Moving off

Before moving off, always use your mirror, but look round as well for a final check. Look out for pedestrians who may be crossing or standing by your vehicle. A small child may be hidden from view. Signal if necessary before moving out, move off only when you can do so safely without making other road users change speed or direction.

Driving along

Keep to the left except when traffic signs or road markings indicate you may do otherwise or when intending to overtake, or turn right, or when you have to pass stationary vehicles or pedestrians on the road. Allow others to overtake if they want to.Do not drive on a footpath or pavement by the side of the road. Do not drive on a hard shoulder, hard strip or verge.

When driving keep away from the edge of the road. Do not drive close to the pavement or verge; allow room for a pedestrian to step onto the roadway. When passing parked vehicles allow room for a door to be opened. Parts of your vehicle may overhang, such as mirrors, if so allow more room.

You must not allow passengers to hold the steering wheel or to lean out of a window.

In a traffic hold-up or in slow moving traffic, do not try to jump the queue by cutting into another lane or by overtaking the vehicles waiting in front of you.

On narrow or winding roads, or where there is a lot of oncoming traffic, drivers of large or slow-moving vehicles should be prepared to pull in, and slow down or stop, as soon as there is a suitable opportunity to do so, to give faster vehicles a chance to overtake.

illustration

Driving for long periods may make you feel sleepy. To help prevent this, make sure there is plenty of fresh air in your vehicle.
If you start to get tired, stop and rest at a suitable parking place.

Do not drive while wearing earphones. Do not play an audio device loudly as it would distract your attention towards emergency siren or horns. You must not watch a television while driving.

Avoid using a hand-held car/mobile telephone whilst driving. You will not have proper control of your vehicle and the conversation may distract you. If you wish to make a call or answer the phone, either stop in a safe place or ask a passenger to make or take the call for you.

Drivers are to be advised to use a hands-free device should they wish to use car/mobile telephone while driving.

Safe and courteous driving

Bad driving habits and manners are more than irksome and rude, they are often dangerous and sometimes illegal. You should be more courteous and co-operative. Bad driving adds to congestion and general aggravation.

Always avoid:

Travelling too fast - Observe the speed limit and match your speed with the traffic flow, taking note of the road and weather conditions and your own ability. Remember that as speed increases, your reaction time, stopping distance and the severity of any accident increases.

Going too slow - Although some consider this to be safer driving, it may be irritating to other drivers. If you observe traffic building up behind you, look for an opportunity to move over or pull off the road to allow other motorists to pass. On a multi-lane road, merge quickly but safely, matching your speed with other traffic. Allow faster moving vehicles to overtake.

Following too close - Following too close to the vehicle in front is a major cause of accidents. Maintain the correct stopping distance between you and the vehicle in front. ( See page 46 'Stopping Distance'.)

Unsafe overtaking - Keep left unless overtaking. Do not overtake unless it is safe to do so; indicate your intention both before and after the manoeuvre and observe other traffic both behind and ahead of you. The manoeuvre should be done quickly but smoothly. When being overtaken, do not increase your speed, but be prepared to slow down if necessary. Overtake only on the offside.

Failure to use direction indicators - accidents can be prevented if other drivers know of your intentions to change direction. Therefore, use the direction indicators in good time before changing direction whether to turn, change lanes or overtake and observe traffic both ahead and behind before the actual manoeuvre. Remember to turn off the direction indicators after the manoeuvre.

Poor lane discipline - The rules are simple, but widely ignored. Stay in your lane. Don't drive over the centre line, drift from side to side, zigzag through traffic, bully your way into another lane or remain in the fast lane. When changing lanes, remember 'Think, Look, Signal, Look again'. Even with your mirrors, there are blind spots which they cannot cover, so it is important to take a quick glance over your shoulder for a final check.

Failure to give way - If there is no give way sign, the rules of the road dictate that cars entering from the minor road or access should give way to those already on the major road, and cars making a right turn must give way to oncoming traffic It is an offence not to pull over for an emergency vehicle with its lights flashing or siren on. Failure to give right of way immediately can endanger you, your passengers and the people the emergency vehicle is carrying or trying to reach. In addition, motorists should always show consideration for pedestrians, even if they are jaywalking; give motor-cyclists and cyclists the same rights and courtesies as any other vehicles.

Bad manners - This includes a host of misbehaviour - cursing, obscene gestures, use of the horn unnecessarily, loud music, refusing to merge, littering ( including cigarette butts ) and just about any other act of rudeness or selfishness that may annoy others. A little more courtesy and consideration by all of us could make driving safer and more pleasurable.

Ignorance - Make sure you have a thorough knowledge of all traffic laws, signs and markings. Once you know them, obey them.

Be cautious of long/heavy vehicles

Don't brake quickly or cut in front of a heavy vehicle. Heavy vehicles need almost 50 percent more distance than cars do to stop. Always leave a lot more distance between your car and a tractor-trailer. You should:

Pass with care - A long vehicle takes longer to overtake, so allow yourself more room and time to pass. Start the overtaking manoeuvre farther back to see that the road is clear, pass quickly and wait until you can see the front of the cab in your rear-view mirror before returning to the same lane. If it is raining, be extremely cautious. The water spray from long/heavy vehicles can impair vision.

Don't drive too close - The vehicle driver may not see your vehicle and you can't see any of the road ahead and anticipate any potential hazards. In bad weather, vehicle spray reduces visibility.

Be aware of air turbulence - when passing, being passed or meeting long/heavy vehicles, be aware that they push a large volume of air, like the bow of a ship, causing air turbulence, particularly affecting small vehicles.

Allow long vehicles room to turn - Long vehicles require a wide turning area. These vehicles need extra road space before making their turns. Watch for signals and give them room.

Let heavy vehicles pass - To conserve fuel, heavy vehicle drivers tend to maintain a steady speed. They need more braking time and accelerate more slowly than cars, because they usually go faster downhill and slower uphill. Many drivers don't like to follow them and sometimes speed up when the heavy vehicle tries to pass. The result is often 20 tonnes of heavy vehicle riding your bumper-definitely not a good situation and should be avoided.

Don't travel in the long vehicle's blind spot - Alongside a long vehicle, just behind the doors, is another blind spot. Don't hang around there. The driver of the long vehicle may try a lane change and not be able to see you. If you can, always allow long vehicles enough room to change lanes.

U-turns

Regulatory sign - you must not carry out a U-turn

Regulatory sign - you must not carry out a U-turn

You must not carry out a U-turn or turn your vehicle around in a road, unless you can do so without endangering or obstructing other road users. A U-turn may be banned at some junctions or along some lengths of road. 'No U-turn' signs will indicate this.

Use your mirror often so that you know what is behind you.

Headlamp flashing

The flashing of headlamps has only one meaning - like sounding your horn it lets another road user know you are there. Do not flash head-lamps for any other reason.

Use of horn

Regulatory sign - Marks the beginning of a 'Silent zone'

Regulatory sign - Marks the beginning of a 'Silent zone'

You must not sound your horn other than as warning or sound it in a 'Silent zone'. Signs mark the beginning and end of a 'Silent zone'. 'Silent zones' are usually found near hospitals and operate at night. A 'Time plate' may show the period of operation.

When your vehicle is moving use your horn when it is necessary as a warning of your presence to other road users - but never use it as a rebuke.

When your vehicle is stopped on the road you may only use your horn at times of danger due to another vehicle moving. You must not use it if traffic is temporarily stopped and there is no danger.

Reversing

Before you reverse make sure that there are no pedestrians - particularly children - behind you. Be especially careful about the 'blind spots' behind you - that is, the parts of the road which cannot be seen from the driving seat. If there is any doubt, get out - or ask a passenger to check - to make quite sure.

If you cannot see clearly behind or if driving a large vehicle, get someone to guide you when you reverse.You must not reverse unless it can be done in safety and you must not reverse for an unreasonable distance or time. Never reverse from a side road on to a main road.

Give way to other traffic and to pedestrians when reversing.

White reversing lights let another road user know you are reversing or about to reverse - to not rely on them. Only reverse if you can do so safely and without making other road users change speed or direction. Do not rely on reversing alarms - always look - pedestrian may not hear your alarm or may be deaf.

Reckless and careless driving

You must not drive in a manner that endangers other road users, your passengers or yourself. You must not drive in a manner that would increase the risk of a traffic accident or increase the risk of injury or death.

You must drive with care and attention and with reasonable consideration for other road users and your passengers.

The rules and advice in this chapter will help you drive safely and with consideration for others.

Police signs

Temporary regulatory sign - you must stop at the sign

Temporary regulatory sign - you must stop at the sign

Police Roadblock

Temporary informatory sign -be prepared to stop if signalled to do so by a Police Officer or if indicated by a traffic sign In an emergency, or for other purposes, the police may erect temporary signs and barriers. In addition to the temporary police signs shown other traffic signs and flashing blue and amber lights may be used to warn and guide you.

Slow Police

Temporary regulatory sign - you must slow down to a speed, slower than normal, at which you can stop quickly and safely