Learning to drive can be a scary task. There are so many rules to remember and so much to do as well as just steer! Those mirrors must be checked, what’s over your shoulder? For goodness sake don’t forget to hit the indicator! If you are feeling a little overwhelmed by the whole thing, don’t worry that’s normal. We’ve gathered some of the basic rules that often get confused into one place for you. Please remember these are not all the rules, not even close! But at least if you know these you’ll have a grip on some that even experienced drivers mess up!
It seems that yellow lights have become a challenge or a reason to race. Where this idea came from, who knows? But it is wrong and illegal! A yellow light is not an extension of a green light, rather the opposite, it is the beginning of a red light. Meaning that you must stop if it is safe to do so. To help decide if it’s safe, check your rear view mirror. How close is the next car, can you slow down and allow them adequate time to react and stop too? If so, you should do so, if not, continue at speed to get through the light and out of the way before it changes to red.
Where do you give way? How do you know when to do so? Basically speaking you must give way at Give Way and Stop signs. Contrary to popular belief a Stop sign is not more ‘powerful’ than a Give Way sign, so you must obey the rules at this sign just as you would the Stop. Pay attention to lines on the road too. The road at these signs has special markings, this way if the signs are lost due to weather or theft the rules are still clear.
When at an intersection if you are turning across the path of another vehicle you must give way to them, getting in their way would be dangerous to everyone on the road at the time. Some often forgotten give way rules include stopping at pedestrian crossings. Even when marked many drivers simply drive across, which is needlessly risky. A massive no no is not giving way to emergency vehicles. If the lights and sirens are going you must do as much as you can to get out of their way as soon as possible. There are people who consider it a game to block them and think it’s funny, a person could die because of these actions which come with hefty penalties. Do the right thing and make space as soon as it is safe to do so.
Some of these can be tricky, especially the multi lane ones. There are some basic rules to make sure everyone gets to where they want to go safely. If your intention is to turn left, move into the left lane and indicate accordingly. If you are going right, use the right lane and indicate right until you are exiting the roundabout, the same applies if you are going all the way around, indicate right until you get to the turn you need then indicate left. If you are going straight through you can use either lane unless otherwise marked.
At any point where a lane change is necessary you must give way to the traffic in the lane you are changing too. Feel free to indicate to show your need to move over, but do not do so until there is space. It is not their job to make a space for you, it’s your job to find one.
Braking distance is needed to ensure everyone’s safety. If something bad happens in front of you, the braking distance will help to stop you from being involved. It’s also good protection against people who think they are race car drivers and slam the brakes on when they have over estimated their talent.
Generally the correct distance is about three seconds behind the car in front. If you are towing a trailer or are in a heavier vehicle like a truck the time will need to be increased.
This is a tricky one. When you are learning the best bet is to stay safe and only do uturns where there is a sign saying they are permitted. Every place they are allowed will have a sign. No sign, no turn. Other road users might have a go anyway. That doesn’t make it right.
Where is the best place to be in your lane? That depends on the road you are on. A road with one lane of traffic going each way should see you sitting closer to the left side of your lane. If you are on a multi lane road, try to sit in the middle so everyone has their own space and isn’t feeling nervous about cars being too close.
When learning, or teaching a learner zero alcohol is tolerated. Both learner and instructor must have a 0.0 blood alcohol reading, no exceptions. If you have had a drink recently and the thought even crosses your mind that it might not be out yet, don’t risk it.
A pretty obvious one, but can be overlooked. The learner isn’t used to having a licence and the instructor suddenly isn’t driving. However both parties must have their licences on them the entire time.
That’s it for the common forgotten or ignored rules. Miss any of these are you are guaranteed to fail your test. Learn them now and you are guaranteed to end up being a better driver than many of those already on the road! Remember you aren’t the issue, don’t worry so much about what you’re doing, watch the people around you. Happy driving, be safe!