Hazardous situations Lessons Note

The more experience a new driver gets, the lower the risk of crashing. For example, a new driver with roughly 120 hours of supervised experience is about 30% less likely to crash as opposed to a new driver with 50 hours of experience.

Driving in traffic always poses a risk as potential hazards can be anywhere around you. A hazard is any danger or risk in the road environment that might lead to a crash.

Scanning the environment frequently will provide a better understanding of what is happening around you, and will place you in a better position to avoid potential hazards.

Scanning includes:

  • Using the mirrors to look to the sides and behind the vehicle
  • Checking blind spots
  • Looking in the distance and at the road surface
  • Looking at your instruments

There are blind spots around your car regardless of how well you set up your rearview mirrors. Blind spots must be checked by moving your head and quickly looking over your shoulder.

Dealing with hazards

To deal with any hazard, you should identify the hazard by scanning continuously, know the appropriate action, act in time, and give other road users plenty of warning.

By following the system of car control (as shown below), you will be better equipped to handle potential hazards in the road environment:

  1. Identify the hazard (e.g. and approaching pedestrian)
  2. Check if your road position is appropriate fot the hazard ahead
  3. Look for other vehicles usin rear-view mirrors and use indicators to signal an upcoming changge (if needed)
  4. Check that you're driving at an appropriate speed and adjust if necessary (increase or decrease). Change gears if necessary.
  5. Just before the hazard, check whether your intended direction is still safe or if you have to take action. You might have to slow down, stop or sound your horn.
  6. Resume an appropriate speed after you have passed the hazard

Apply the system of car control when facing a hazardous driving situation (e.g. brake failure, skidding, or if there are animals or debris on the road).

This sign indicates that there is a sharp left turn ahead. You should slow down in preparation to avoid creating a dangerous situation.

Oncoming vehicles

If an oncoming vehicle crosses the centre line and heads toward you - slow down, move left, sound your horn and flash your headlights.


This sign warns of the presence of koalas ahead

Animals can cross the road without warning. They can also be hypnotised by headlights, resulting in them standing still on the road.

It can be very dangerous to swerve violently to avoid hitting an animal as it can lead to a head-on collision with oncoming traffic or loss of control of the vehicle. You can sound your horn and/or flash your headlights to try and get the animal off the road.

  • If you can safely stop or slow down, you should do so.
  • If you are unable to avoid the animal safely, you may have to hit it to avoid creating a more dangerous situation for yourself and others (e.g. a head-on collision or loss of control).
Be careful around animals!

Remove dead animals from the road. Call the Wildlife and Information Rescue Service if a native animal has been hurt.

If a domestic pet has been hurt - contact its owner or police, and take it to the nearest vet or animal shelter.

This sign warns that there is a common wildlife crossing spot ahead

Hazard markers

Hazard markers indicate the direction to take when approaching the obstacle or driving past the hazard. Drivers must obey these signs.

Left marker(Used at curves or roundabouts).

This sign indicates that you should drive to the left of the hazard.

Right marker (Used at curves).

This sign indicates that you should drive to the right of the hazard.

Island marker left/right.

This sign indicates that you should drive to left/right of the hazard.

Pass on either side of the hazard End of road marker/ Used at T-intersections).

This sign indicates that you are on the terminating road and must turn left or right to enter the continuing road.

Narrow marker (left/right)

This sign indicates the width of bridge/crossing/section of the road. Drive to the left/right of the hazard.

Curve marker (left/right)
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