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Give Way priorities :
The three to remember are:

When turning right, if you are on the major road, give way to oncoming traffic on the major road from directly ahead, even if they are turning left.

At roundabouts, and mini-roundabouts, give way to the right (anything that's going to turn into the driver's door).

At a Give Way junction: Give way to the major road, to the right, and to the left: because there may be a car overtaking from the left on your side of the road.

Any time that you have to give way, check, check, and double-check. Be aware that you often only see what you expect to see - not necessarily what is actually there. Look out especially for dull coloured cars, which merge into the background. Motor cycles, and cyclists can be especially difficult to see, particularly if they are in an unusual road position. Motor cycles can be following closely behind another vehicle, and hidden from your view. At night look out for cars without headlights on.

Give-way junctions:
At junctions you must give way to the major road in BOTH directions. You need to look both ways before crossing the line, and still be able to stop behind the line if you see something coming!

Approach any give-way with the intention of stopping. Have a decision point, which for normal approach speeds would be about a car length back from the line. If you can see adequately BOTH ways by your decision point then carry-on, else continue to stop at the Give-way line. In practice you will find that you need to stop at nearly every junction (unless the visibility is exceptional in both directions). You can change into 1st gear as you look both ways.

Decision point approaching a give way junction
Decision point approaching a give way junction.

Decision point explanation: if you are travelling at 10mph, your reaction distance is 10 ft (3M), and your stopping distance is 5ft (1.5M). This gives a total stopping distance of 15ft (4.5M), or about a car length. To be able to stop behind the line, you must begin to react by at least one car length away.  

Stop junctions:
Where there have been a number of accidents, Give-way junctions are often changed to STOP junctions. The same give way priorities apply, but even if you can see for miles in both directions, you must stop at the line (photo below). This is a legal requirement, and attracts penalty points on your licence if you don't stop completely (wheels not turning).

STOP junction: wheels must stop turning

In extreme circumstances, at either a Give-Way or a Stop junction, if it is blind or closed; that's where you can't see a thing; use staggered stops:

Edge out then stop, and look both ways; Edge out then stop, and look both ways; Edge out then stop, and look both ways - until you can see adequately in both directions (probably at least 100 metres)

This method allows anyone approaching the chance to see your bonnet, and react to you, even if you can't see them.

Emerging through a queue:
When emerging through a queue of traffic, either to cross lanes or to turn right you must stop behind the give way line. When someone lets you out - Stop at the centre line. Stopping at the centre line is essential so that anyone overtaking the queue (possibly a motorcycle) has time to see you and react to you before you pull out in front of them

Traffic light junctions:
Traffic lights give priority to the road you are on if you see green, or the road crossing it if they show red to you. The lights control the stop line, so when you approach, if they change to amber stop if you can, but if you can’t stop behind the line - keep going. You can go across the stop line legally on amber. Always approach traffic lights at less then 30mph, you only get a couple of seconds on amber when they change to red. Check the mirror on the approach to see if anyone is close behind – if they are then don’t stop suddenly. Ease your speed down on the approach and cover the brake until you are about one car length away from the line.

When you stop at a red traffic light, try to stop at the line, and not back from it. Traffic lights are triggered by microwave movement sensors, induction sensors in the road, or by a timer: On most lights the timer will operate them, even if they are not triggered. But on some junctions, particularly dedicated turn lanes (eg. right turn lane from Southchurch Rd into Bournemouth Park Rd, Southend), there isn't a timer, so if you don't trigger them by going all the way up to the line you'll be there all day.

Right Turns at traffic lights:
If the opposing right turn lanes are opposite each other then the cars usually turn right in front of each other. If the lanes are offset to the right then the cars pass each other and turn behind, if this is the case keep straight and next to the white line. Beware of cars on your left. Never be the third car into a junction, unless it is a very large one, you might get stuck in the middle.

A right turn onto the A127, from Bridgewater Drive, at Kent Elms Corner in Westcliff. The procedure here is to enter the junction when the light changes to green. Then position in the centre of the junction, with the front of the car level with the centre of the road that you are turning into, the A127. You must keep left of the oncoming traffic as you enter. Wait in the middle of the junction until the oncoming traffic stops, or until there is a gap large enough for you to proceed safely with the turn. When you can proceed you should normally turn into the left hand lane of the dual-carriageway (below):

Nearside to nearside right turn at Kent Elms traffic lights

The junction of Prittlewell Chase (dual carriageway) and Hobleythick Lane in Southend. The right turning traffic turns offside to offside (or behind each other). This is a very narrow junction with 2 lanes of traffic in each direction on Hobleythick Lane, which is a single carriageway. If you are turning right here you should enter the junction carefully making sure that you keep left of the centre line.

You should then pass oncoming traffic that is also turning right, and turn behind it when it is clear. You are of course still giving way to oncoming traffic that is going straight ahead, or turning to its left. You also need to be very aware of traffic passing on your left, as the lanes narrow in the middle of the junction (below).

Offside to offside right turn at Prittlewell Chase traffic lights

Offside to offside right turn at Prittlewell Chase traffic lights

Box junctions:
When you are in a queue you must not stop on a box junction. To make sure that you don’t, always ensure that there is a whole car length clear the other side of the box, before you move across. Do not try to anticipate enough room the other side because you may get it wrong! You can stop on the box if you are turning right. "You must not enter the box unless your exit road is clear, unless you are turning right and only prevented from doing so by oncoming traffic."

Gaps in the central reservation:
If you are asked to do a 'U' turn in a central reservation gap the main thing to remember is that the gap will be two way, so you must keep to the left. All roads are two way unless they are signed or marked one-way.

Left and right turns:
Always make sure that you look into the side road before committing yourself to turn in. For right turns correct road position is essential. Wide turns generally don't cause many problems, but tight turns do, especially tight left turns:

The most important thing is to manage is your speed. Remember that you should be in control of the car, not the car in control of you! The best method for very tight turns is to nearly stop just before you get to the turn, making sure that you lose all your momentum. Dip the clutch and change gear. Then use the gas and biting point as you turn. Go onto the gas before lifting the clutch for best control.

Using this method the gear isn't critical, you could go around a very tight corner in 2nd gear quite easily. Make sure that you turn the steering wheel enough to get around: If you want the car to steer more tightly, turn it more! Straighten the steering before increasing the speed of the car.

Although you shouldn't have the clutch fully down when you go around a corner you can control the car on the clutch at the biting point.

Tight left turns:
Try to keep tight to the kerb as you turn, and not let the front of the car swing out over the centre line of the road you are turning into. However if the corner is tighter than the car is able to turn, this may be necessary. Check before you do that there is no oncoming traffic from the side road. Ensure that your speed is under control, slowest point just before you turn (photo below).

Approaching a tight left side turning

If you run the back wheel over the kerb, it is usually just a minor fault. It is better to do this than to swing wide into an oncoming car. If the side road is particularly narrow, and there is not enough room to turn in, you may have to stop before you turn to let other traffic emerge (photo below):

Letting a car out of a side road before turning in

Right turns (wide or tight):
You should be next to the centre line of the road you are in, and parallel to it. The same applies even when turning right from a left-hand bend – stay next to, and parallel to the line. This is to put people off from overtaking you on the right, which they will do if you keep left before you turn.

However, if there are parked cars on the right-hand side of the road, you may need to be past them before you pull over to the centre line. If you move to the correct position too early you may be in conflict with oncoming traffic that is overtaking the parked cars.

Positioning for a turn into a side road on the right

Your stop-and-wait, or begin-to-turn, point is when the front of your car is level with the centre line of the road you are turning into (photo above). If you are waiting to turn, keep the steering pointing along the main road: This means that if you are hit in the rear, you will not be pushed into oncoming traffic.

Make sure that you don't cut the corner off of the side road – turn in as if a car was emerging to turn right. Take it as much as a right-angle as you can. If you have to cut the corner because the road is either too narrow not to, or there is something parked awkwardly, then that is perfectly acceptable.

On wide right turns it is easy to swan-neck. that means going too far forward, and then almost doubling back on yourself as you turn into the side road. This is dangerous because someone who is impatient behind (most people) may decide to overtake as you turn. You will then turn back into them! Believe me it happens! If it can happen, one day it will!


Protected right turn lanes:

Delaying a position next to the centre line for a right turn
The parked car on the right means that it is not
safe to pull over to the centre line untl much
closer to the right turn.

Hatched area protected right turn lane
The hatched area is a protected right turn lane.

If there is a right turn lane marked on the road, try to get into it if you can (photos above). If necessary you can drive over any hatched road markings to enable you to get into the lane. But only if they are bordered by a broken white line, and only as much as you have to. You must not cross a solid line.

If you move out to the right, and then find that road markings are in the way, generally don't move back to the left, but drive over them. This is because as soon as you move out to the right, following traffic will overtake on the left.

One way streets:
Make sure that you know when you are in a one-way street. There will be signs. However it only becomes important when you have to turn right: Then you have to get into the correct lane. At the end of a one-way all visible road markings will be duplicated on BOTH sides of the road. If you are in a two-way street the markings at the end of the road will be different each side.

When you turn right from a one-way street you must be on the right hand side of the road (photos below). This applies at the end, and in the middle, of a one-way street.


Turning right out of a one way street

Turning right from the middle of a one way street


If you get in the wrong lane for where your examiner wants you to go on your test, slow down – hold back and try to get into the correct lane. If you can’t then it is usually best to continue in the lane that you are in, and go with it in the wrong direction. The examiner can get you back on course later on – you should not fail for taking the wrong direction.

Remember that all roads are two-way unless there are signs telling you differently. Make sure you know which lane you should be in and what road markings to look for.