight, wide road where there is little or no other traffic. Move off in first gear and change into 2nd gear as soon as you can. Accelerate to about 15-20 mph, then change into 3rd gear. Accelerate in 3rd to 25-30 mph and then change into 4th. You will only need to practise using the 5th gear when you are competent using the first 4 gears. Again each car is different and sometimes 3rd gear is more suited to 30 mph. You will in time be able to listen to the vehicle and understand if the gear is suitable for the speed.
To Practise changing down through the gears build up your speed to 30 mph and be in 4th gear, Check the mirror to make sure it is safe. Brake gently to slow the car down to about 20 mph. Release the brake and change into 3rd gear. Check the mirror again and, if safe, reapply the brake gently and slow down to about 10 mph. Release the brake and change into 2nd gear. Check the mirror, if safe, build up your speed, changing up the gears, until you reach 30 mph again. Keep practising until you feel confident.


Block Gear Changes
Some drivers have a habit of always changing through the gears one-by-one, from 1st through to 5th and from 5th through to 1st. This habit has stuck with some older drivers from when they originally learned to drive many years ago. Today, in a normal car and for everyday on-road driving, it is not generally good practice to use the gears in this way. We can change down the gears in blocks ( 5th to 2nd or 4th to 2nd. etc), we can equally change up in blocks (2nd to 4th or 3rd to 5th). The block change from 3rd to 5th is particularly useful when accessing a dual carriageway from the slip road to build sufficient speed up.


It is not necessary to change gears in sequence. For example: If you are driving along at 50 mph in 5th gear, and you want to turn left into a side road, you may be able to do so without having to stop. As you approach the junction you need to reduce your speed (using your brake) until you are going slowly enough to take the junction safely. When you have slowed down to a safe speed using the brakes, you have to select a gear that will drive the car comfortably at that speed. In most cars the best gear for the job will be 2nd. So, move the gear lever directly to the second gear position skipping the other gears. The benefits of this style of driving include better fuel economy, less overall wear and tear, less driver fatigue on long journeys and more steering control in emergencies. For some older drivers this is very hard to understand as it differs from the style adopted to the driving test and learning procedure years ago. Brakes have greatly improved over recent years and there is now generally no need to use the gears to help you slow down. In basic terms Gears are for going - Brakes are for slowing.


The Driving Test
On your driving test the examiner will expect you to:
1. Use the controls smoothly and correctly
2. Balance the accelerator and clutch to move away smoothly
3. Accelerate evenly
4. Avoid stalling the car
5. Not to 'ride' the clutch (keeping your left foot slightly depressed on the clutch pedal)
6 . Choose the right gear and change in good time before a hazard
7 . Brake gently and in good time
8 . Know how and when to apply the hand brake


Steering
It is important when driving that you have both hands on the steering wheel, you will have to take one hand off on occasions, for example when changing gear, operating the lights, wipers and other controls, but as soon as you have done that your hand should return to the wheel. When practising, find a straight, quiet road where you can steer with one hand while you practise using the controls
When holding the steering wheel your hands should always be either at the ‘quarter to three’ position or at ‘10 to 2’, you should pick whichever of these positions is most comfortable to you taking into consideration the possibility of an airbag in the centre of the steering wheel and it's layout. Fold your palms loosely over the rim and rest your thumbs lightly up the flat of the wheel. Relax your shoulders and keep your arms free of your body. To ensure that you are the correct distance away from the steering wheel you should be able to rest the inner wrists of both arms on the top of the steering wheel whilst sitting upright in the driver seat. There should be a slight bend at the elbows
When you are driving along but need to make minor corrections to the steering you can do this without moving your hands around the wheel, you would simply turn the wheel slightly in one direction and then correct it, your hands returning to the correct position as the wheel straightens. When you need to turn the steering wheel more, for example when turning a corner then you should pass the wheel through your hands and avoid crossing your hands over on the wheel or letting the wheel slip.
This is called the `Pull-Push’ method of steering
To steer accurately you should look well ahead at where you are going. You must be able to operate the main controls without looking at them. Looking down will result in your car wandering from side to side Try to keep both hands on the wheel when braking (certainly when braking in an emergency!) The same applies to cornering, try to keep your hands on the wheel and use the ‘Pull-Push’ technique
When turning left it is important for you to maintain a position about a metre from the kerb. The consequences of keeping too close to the kerb are that your rear wheel may roll over the kerb or even strike it, which could damage to the tyre. Swinging out just before you turn could also cause the following vehicle to swerve across the road to pass you.

The Driving Test
On your driving test the examiner will expect you to:_
1. Hold the steering wheel at either the ten-to-two or quarter-to-three position
2. Steer at the correct time and smoothly
3. Avoid crossing your hands over one another when turning
4. Avoid letting the wheel spin back through your hands when straightening up.
5. Keep to the left normally
6. Avoid weaving in and out between parked cars
7. Obey lane markings


Bay Parking
From 5th May 1999 you may be required to do the reverse park exercise as a reversing into a parking bay at the driving test car park. If you are asked to reverse into a parking bay, you can usually choose whether to reverse from the right or the left. When practicing you will be able to see which way suits you best.
Reverse parking into a bay must be carried out at the Test Centre at the start or end of the test, when there is a car park at the Test Centre. So if your Test Centre does not have a car park, you will NOT be asked to do this exercise.

If the Test Centre has a bay parking facility find out if it is possible to practice at the Test Centre itself. This is not always possible because a learner should never obstruct a driver who could be on test...talk to your instructor about this one. If you were sitting your test would you want someone in your way practising for their first time.
You can either reverse into a bay to your right in which case you will be able to see the bay clearly over your right shoulder or you can reverse into the bay to your left in which case you get a clear view of the bay in your rear window. The left hand reverse is generally considered to be the easier option, however it can only be used if you have plenty of space in front of the bay.
The following are what you should be looking out for when dealing with a bay park:
• Look at the layout markings and the size of the space available
• Use your mirrors and signal if necessary
• Check your position and keep your speed down
• Use effective all-round observation
• Look out for pedestrians
• Reverse and park as neatly as possible, with your wheels straight
• Make sure that your vehicle is neatly parked between the layout markings in the bay.
• When doing these manoeuvres take your time, reverse under full control, safely and steadily. Always use good, effective all-round observation and show consideration to other road users.
• You should be aware that if any "shunting" (moving forwards then back again) is needed to correct your ultimate position between the lines, then you should try to do this BEFORE your car enters the bay.
It is OK for you to move a mirror before starting the manoeuvre, just make sure that you do not become too reliant on the mirror and forget to use all round observations or else you will justifiably pick up an observation fault. Remember that all round observations are essential when carrying out this manoeuvre with occasional quick glances at the side mirror for checking your position.


The Driving Test
The examiner on the driving test will expect you to do your bay parking:-
1. Safely
2. Smoothly
3. Under control
4. Making proper use of the accelerator, clutch, brakes and steering
5. Without crossing the white bay marking.
The examiner will also be looking to see that you:-
1. Are aware of other road users
2. Keep looking all around throughout the manoeuvre


Right Turns
Get into the habit of using the mirror-signal-manoeuvre( MSM) routine early when approaching junctions or any other hazards such as obstructions in the road.
When turning right you must keep a constant look-out for other road users. Doing this will help to ensure that you have all the information you need to make the correct decisions about your intended actions. You must watch out for pedestrians crossing the road into which you are turning, if they have started to cross they have priority and you must therefore give way to them
Remember, at all times that the junction (be it a T-Junction or a Right Turn) is one of the biggest potential hazards a driver can face which is why it is extremely important that your speed on approach is such that you will be able to comfortably stop on approach to give way, important also because pedestrians might cross without checking to see if it is safe to do so, they might also be obscured by parked cars
You will use your mirrors to assess what is behind you, signal as appropriate, for the manoeuvre you will position your car correctly in other words as close to the centre of the road as is safe. You will reduce your speed and be prepared to stop if necessary and then look in all directions at the earliest point from which you can see clearly and keep looking as you slow down or stop.
Once you have stopped at the junction you will select 1st gear and consider applying the handbrake. Sometimes your visions might be obscured in which case, and if appropriate to do so, you will have to inch carefully forward to see more and remember, if another pedestrian or vehicle is not in your zone of vision, you’re not usually in theirs.
Wait until there is a safe gap between you and any oncoming vehicle. If you have difficulty in assessing how far away an approaching car is away from you try to put yourself in the position of a pedestrian. As a pedestrian - would you consider that there is time to cross the road? If there is sufficient time as a pedestrian then there is obviously sufficient time for your car to cross.
Check your side mirror for anyone who might be overtaking you before you turn (especially cyclists or motorbikes). Give way to pedestrians crossing any road you are turning into. Watch out for those with their backs to you. They may not have seen or heard you and could walk into the road without looking. If you position correctly on a wide road, following vehicles should be able to pass on your left side.
The main danger when turning right is from oncoming vehicles. Wait until they have passed the junction before proceeding. Don't be afraid to stop when you reach the point of your turn if it is not safe. When the way is clear move away smartly and do not cause an obstruction. Try to look as much as possible into the road into which you are turning and avoid cutting the corner because another vehicle could be approaching the junction.

The Driving Test
The examiner on the driving test will expect you to:-
1. Use the MSM routine in good time
2. Brake gently and in good time
3. Position your vehicle correctly - Choose the correct lane where there are lane markings and in a one-way street
4. Look for obstructions, traffic and pedestrians
5. Look out for signs and road markings indicating priorites
6. Assess the speed of traffic.


Roundabouts
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 signalling left to leave.
To go straight on - Select the appropriate lane on approach to and on the roundabout. If no marking on the road it is usually safest to keep to the left lane stay in this lane until you need to alter course 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, ease up off the clutch smoothly, don't rush, keep using the mirrors, and above all, stay calm. Most recorded accidents happen in this position when a vehicle waiting to enter a roundabout makes an indecisive decision and the vehicle behind collides. Although usually not your fault, being confident in your decisions through careful planning and experience should eliminate this possibility. Once you are on the roundabout maintain a reasonable speed, especially when you are in the right-hand lane, failure to so may result in other drivers passing on the nearside and creating difficulty in leaving the roundabout.
Watch out for vehicles already on the roundabout; be aware they may not be signalling 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 as mentioned above. Make sure the vehicle has actually moved away.
Mini Roundabouts
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, but check left mirror unless to do so would be dangerous
Be aware of drivers that are using it for a 'U turn'
All vehicles MUST pass round the central markings except large vehicles which are physically incapable of doing so.
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 the approach and exit roads
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) which might have to take a different course approaching or on the roundabout because of their length. Watch out for their signals.

The Driving Test
The examiner on the driving test will expect you to:-
1. Use the MSM routine
2. Position correctly and adjust your speed
3. Choose the correct lane where there are lane markings
4. Watch out for motorcyclists, cyclists and pedestrians
5. Take effective observations
6. Assess the speed of traffic


Reverse Parking

Reverse parking takes advantage of a car's manoeuvrability when driving in reverse gear. It is used if there is limited parking available at the side of the road and it becomes necessary to reverse into a space between two cars. When doing this you will be something of an obstacle, so continuous use of the mirror-signal-manoeuvre routine and all round observation is important. It is also vital to keep a look-out for passing traffic.
You must always be careful to select the site for the manoeuvre with care.
IS IT LAWFUL? - you cannot park where there are parking restrictions for example
IS IT SAFE? - It would not be safe to reverse into a space where pedestrians are waiting to cross the road
IS IT CONVENIENT? - If the road is especially busy then it may cause great inconvenience to other road users
CAN I DO IT? There are some spaces that are so narrow that it would be impractical to try out the manoeuvre. When you park between two vehicles you will need a space that is at least one and a half to two times the length of your vehicle. Even though the site meets with these requirements, you should make sure that there are no trees or other obstructions over-hanging the space which could cause problems when you are reversing
As you pass the space you are going to reverse into have a good look for anything that will get in the way or be a potential danger. If you have any approaching traffic then you must consider the use of the left hand signal prior to pulling up. You should position parallel to the car and about two feet from it and stop so that the passenger headrest in your car is level with the offside mirror of the parked car.
If you find it uncomfortable reversing you can take your seat belt off. Many Instructors have different preferred ways of teaching this manoeuvre depending on their vehicle size and visibility and their advice should be sought accordingly.

The Driving Test
The examiner on the driving test will expect you to:-
1. Reverse into a space of about two car lengths
2. Park your car at the kerb safely, smoothly and under control.
3. Take all-round observation
4. Not get too close to the parked car
5. Avoid mounting the kerb
6. Stop reasonably close to the kerb


Reversing around a Corner
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.
Assuming that you have pulled up before the road you are going to reverse into you should apply the following:
1. Select first gear and find the biting point
2. Before moving off check all around you (remember to check the blind spot)
3. When it is safe to move, release the handbrake and move off smoothly
4. As you drive past the side road have a look into the road and make sure that it will be safe to reverse into. Look for any obstructions such as parked vehicles, road works, builders skips or children playing in the road
5. You must also take note of the degree of turn required for the corner that you are going to reverse around.
6. If it is safe to perform the manoeuvre then check the mirror and consider any signal that may be required to warn of your intention to pull up after the side road
7. When you pull up to stop you must take up a position from which you can reverse easily, you should be about two car lengths from the turn and about a foot out from the kerb. From this position you will not be rubbing against the kerb as you move back and you will not have to reverse a long way to the corner
8. When you stop apply the handbrake and select the neutral gear while you prepare yourself for the manoeuvre
9. Take up the position in your seat so that you can comfortably see out of the back window. During the reversing manoeuvre you can remove your seat belt if you. To move off select reverse gear and find the biting point
10. When you are ready, take all round observation, check blind-spots and look behind. If it is clear of traffic and pedestrians, release the handbrake and move slowly backwards, keep looking behind out of the back window. If any vehicles are approaching from behind you should stop and let them pass, watch also for any pedestrians that are crossing the road that you are on or are reversing into
11. Throughout the exercise you must keep the car moving slowly, using the clutch to control the speed
12. The car is moving slowly back towards the corner and you will need to think about steering in order to turn into the road. The point of turn will be the first curved kerbstone and the amount of steering will depend upon the severity of the kerb through the turn. Some corners are very sharp others are very shallow, the sharper the turn the quicker you will have to turn the steering wheel. This is why it is necessary to access the severity of the corner as you pass the road, the best guide is to try and stay the same distance from the kerb throughout the manoeuvre in any case you should always stay on your side of the road and you should not hit the kerb at any point.
13. You should try to finish the same distance from the kerb as you were when you started
14. Just before you reach your point of turn you must look all round and make sure that it is safe to continue.
15. As you turn the front of your car will swing out and you must ensure that you will not swing out into the path of any other vehicles. If necessary you should stop at this point and wait for other vehicles to pass, also remember to give way to pedestrians.
16. If it is safe to continue then carry on into the road.
17. If any vehicles come along the road into which you are reversing you must stop and if they are unable to pass you, you should go back into first gear and go back to the start position of the manoeuvre. If it remains clear then as the car begins to straighten turn the steering wheel to straighten up. Carry on in reverse keeping parallel to the kerb for about four car-lengths, stop at this point, then put on the handbrake and select neutral. Engage your handbrake and neutral. Put your seat belt back on. Wait for the examiners next instruction Remember, perfection is not expected. Do not assume that you have failed if you think it is not perfect. What you regard as an error may actually be extremely trivial, and not marked at all.
18. If you have taken off your seat belt then you should put it back on

The Driving Test
The examiner on the driving test will expect you to reverse:-
1. Safely
2. Correctly
3. Smoothly
4. Under control
5. Keeping reasonably close to the kerb
6. Without mounting or hitting the kerb
7. Without swinging out too wide.
The examiner will also be looking to see that you:-
1. Check traffic and road conditions
2. Look out for traffic and pedestrians
3. Stop in a safe position.


T-Junctions
Get into the Habit of using the MSM routine early when approaching junctions. You will use your mirrors to assess what is behind you, signal left or right as appropriate, for the manoeuvre you will position your car correctly in other words either approximately 1metre from the kerb (if safe) when turning left into the major road and as close to the centre of the road as is safe when turning right. There will be occasions when you will want to go straight ahead at the junction in which case you should consider adopting the position as for turning left unless the road markings otherwise dictate You will reduce your speed and be prepared to stop if necessary and then look in all directions at the earliest point from which you can see clearly and keep looking as you slow down or stop.While carrying out the junction routine you must keep a constant look-out for other road users. Doing this will help to ensure that you have all the information you need to make the correct decisions about your intended actions.
As you approach the junction, your zone of vision (or what you can actually see) improves and this will depend on surrounding buildings, the layout of the road, parked vehicles and of course weather conditions. Remember, at all times that the junction is one of the biggest potential hazards a driver can face which is why it is extremely important that your speed on approach is such that you will be able to comfortably stop on approach to give way, important also because pedestrians might cross without checking to see if it is safe to do so, they might also be obscured by parked cars. Watch out for other drivers who may be cutting corners. Be prepared to hold back for them.
Once you have stopped at the junction you will select 1st gear and consider applying the handbrake. Sometimes your visions might be obscured in which case, and if appropriate to do so, you will have to inch carefully forward to see more and remember, if another pedestrian or vehicle is not in your zone of vision, you’re not usually in theirs. When assessing whether or not it is safe to emerge it is important to look all around you and in particular to the left and right, assess the overall situation, decide whether it is safe to emerge and act decisively once the decision is made. Remember that any subsequent looks help you to judge speed and position of approaching vehicles. Do not assume that a vehicle approaching on your right will turn in just because it’s left signal is on. You must be sure it is safe before you proceed. The only time you can be certain the other vehicle is going to turn left is when you see it start to do so.
Keep a special look-out for cyclists or motorbikes travelling along close to the kerb.
When turning left consider is there enough time to merge with the traffic without forcing the traffic approaching from the right to slow down?, You must watch out for pedestrians crossing the road into which you are turning, if they have started to cross they have priority and you must therefore give way to them Make sure that the traffic hasn’t come to a halt.
Once you have decided to emerge into the major road remember to act positively and that if you suddenly stop you risk becoming a hazard to any vehicle that is behind you. After turning and when straight look in your mirrors to assess the situation behind you and adjust your speed accordingly.

The Driving Test
The examiner on the driving test will expect you to:-
1. Use the MSM routine in good time
2. Brake gently and in good time
3. Position your vehicle correctly - Choose the correct lane where there are lane markings and in a one-way street
4. Look for obstructions, traffic and pedestrians
5. Read Stop signs, Give Way signs, etc, accurately
6. Assess the speed of traffic.


Turn in the Road
This is a useful turn in cul-de-sac and roads where there are no side turning or opening to reverse into.
You must always be careful to select the site for the manoeuvre with care. You must decide:

1. IS IT LAWFUL? – are there any restrictions on turning round, for example as in a one-way road
2. IS IT SAFE? - It would not for example be safe to turn in the road before a brow of a hill as traffic coming over the hill might not see you in time to stop. (watch for the lamp post, telephone poles or even post boxes),
3. IS IT CONVENIENT? - If the road is especially busy then it may cause great inconvenience to other road users
4. CAN I DO IT? There are some roads that are so narrow that it would be impractical to try out the manoeuvre. Even though the site meets these requirements you should ensure that there are no trees or lamp posts on either side of the road which may be in the way as you perform the manoeuvre
The procedure for moving off at the start of the manoeuvre is the same as for moving off normally. Select first gear and make sure that you get the biting point; before moving off check all around you and check the blind spot over both shoulders to make sure it is safe. When it is safe to move release the handbrake and move off very slowly using the clutch to control the speed
Drive slowly forward for about 1/3rd metre and turn the wheel quickly to the right, keep turning the wheel until it reaches full lock. You should try to reach full lock by the time you are half way across the road. If the car begins to pick up speed push the clutch down slightly.
You should be aware that the road surface can affect the speed of your vehicle. Most people think of a road surface as being flat but this is not usually the case as most have a high point in the centre, this curve to the road surface is called a ‘camber’. You should take note of the camber of the road as it can mean that when you moving off you are pulling slightly uphill. Once you pass the high point of the surface the resistance of the uphill slope disappears and the car may begin to pick up speed quickly as it rolls down the other side. So before moving off on any part of the manoeuvre look at the camber of the road and try to work out how and at which point on the turn it will affect your car.
As you are moving across the road check from side to side, make sure that are aware of any traffic that may be coming. If anything does come then you should try to complete this part of the manoeuvre and then wait for it to pass.
When you are about a metre from the kerb turn the steering wheel back a few turns in order to straighten the wheels, this is called ‘opposite lock’. Applying opposite lock will help you to turn more easily on the next part of the manoeuvre but you must only turn the steering wheel when the car is moving. You should try to use as much of the road as possible and try to avoid hitting the kerb as you stop as this could damage the tyres, if the kerbs are higher then hitting it could damage the bodywork (or at the very least break your number plate).
When you are stopping you will need to apply the foot brake to make sure that the vehicle stops where you want it to and put the clutch down to prevent the car from stalling. Once the car is stationery apply the hand brake to ensure that the car does not roll forward. If any other vehicles come along when you are performing the manoeuvre then you should complete that part of the manoeuvre if it is safe to do so and then watch what the driver of the other vehicle does. If he or she is waiting then you carry on with the next part of the manoeuvre ensuring that you have checked for other road users that may be coming. If the approaching vehicle has slowed down but has not stopped then wait and see what the other driver intends to do.
If there are pedestrians approaching the area of the kerbs where you will be stopping then do not start that part of the manoeuvre until they have passed.
The next part of the manoeuvre is the reverse to bring the car into this position. You will have to prepare the vehicle in the normal way, make sure that you find the bite and remember that when you move off you may be doing so uphill against the camber of the road. Before releasing the handbrake you must look all around for any approaching traffic or pedestrians. Be sure that you check behind the car by looking over both shoulders. When you are sure that it is safe release the handbrake and move back slowly. Keep looking to the rear over your left shoulder. Keep the car moving slowly using your clutch to control the speed and turn the wheel quickly to the left. When you half way across the road check to the left and right to see if there are any approaching vehicles or pedestrians. Remember that the camber may make the car pick up speed as you cross the centre of the road, if this happens use the brake to control the speed if necessary.
When you are about a metre from the kerb look over your right shoulder to get a better idea of the kerbs location and begin to apply the opposite lock, in other words the wheel should be turned to the right. A good way to remember which way to turn the wheel on the reverse is to think “look left - steer left” “look right - steer right”. The car should be at its slowest as you approach the kerb so that you can judge when you want to stop accurately. When you have stopped, put on the handbrake
If you are not going to get around in the space available then you will need to repeat the first part and the reverse section as many times as necessary. When you have the required space then check that the road is clear before moving. When it is safe, select first gear and prepare the car to move off, take all round observation including a check over both shoulders for pedestrians. Move off using the clutch to control your speed and go slowly until you are able to drive on. When you are straight check the mirrors and drive on

The Driving Test
The examiner on the driving test will expect you to turn your car round in the road:-
1. Safely
2. Smoothly
3. Under control
4. Making proper use of the accelerator, clutch, brakes and steering
5. Without touching or mounting the kerb.
The examiner will also be looking to see that you:-
1. Are aware of other road users
2. Keep looking all around throughout the manoeuvre.
3. Turning in the road by using forward and reverse gears



Box Junctions
Box Junctions have criss-cross yellow lines painted on the road. You must not enter the box until your exit road or lane is clear. However, you may enter the box and wait when you want to turn right, and are only stopped from doing so by oncoming traffic, or by other vehicles waiting to turn right.
Box junctions are normally used on large busy junctions such as traffic light controlled crossroads, T-Junctions and even roundabouts.
Box junctions make it possible to keep the flow of traffic moving and therefore keep the junction clear, by preventing traffic from stopping in the path of crossing traffic. Use the Mirror, Signal, Manoeuvre routine (MSM) early and this will give you time to assess the junction before you get there.
If we consider a box junction at traffic lights. You should enter the box junction if you wish to turn right and your path is blocked by oncoming traffic. It is OK for you to wait on the yellow criss-cross providing your exit road is clear. If you wait outside the box in these circumstances, you could fail your driving test. When the way is clear move away smartly and do not cause an obstruction.
Be careful when queuing inside the box junction as you may not have time to clear the junction before the traffic lights change.
In the event that the exit road is not clear you must not enter the box, equally you should not enter the box if there is already a line of traffic in the box waiting to turn right and there is no room for you to join the queue. In these circumstances if you do attempt to enter the box you could fail your driving test

The Driving Test
The examiner on the driving test will expect you to:-
1. Use the MSM routine in good time
2. Not enter a box junction unless your exit road is clear
3. Slow down and stop before the box junction if your exit road is not clear
4. Control your speed on approach to box juctions.
5. Move off, after looking carefully to ensure it is safe.


Emergency Stop
Emergency Stops. 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.
From 4th May 1999 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 moments 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. The Examiner will not trap you by asking you to stop in a illegal place, but you have to select a safe position for normal stops.
It's during one of these 'stops' that the Examiner will say to you that, very shortly he will ask you to stop the vehicle as in an emergency. The signal he will give you as he says 'Stop' will be shown to you. Years ago it used to be a tap on the dashboard or the windscreen, usually with the test board. However Examiners now appear to favour holding up their right hand onto the windscreen and saying '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 himself would have checked the road behind with a look over his right shoulder. He won't ask you to stop if there could be a danger to you 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 you foot on the brake pedal you should brake firmly but avoiding pressure so hard that the wheels lock. Obviously the intention is to stop quickly but if you lock up the wheel 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
If your vehicle skids you must do something to gain control. The first thing you must do is to remove the cause of the skid, (in this case it would have been the brake), so you would have to reduce the pressure on the brake pedal in order to allow the wheels to roll. If the car is skidding straight ahead then this is all that will be necessary, however in many skids the rear of the car breaks away causing the car to begin to turn on its own axis. If the rear of the vehicle had broken away to the right then you would have to turn towards the right, if it had broken away to the left then turn to the left. In other words turn into the skid as this will help straighten the car and if you have reduced the braking and the wheels are rolling then you will regain your steering control.
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 put on 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:-
1. Stop the car promptly
2. Keep the car under control without locking the wheels
3. Stop the car in the shortest possible distance
4. Stop the car without endangering other road users
5. Use proper all-round observation before moving off again


Hill Starts
When you can move off safely and smoothly on a level road, the next stage is to move off on a hill.
Uphill Starts
Moving off on a gradient demands good co-ordination of the gas pedal, clutch and handbrake, for the obvious reasons that without it you will roll backwards and you will fail your practical test.
The normal routine for moving off away from the kerb applies, mirrors-signal-manoeuvre. Select first gear, bring the clutch to the 'biting point' and apply higher-than-usual revs. Check your mirrors, make sure too, that there are no pedestrians about to cross the road immediately behind your car , check over your right shoulder then if a signal is needed then give it. If it is safe to move off, release the handbrake and let the clutch bite a little more - enough to get the car rolling forward, but not enough to cause the car to jerk. Give a bit more gas as the car moves off, letting the clutch come right up as the car gathers speed.
Remember that it will be harder for the engine to overcome an extra load up the hill (like when you ride a cycle up a hill, you have to pedal a lot harder). Therefore, you must build up more momentum than usual in first gear before changing, and be sure not to fumble selection, otherwise all momentum will be lost. Lastly if you signalled check that the indicator has cancelled, then drive the car normally and engage higher gears when required.
Downhill Starts
The approved method of making a downhill start is to use the footbrake to hold the car during take-up of the clutch. The normal safety checks and signals are required, but the technique differs from a uphill start in the later stages.
To move off, engage first gear, second gear is permissible if the hill is very steep. With the clutch pedal right down ( depressed), fully apply the footbrake. Keeping both pedals depressed, Do your checks to make sure its safe to move off mirrors-signal-manoeuvre not forgetting to look over your right shoulder.If all is safe, release the handbrake and find the biting point with the clutch pedal. Now slowly release the footbrake. The car should begin to move, so let the clutch come fully home and transfer your right foot away from the brake pedal onto the gas. How much gas you need depends upon the steepness of the hill. A steep down hill gradient may require you stay in second gear, otherwise third gear is the highest likely to be needed, so you can keep control of the car.


The Driving Test
The examiner on the driving test will expect you to:-
1. Move off safely and under control on a gradient
2. Use the MSM routine
3. Check your blindspot for traffic and pedestrians
4. Make balanced use of the accelerator, clutch, brakes and steering
5. Use the appropriate gear
6. Avoid rolling back


Pedestrian Crossings
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 then until you know otherwise 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 the crossing and you may decide to stop and let them cross even though they have not yet put their foot on the crossing.
There may be pedestrians using the crossing or a large number of pedestrians on the pavement any one of whom may step onto the crossing or you may have a clear view of the crossing and there may be no-one about who might use it. Your assessment of the situation will help you decide if you are going to stop or not and will help you to judge the correct speed of approach. In any event you must apply the MSM routine
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 arm signal for slowing down or stopping, 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 a pedestrian steps onto it, 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 if you have to but on the other hand you must not drive needlessly slowly up to it. 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 and they appear hesitant and undecided give them time to make up their mind. Do not beckon to them to try or to make up their minds for them, also when you enter the zig-zag area you must not overtake the leading moving motor vehicle on the approach to the crossing or the leading vehicle that has stopped at the crossing to allow pedestrians to cross.
When you are stopped at a zebra crossing you should wait until any pedestrians are clear of it, 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 zig-zag 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, Zebra Crossing
Zebra Crossing
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 is made aware of the crossing because of its black and white poles with flashing yellow beacons and zig-zag 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 like the one on the right. 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.
Pelican Crossing
These are signal-controlled crossings operated by pedestrians. Drivers approaching a Pelican crossing is made aware of the crossing because of its traffic lights and zig-zag 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 no not wave others onto the crossing.
Puffin 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 is made aware of the crossing because of its traffic lights and zig-zag 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 zig-zag road markings ( zig-zag marking 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.
Pegasus Crossing
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 is made aware of the crossing because of its traffic lights and zig-zag 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:-
1. Demonstrate consideration and courtesy for pedestrians
2. Stop at Pelican, Puffin, Toucan and Pegasus Crossings if the lights are red
3. Give way to pedestrians at Pelican Crossings if the lights are flashing amber
4. Slow down and stop at Zebra Crossings if anyone is crossing or waiting to cross
5. Control your speed on approach to Pedestrian Crossings
6. Move off, after looking carefully to ensure it is safe

 


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