Are you being seen by other drivers?

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At most crashes one of the drivers will get out of their car and say,  “He came from nowhere” or “I didn’t see her”.
If you aim to be seen you will reduce your likelihood of being involved in an accident.

What can you do to be seen?
There are several things that you can do to ensure that we are seen on the road.
The primary way that you are seen is through the use of your signals and brake lights.
By making early decisions we become more predictable and therefore easier to see on the road.
In some situations, tapping the horn or flashing the headlights will help us to be seen on the road. This is actually the only correct use of the horn!
A big part of being seen is using your own vision to identify all the hidden possibilities.
You should always be questioning, is there a child walking out behind that bus? Is there a car about to run that red light?
When you identify blockages in your vision, you can slow down. If there is a car running a light, you can see them and they can see you too.

If you are finding it difficult to see other cars then we should be questioning if other cars can see you.
This could be due to the setting sun, rain, fog or mist on the windows.
If you are having trouble seeing other cars then you need to do everything you can to be seen – turn on headlights and slow down at high activity areas.

How do you know if you have been seen?
The only way to know if you have been seen is through eye contact. If you as a driver or even as a pedestrian are not looking at the other driver, you are not getting the full picture.
If you are approaching a car that is waiting to come out of a side road and all you can see is the back of their head then you need to slow down. You cannot be sure that they have seen you.
You will still need to exercise caution even with eye contact, in some situations it might look like the other driver has seen you but not.
What does an expert driver do to be seen?
At the top level a driver will adjust their position in their lane to be seen earlier by other road users. They will avoid driving in blind spots of other road users. Headlights will be on well before dark and after dawn. They will adapt a ‘horn ready’ stance in situations that have potential other road users to make late decisions. They will also give careful consideration to the colour of their vehicle and other safety features like daytime running lights.
Read more on Road Safety: Early Decisions

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The Safer Drivers Course is designed for learner drivers wanting to learn more about becoming a safe driver. The course will help you gain a deeper understanding about what it takes to be a safe solo driver.
Through both in-class activities and on-road coaching, the Safer Drivers Course will help you to be safe long after the driving test. The course is fun, engaging and informative.
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The Kerbside Stop

You will need to do kerbside stops in the driving test.
This often overlooked skill is essential to gaining a licence.
Often it will be done on an uphill grade, especially for manual learners.
You will also need to perform the same manoeuvre as part of a reverse park or three-point-turn. Getting the kerbside stop wrong will make it difficult to pass your driving test.
Getting the kerbside stop wrong will make it difficult to pass your driving test.

Where can I do a kerbside stop?

When practicing kerbside stops, you will need to consider the road and surrounding area. Start on a quiet road so you have plenty of time.
You cannot park across a driveway, in a clearway or a bus zone. All parking signs need to be checked to ensure that you are parking in the appropriate place for the length of stay.
An often forgotten parking rule is that you need to leave at least three metres from any double unbroken center line to leave enough space for cars to go past.
For more parking rules see: http://www.rms.nsw.gov.au/roads/safety-rules/road-rules/parking.html

How to do a kerbside stop?

To master kerbside stops, you will need to be proficient in the use of:

  • Accelerator and brakes
  • The gears
  • The clutch
  • Starting and stopping the car
  • Hand-over-hand steering technique
  • Vision
  • Safety cushion
  • Blind spots

When practicing your kerbside stop,  find a suitable place to pull into the kerb; be aware of all the traffic and pedestrian activity around the vehicle.
Once a good spot has been found you can start to drive towards kerb. The aim is to be 20-40cm from the kerb once you have stopped, with the wheels parallel to the kerb.
If you are parking behind another vehicle, leave about a metre gap.
TIP: If you are having trouble judging the size of your vehicle, a transit line can be set up from your eye through to a point on the windscreen or bonnet to the kerb. This will help you repeat your position. LTRENT Driver Trainers can teach you this trick if you are unsure.
When the vehicle is parked, apply the park brake, select park in auto vehicles or first gear in a manual.

When you are leaving the kerb, the first step is to get the vehicle ready to go.
Start the motor and select drive or 1st gear. Make sure that there is enough room for you to the clear the car in front of you. Reverse a little bit if you need more space.
Check the mirrors to find a space to pull out into. Signal your intention to other road users with your indicator. The indicator needs to be on for five seconds before pulling out.
Just before you leave the kerb,  check your blind spot in the direction that you are moving. There could be a car pulling out of a driveway that you cannot see in your mirrors. If your blind spot check comes back clear then you can leave the kerb.

How do will you know when you are an expert at the kerbside stop?

At the highest level, you should be able to pull into a space that is about 2 car lengths long and be parallel first go in a busy traffic situation. You will also be able to pick and take an appropriate gap in busy traffic up a hill with cars parked either side of us.
More on manoeuvres: ANGLE PARK

Manoeuvres: Angle Parking

Do you need to know how to angle park?

Angle parking is not often in the driving test. This does not mean that you won’t have to do an angle park in the test. Often the driving test starts or ends in angle parking.

Aside from the test, you are going to need it in real life. Just like reverse parking, angle parking is a skill that most drivers just do. Before we can perform an angle park, we need to be proficient in the use of:

  • Accelerator and brakes
  • The gears
  • The clutch
  • Starting and stopping the car
  • Hand over hand steering technique
  • Blind spots
  • To and from the kerb
  • Slow moving forward
  • Up hill starts
  • Down hill starts
  • Reversing
  • Slow speed control
  • Road signs and markings

In addition to the above skills we need to have a really good feel for the size of the car. When we are performing an angle park we need to be uncomfortably close to other vehicles to succeed.

Where to do an angle park

Angle parks are found in all shopping centres, shopping strips and most car parks. They can be 90º, 60º or 45º.

How to an angle park

When we are doing an angle park we need to keep the vehicle moving slowly and smoothly and turn the steering quickly.

Firstly we pull up a little bit past the parking spot that we want to park in, about a meter out from the cars we are parking next to.

As we reverse back we need to find the spot to start turning into the parking spot. In most cars it is when the rear wheel is in line with the first corner of the car you are parking around (for 90º).

We need to adjust the starting point to for 60º and 45º parks. At this point we start to turn into the parking space, this will feel too close! As we are moving into the parking spot check your mirrors to evaluate your position in relation to the other cars. If you can see a gap between the bumper of the car you are parking around and the side of your car then we are OK.

Once the rear wheels are past the car we are parking around we need to move our focus to the car on the other side of the car spot and the lines. If we can see more of the car next to us coming into view then we are clearing it, if the view in our mirror is not changing then we might be on a collision course, stop!

As we are starting to line up with the lines we need to start straightening the wheels and reverse back in a straight line parallel to the parking lines. When we are far enough into the spot we can stop.

When we are leaving the spot make sure to move out in a straight line for at least half a car length before turning the wheels.

Driving in forwards is pretty straightforward, just make sure that you use a wide arc to enter the spot so that you are going straight as you are entering the spot. If you are reversing out of a spot make sure that you go almost fully out before turning the wheel so that you avoid bumping other cars and posts.

How do we know that we are expert?

The toughest situations for angle parking are when there is lots of traffic, say the week before Christmas at the central shopping centre. You only have one spot available, it is narrow due to the large 4wd vehicles parked either side. If we can do this first go (and leave enough space to exit the vehicle) then we are winning!

 

More on manoeuvres: REVERSE PARKING