Defensive driving Lessons Note

Consider your licence an agreement between you and society. You must obey the road rules and laws, and drive in a responsible and safe manner.

Consider your licence an agreement between you and society. You must obey the road rules and laws, and drive in a responsible and safe manner.

Drive defensively by:

  • Keeping a sufficient following distance
  • Signalling before changing lanes or turning
  • Never exceeding the safe speed, which may be lower than the posted limit
  • Regularly scanning your surroundings for hazards

Always ensure that you have enough space to perform your manoeuvre, whether turning, changing lanes, crossing a road etc. For example, make sure that any lane you wish to change to is clear and that you can safely make the lane change without disrupting other traffic.

Be courteous on the roads and drive with care. You shouldn’t assume that all drivers follow the road rules. It’s your duty to avoid collisions so stay alert!

Practice, practice, practice

Pratice in all types of weather conditions

During your learner period, it’s crucial that you practice driving in a broad range of different conditions, such as at night, in different weather conditions, and on roads with different speed limits and surfaces. These situations are important to encounter when you have the support of your supervising driver, so that you won’t encounter them for the first time as a solo driver.

The main skills of driving are:

  • Scanning - includes scanning to the sides of the car, looking ahead and using the mirrors. New drivers tend to just look forward
  • Car maneuvering - includes steering, using pedals, braking, using indicators etc.
  • Decision making - e.g. deciding when to overtake, when to accelerate/slow down and when to adjust the speed of the car to the different conditions
  • Hazard perception - ability to identify and respond to potential hazards

Every practice session will improve your driving performance, enhance your decision-making ability and improve your hazard perception skills.

Look ahead, look to the sides and use your mirrors when scanning.

Start by getting to know the car (e.g. steering), and then apply your skills on quiet roads away from busy traffic. Improve your driving by gradually exposing yourself to more demanding driving situations.

As a beginner, turning right at an intersection can be very difficult

For beginners, even the most typical task can prove difficult and will require practice. Think about approaching an intersection for example:

  • Plan ahead. You need to start slowing down in time, change gears, and decide if stopping is necessary
  • Position yourself in the corrent lane. If you need to change lanes, you need to find a safe gap, check mirrors and blind spots, and use indicators to give sufficient warning
  • Scan for other vehicles and pedestrians. You need to be aware of how old road users and pedestrians around you are behaving. A pedestrian might be about to cross the road, or a car near you might suddenly change lanes
  • If turning right, you need to find a safe gap in oncoming traffic. Be aware of potential hazards on or near the road e.g. pedestrians of cyclists

Log Book

Use your Learner Log Book to keep track of the number of hours you spend and the type of practice you do. To sit the driving test, you must have logged at least 120 hours including 20 hours at night.

Are you allowed to use a mobile phone?

Using a mobile phone takes your attention away from the road and thereby increases the risk of crashing

Mobile phones are allowed for calls and audio playing functions if securely mounted or if they can be used without touching (e.g. bluetooth).

Visual display units (VDUs) and mobile phones can be used as driver’s aid (GPS) only if securely mounted.

It’s illegal to use a hand-held phone when driving, including:

  • texting/messaging
  • to make/receive calls
  • operating any hand-held function of the phone

Fines and demerit points will apply if caught doing any of the above.

Pull over safely and park before you take or make a call.

Learners and P1/P2 licence holders aren’t allowed to use a mobile phone at all while driving, including hands-free.

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