So let’s have a look at sections 15-22 on the driving test form in a little detail. Remembering from a previous post that each could be a driver fault, a serious or dangerous fault.
Timed – this could be too early or too late to be of value. Too early would include this example: Travelling along a main road and intending to take the second road on the left but signalling before the first one – a driver from the second road may assume that you are taking the first one.
Remember that signals are meant to warn and inform other road users, so think about it.
17. Response to signs/signals is split into 5 sections
Response to traffic signs – this would be a failure to comply with a sign or a late reaction to a sign. An example would be trying to turn right when there is a left turn only sign – perhaps onto a dual carriageway.
Response to road markings – this would include double white lines, box junctions and lane direction arrows.
Response to traffic lights – this could be failure to move off when there is a green light and it is safe to go.
Response to traffic controllers – most likely to be school crossing warden (lollipop man), but could be police or stop/go man at roadworks.
Response to other road users – perhaps when someone is obviously giving away the normal priority and you don’t take appropriate action.
18. Use of speed
This is driving too fast for that road, weather and traffic conditions. Please see earlier posts about working out the speed limit if you are unsure.
This is keeping a proper and safe distance from the vehicle in front when moving. Also leave a reasonable gap from the vehicle in front when stopping in lines of traffic. I will try to cover the two second gap and “tyres and tarmac” in a later post to clarify.
Appropriate speed – this is where you are driving too slow for that road and traffic conditions. I find that the examiner’s are fairly lenient with this, but if you are holding traffic up for a while they will be critical and even fail you if it is excessive.
Undue hesitation – this will most likely occur at junctions, roundabouts etc. When there is a clear opportunity to go we should take it (do we don’t hold up traffic behind). Again I find the examiners are quite forgiving in this area; they assume that with more experience you will get much better at moving into gaps (I think). In contrast I think they will never give the benefit of the doubt if you go when you shouldn’t.
21 Junctions – split into five sections and this is one of the most important areas (lots of test failures here).
Approach speed arriving at junctions – Either too fast or too slow, I would say most problems are by arriving too fast.
Observations at junctions – Not taking effective observation before emerging from junctions. Junctions can be anywhere that you emerge, so roundabouts, T-junctions and crossroads. During 2011 there were 201175 driving test failures for this reason and 187075 in 2010 – so clearly the most common test failure.
Turning right at junctions – Late or incorrect positioning before turning right, including failing to move forward into the correct position to turn right at traffic lights.
Turning left at junctions – Positioning too close or too far from the kerb before turning left.
Cutting corners: Cutting right hand corners, particularly where the view is limited. Please see previous post for an explanation of this one.
22. Judgement – split into 3 sections.
Overtaking, meeting and crossing.
Judgement when overtaking – Attempting to overtake unsafely or cutting in after overtaking. This could include overtaking cars, tractors, cyclists etc.
Judgement when meeting – Failure to show proper judgement when meeting approaching traffic. A meeting situation happens when you are passing a parked vehicle (or other obstruction) on the left and there is an on-coming vehicle. Of course you will be on the wrong side of the road, so need to ensure that you can safely get back to your side before “meeting” the on-coming vehicle.
Judgement when crossing traffic -Turning right across the path of oncoming traffic and misjudging the gap.
I will look at some more sections of this form in my next post.
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