These driving tips are given as bullet points for you to use as a quick glance guide. Some are broad generalisations which apply in most circumstances, but not in all situations, so please use with caution.
Sometimes just seeing something you know about already, but phrased differently, helps it make sense. We hope that you find them useful:
Someone flashing their lights may not be letting you out, but be flashing to their mate.
Do manoeuvres slowly and stop and start. Use a method you know that works, and try not to improvise too much. A regularly used method means consistency, even under stress.
Keep, at the very least, two seconds away from the car in front, three seconds when above 40 mph.
Know all the car controls and switches so that you are able to use them without thinking about it.
Always have the clutch down before turning the ignition key. Some cars won't start unless you do.
Use mirror, signal, position, speed, gear, accelerate.
When pulling up: Use handbrake, neutral, cancel indicator.
Go onto the gas before lifting the clutch, when pulling away.
At junctions always look left (as well as right) before crossing the give way line.
If you’re in the wrong lane go with it, unless you can change lanes in plenty of time.
Only drive over mini-roundabouts if it is impractical to go around them.
When overtaking parked vehicles be parallel to them before you get near them.
Emergency stops with ABS - just brake hard.
Bay parking from 90 degrees, look down a line and it will go into the 3rd space back.
Emergency stops without ABS - release brake and re-apply if the car skids.
When reversing look out of the back window over your left shoulder at least half of the time.
Look 5 cars ahead.
Have a plan A and plan B: Always have an escape route.
You can overtake through a roundabout in the right-hand lane.
Give Way doesn’t mean “wait for” it means “don’t get in the way of”.
If someone pulls up next to the kerb in front of you - they will either pull away or open the door - be ready for it!
Steer the way you want the back of the car to go when reversing - to the kerb steer to the kerb: eg. Reverse left, look left, steer left.
Your car will drive itself along for miles without you touching the gas pedal in first or second gear.
Only use the right hand lane to overtake or turn right except when road markings tell you differently.
Indicate to tell people what you are going to do next - give them time to react.
Always approach a green traffic light as if it is a possible red light.
Indicate to do the unpredictable - not the predictable.
Don’t accelerate at what you’re trying to avoid.
When manoeuvring you can always shunt forwards if you are unhappy with it. But don't move forwards a little, move forwards a lot. Make it count !
All roads are two-way unless there are one-way signs.
When turning: Always point your wheels where you want to go before you accelerate.
Braking, steering, and accelerating, should always be smooth.
Always take a right turn into a side road as though a bus is waiting to pull out of it, to avoid cutting the corner.
Concentrate on your overall objective - where you are going, worry about the detail later.
You can overtake a cyclist on the zig-zags of a pedestrian crossing.
Meeting other traffic - only push through after you have seen them react to you.
Emerging through a queue - stop at the centre line and look for overtaking motorbikes.
Parallel parking - one turn left, full-lock right, stop with your wheels turned.
Two-way streets have different road markings each side, on one-way streets both sides are the same.
At STOP junctions it is illegal not to stop completely.
Never be the third car into a traffic light junction when you are turning right.
When manoeuvring; stop before any other drivers are close enough to have to react to you.
Slip roads - use the whole length, accelerate and check your blind spot at least 3 times.
Meeting approaching traffic? First reaction is to slow down, before changing position.
Children come in pairs, the child you can’t see is the dangerous one.
React to any HINT of danger - slow down.
When you are driving you should survive by design, not by luck
If you don't feel able to change gear on a roundabout, just stay in a low gear, but hold the speed steady.
When driving normally keeping 4 or 5 seconds back from the car in front will give you a chance to see road markings, and avoid potholes.
Your brain tries to make sense of what's happening before you react. Try to train yourself to overcome this and cover the brake at the first hint of anything occurring ahead.
The car in front may give you a clue as to the correct speed to enter a bend, but you might just follow them straight into a ditch.
Most drivers survive on the roads by the skin of their teeth. Don't just react to situations, but plan how you are going to deal with them.
Defensive driving is all about controlling the situation so that other people don't put you in danger.
It is very difficult to have an accident if you give other drivers time to react. It's very easy to have an accident if you don't give other drivers time to react.
It's not just seeing a hazard that's important - It's doing something about it.
If its raining, misty, foggy, hazy: Switch on your headlights (not sidelights), to make yourself seen.
Your windows will demist more quickly if you recycle the interior air when you switch on the air-conditioning.
At a junction you only have to give way to another road if a line crosses your road. If you can see lines crossing the other road you can be confident of your right-of-way. However some backstreet junctions are unmarked, and should be treated as give way.
On dual carriageways: If the lines separating the lane changes to very short dashes, the lane probably leads off to an exit.
When pulling away from the side of the road - indicate to go when there is a gap, not when you are waiting for a gap.
On a level or downhill road you can pull away more promptly by holding the car on the footbrake, with the handbrake off, while you are waiting for a gap.
When leaving a dual-carriageway, be in the left (or appropriate) lane by the half-mile direction sign, and indicate off at the 200 yard countdown marker.
For most dual-carriageway exits, slow down in the slip road, not on the main road.
When driving on fast roads, use: Horizon, Speedo, Mirror.
Just because someone flashes you out doesn't mean you have to go. But if it all looks safe, just creep forwards a little to show willing, and re-evaluate.
Most cars are powerful enough to pull away without any gas if you are careful with the clutch.
You can pull out in front of a car that is indicating to turn in, if they are far enough away for it not to matter whether they turn in or not.
The more paint on the road there is the stronger the message. Give-way junctions have broken lines, Stop junctions have solid lines. Lane lines are short dashes, hazard lines are long lines.
If you have a filter arrow at traffic lights for your right-turn lane, you probably don't have to give way to anyone. If you have a round green light you probably do.
In a 30mph limit there should be 5 hazard lines leading up to a junction, in a national speed limit - 7 lines.
Some traffic lights don't have timers. If you don't trigger them by going all the way up to the stop line they won't change for you.
Try not to feel pressured by other people: Sometimes it takes more confidence to go slowly, than to go fast.
Always leave plenty of space around your vehicle: You can't hit anything if you don't get close to it !
On an uphill start be sure to feel the biting point before releasing the handbrake. If you roll back lift the clutch a little. Going more on the gas will not stop you rolling back, it just means that your revs are higher when you hit the car behind.
It's very easy to drive along without thinking about what you are doing, just coping with things as they happen. Talking yourself through things will improve your concentration and help you focus.
When overtaking parked cars; early position = early view. By moving out early you can see approaching vehicles sooner, and they can see you.
One car pulling out of a side road ahead of you is often followed by another one.
Someone who pulls out in-front of you will probably then slow down and turn right.
Everytime you pass a petrol station check your fuel gauge.
When visibilty is restricted at a junction, or a zebra crossing, or anywhere else, an inexperienced driver assumes that nothing is there until they see it is, an experienced driver will assume that something is there until they have seen there isn't.
When you are following a cyclist, trying to overtake: Always be in 2nd gear. This gives you low speed control when following, and lots of acceleration to overtake. Try not to change gear again until you have passed them, and back on your side of the road.
Indicate for 4 flashes before changing lanes on a dual-carriageway.
Never drive in another vehicle's blindspot on a dual-carriageway.
Never approach a roundabout with another vehicle next to you on your right-hand side, it will block your view.
A lane change should take about 5 seconds to complete - very gradually.
Whenever you change lanes, or emerge from a slip road, try to accelerate. Then anything in your blindspot will drop back behind.
Do not pull out if another vehicle is moving fast enough or is close enough to hit you - they may not go where you think.
Approach a roundabout slowly enough to work out what’s going on before you get there.
Never pull out alongside another vehicle unless you can see clearly – it will not protect you.
The closer a car is behind you the further you need to be from the car in front, so that you don't have to brake suddenly.
Double check everything, then check again - one look is never enough.
If you can’t see both ways at a junction before crossing the line, for at least 100 metres - STOP.
Once you begin to pull away push the clutch down a bit, it will keep it smooth.
If the engine feels rough at anytime - push the clutch down.
You can bring the clutch up whilst braking if you are doing more than 15mph. You can bring the clutch up to the biting point, when braking, at any speed, even if you are stopped.
Bringing the clutch up quickly doesn’t make you pull away faster - you just jump up and down a lot.
To pull away fast use lots of gas and stay in the first gear as long as possible, the engine of the car is designed to rev up to the redline.
Use a 2-stage method of pulling out of junctions and mini roundabouts - one lane at a time.
Keep your backdoor closed - don’t open a gap to your side if you’re going to close it again.
At blind junctions use staggered stops - give other people a chance to see your bonnet so that they can react to you.
Timing is everything - avoid reaching a mini-roundabout at the same time as an approaching car.
Use “slow in, fast out” for bends: use the "Limit point method".
Use the same gear on a downhill as you would going up the same hill.
If you expect something to happen you will react twice as quickly.
Enough room to pass ? - use their, and your distance from the white line as a reference.
Look across bends.
Seeing a reflection (or lights) tells you something is coming, but not seeing a reflection (or lights) doesn’t mean that there is nothing coming.
Don’t look at cars as they overtake you - it might cause you to swerve towards them.
Assume nothing! Trust nobody! Especially their indicators.
Overtaking a cyclist: move out, then accelerate. Don't accelerate at them, they might stop before you can move out.
When waiting to do a hill start take your foot off the footbrake to make sure that the handbrake holds, before you try to pull-away.
No decision is a good one until you’ve confirmed it.
When going through a gap: Less space less speed.
In the right-hand-lane: protect your left, you might want to pull back in !
Every decision you make must be yours not someone else’s (eg. If someone waves you out, or flashes you through).
You should never force someone to do something, but you can assertively position yourself to encourage them to volunteer to move out of your way!
Keep a good gap between you and the car in front. If someone pulls in and compromises your safety distance, do whatever you need to do regain it.
At a mini-roundabout: try to keep moving unless traffic from your right gives you any clue, by their speed, position, or indicator, that they are turning towards you.
Moving forwards to correct a manoeuvre, you can sometimes do it up to 5 times and still pass. But each correction needs to achieve something.
If you're not 100% sure of what's happening ahead, then: cover the brake, slow down, and hold back.
You only get right-of-way with the co-operation of the person who's supposed to give way to you.
On the turn-in-the-road; if you get past 90 degrees across the road at the end of the first reverse section, you will probably finish the manoeuvre in 3.
If you get confused, slow down and give yourself time to think. If you get very confused - slow down, or stop, look everywhere, and give way to everything.
On a downhill pull-away all your vehicle control should be with the footbrake.
Other drivers will often give you a clue as to what they are going to do next by subtle changes in their speed or road position.
When you enter a new dual-carriageway give yourself a minute or so to assess the other drivers around you before you begin to overtake.
How you release the brake is as important as how you apply it.
Approach give-ways at a speed from which you can stop behind the line, until you can make the decision to go. You can't make the decision to go until you can see adequately.
When approaching a give-way, try not to make a snap decision to go, you need time to properly assess the traffic flow.
All gaps are not equal: you will find that you are able to take a smaller gap once you've been waiting at a give way for a while, and had time to think, than when you first arrive.
When there is more than one lane, keep precisely in yours. If you're not in the other lane, someone else will be.
It's no good looking if you don't see what you're looking at, and it's no good seeing if you don't do anything about it.
If you see something lying in the road, try to steer around it. If you wait until you can see if it is necessary to avoid it, you will run it over.
A right turn at traffic lights is the same as a right turn into a side road. Just keep left of centre, and give way to oncoming traffic.
Indicate to get into lane, even if the road just widens or the lanes just split.
Always too fast approaching roundabouts, or left turns? Try: Mirror - Signal - Brake
Trying to avoid something: look where you want to go, and the steering will follow.
Going into a situation too slowly just means that you delay people behind for a second. Going into a situation too fast means that you delay people behind for an hour, while you sort out the details of the accident.
If you try to keep rolling at a closed junction, you often see what's coming just at the point that you can't stop.
Slowing on a steep uphill ? Try not to brake, let the hill do the work.
Right turns should be done at right-angles.
The place you're most likely to be overtaken is when you are about to pull out around a parked car ?!
Traffic lights control stop-lines, not junctions. If there is no stop-line then the light is just a reminder.
A cyclist on the pavement is likely to swing out onto the road if they see pedestrians on the path ahead.
When manoeuvring to the left always stop before you look around to your right. Otherwise you may be in the process of swinging the front out towards something just as you see it.
In a muddle? Sort out your speed and steering. Everything else can wait until you've got time.
You always need first gear when you stop, but you don't need to stop to put it into first gear.
When you see a speed limit sign, repeat what it says to yourself 3 times. That way you won't forget what the speed limit is 30 seconds later.
When meeting other traffic- slow down into a closing gap, accelerate into an opening gap.
If you are dropping into the drains when you are driving, you are too close to the kerb.
When steering the first part of the turn is the important part. An efficient turn-in means that you can begin to straighten earlier.
Push-pull steering promotes better speed control when turning.
When overtaking parked cars - some road widths are wide enough to make you think you can get through, but are narrow enough so that you can't.
Try not to drive into situations assuming that everything will all work out as planned, sometimes it won't.
Whilst on a roundabout you can change lanes by moving away from the centre, but not towards the centre.
When you indicate you need to re-enforce the message that you are giving to other drivers by altering your speed or position as well. Look for other drivers doing the same. An indicator never tells the whole story!
If you have a choice of two lanes going in the same direction, it is best to choose the left of the two, because it's less complicated. If you're in the right-hand-lane you have the problem of dealing with the vehicles on your left that you're overtaking. If you're in the left-hand-lane the traffic on your right has the problem of dealing with you.
Whenever you are on a two lane section and you think you may have to turn right ahead, try to position yourself so that you don't have another vehicle alongside you.
When pulling out at a roundabout; don't wait to see where someone is going, if they are so far away it doesn't matter where they are going.
When emerging; sometimes it's more about letting other people see you, and giving them time to react, than it is about you seeing them.