Hawkwell Driving School - Driving lessons in Hockley, Rayleigh, Rochford, & Hullbridge. Tel. 01702 204674
Give Way priorities :
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.
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 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.
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:
Traffic light junctions:
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:
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):
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).
Gaps in the central reservation:
Left and right 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:
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):
Right turns (wide or tight):
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.
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:
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:
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.
MANY PEOPLE FAIL BECAUSE THEY GET THIS WRONG.
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.