How to drive a car safely. Check Sheet > Further explanations
WHAT YOUR EXAMINER IS LOOKING FOR TO ENABLE THEM TO AWARD YOU A DRIVING LICENCE
British International School of Driving (Colombia)
The United Kingdom has a high level of training, for all the population, in many skills. The specific skill of driving a vehicle is well established in the UK. The government has control of the formal examiners whilst the private sector has the instructors. This two tier arrangement removes the possibility of a private instructor awarding a driving licence without the driver reaching the governments driving standard.
Initially, to be legally able to drive a vehicle, a new driver shall apply for a “Provisional License”. The holder of a “Provisional Licence” when operating a vehicle on a public road must be accompanied by a driver holding a “Full Driving License”
This document is based on the British Governments DVLC driving examination. It is in two parts (Part 1 and Part 2). Part 1 includes a check list that a formal government driving examiner will have with him when he is testing a driver to the National driving standard. The examiner will mark up the sheet, in an indelible ink, and at the end of the test will make one of two actions. If the examiner has assessed that the driver being examined has NOT reached the required standard as show by the marking of the check list, the check list will be handed to the driver that has been under test. This allows the driver being failed to understand in which areas the failure occurred in order that these areas can be improved before applying for a re-test. If the driver being examined has reached the required standard, as shown by the check sheet mark up, the examiner will give a “pink slip” to the driver who has just become a full driving licence holder.
The second part of this document provides more detail to each of the sections shown in the check sheet. This detail is shown below
The Driving Test Report Explained
We all have to start our driving experience at some point in our lives and it would be wise to understand that, without driving experience, care is needed until we have gained an in depth experience to avoid the day to day hazards, both on and off all roads. In all probability your driving experience will start in the country in which you were born, but in time you will drive in other countries of the World and those other countries will require you to drive to a recognised International Standard. The Driving Report, of which this narrative forms a part, is based on the British driving examination which is a recognised International Standard. Naturally, as a person who has only driving experience originating in one’s home country you will believe that you can handle the requirements of driving in countries other than your own. However, in many countries the National Standard for driving falls well below the International Standard. By being tested and meeting the criteria show in the report you will be able to state that you are ready to drive on your own countries roads and the roads of other International countries.
You will of course present yourself to be examined in a car, which may be your car, a family car, an instructor’s car, a friend’s car, a company car or a hire car. However, as the driver being examined you are ultimately responsible for all safety aspects pertaining to the car whilst it is under your control. This is an important point to be totally aware of before you present yourself to be examined. In essence the car must be insured and road worthy as defined under the law.
The Driving examination in total is made up of a “Driving Theoretical Examination” and a “Driving Practical Examination”. The Driving Theoretical Examination has to be passed before a candidate can apply for taking the “Driving Practical Examination”. Within the scope of the Driving Test Theory section there is a test with respect to how quick a candidate can react to developing hazardous situations confronted on the road. This test is named “Hazard Perception”. The test comprises of a series of video in which are shown normally expected scenes when driving. However, there are situations that are confronted when viewing that show situations such as people crossing the road, cars entering the road at junctions, all which may develop into a significant hazard. The test is to identify the significant hazards should they begin to develop to be dangerous. Accordingly, the each candidate is well aware of the expectations of the Driving Examiner.
The bottom line is that a driver who believes that they has reached a level where they can drive Internationally, must be very disciplined to execute the training, skills and experience they have accumulated to avoid harm to themselves and others
1 Eyesight Test
At the start of the test the examiner asked you to read a vehicle number plate. If you do not meet the eyesight standard (20 metres ) then your test will not proceed. If you need glasses or contact lenses to read the plate number make sure you bring them with you for the test and wear them during the test. If you need glasses or contact lenses to pass the test then you must wear them whenever you drive or ride.
2 Highway Code / Safety
The Highway Code is a collection of practices that have been gathered together over many years in most cases following an accident were the risk was not previously appreciated.
The Highway Code covers every user of the Highways and byways and hopefully covers every eventuality.
As an important part of your driving examination you will be asked a number of questions from the Highway Code. These questions will address not only the vehicle you are to be tested but also generally. If you are to be tested on a specific vehicle you will be asked questions on the equipment and it correct usage eg fire-fighting equipment
3 Vehicle Checks
Before you attend the test, you must ensure that the vehicle in which you are to be tested complies with the statuary regulations controlling the condition and operation of your specific test vehicle. In most cases you will arrive at the test centre with another competent driver, park your vehicle and then make your presence known to the testing personnel. A driving examiner will then meet with you and accompany you to your test vehicle. Before you enter your test vehicle the examiner will ask you to demonstrate your basic knowledge of the mechanical and electrical parts of your test vehicle. The questions the examiner will ask will be about the normal routine checks that you should carry out to ensure any car you intend to drive is not a hazard to other road users or yourself. These checks should include, but not limited to, taking the engine oil level, checking the cooling water, brake fluids and the depth of tyre tread. The examiner will then ask that you and they get into the car. However, before you enter the car a walk around the car to ensure the tyres are not deflated or damaged and that all other equipment is secure will be seen by the examiner and duly noted on his record sheet.
There are a number of actions that the driving examiner will note that you carry out before operating your test vehicle. The examiner will not remind you of the requirement to carry out these actions and failing to carry them out means a probable failure of the test. Your initial action when first sitting in the driver’s seat is to ensure the seat is adjusted so that you can reach all the controls comfortably, that you can see the maximum view of the environment (360 degree possible) around the test vehicle and that the rear mirror and door mirrors are correctly adjusted. You may have just arrived at the test centre in the test vehicle and understand that everything has been set correctly but the Examiner will be very happy to see you carry out these checks, even if you think they are redundant as already done.
5 Mobile Phones
Navigation systems, commonly known a GPS, are now fitted to new cars and mobile phones also have the ability to receive GPS signals. Further, vehicles may be fitted with Navigation software that depends on receiving signals from a mobile phone. The use of a mobile phone for communication purposes to others whilst driving is proven to carry a heavy risk as the driver cannot give full attention to driving without incident at the same time as carrying out a conversation with a third party not in the vehicle
6,7 & 8 Reversing and turning in the road exercises
Depending on the test you may be asked to complete one or more slow speed manoeuvring exercises. You are needed to show you are able to keep control of your vehicle whilst carrying out the exercises. The exercises must be carried out whilst being duly aware and reacting to observations being made from the driving position. You will need to demonstrate that you can reverse the vehicle around a corner whilst keeping the vehicle close to the kerb. You will need to demonstrate that you can turn the vehicle from facing in one direction to facing in the opposite direction without using driveways or mounting or coming into contact with the kerbs
9 Controlled Stop
You may have been asked to show you were able to stop your vehicle in good time and under full control, as if in an emergency. It must be remembered that when driving in wet conditions or in icy weather conditions the stopping distances are greatly increased
Major roads in the city and between cities are increasing being developed to handle large volumes of vehicles at speed. The speed at which vehicles transit such roads leads to the potential for collisions, injuries and fatalities. Un-experience drivers can be the cause of many collisions on these fast roads. Accordingly, new drivers should not drive on autopistas (Motorways) until they have reached a level of experience on roads which do not need the level of skill required for very fast roads. This to avoid being a hazard on very fast roads when a wrong decision can be disastrous
11 Uncoupling or re coupling (vehicle and trailer combinations)
You will need to show that if your test vehicle has a trailer or is normally connected to a trailer you are sufficiently practised to couple and uncouple the trailer and to park the trailer towing vehicle alongside the trailer. This action must be made whilst making all round observations for other vehicles and pedestrian entering into the envelope of the manoeuvre that is being carried out.
Throughout the test you will need to give confidence to the Examiner that you are if full control of the test vehicle at all times. This infers that you do have confidence that you are in control. However, in a test situation a person’s nerves can undermine all the preparation that has been done before the test. At this point the fact you have spent many hours or a few hours in preparation will be exposed to the examiner. If you are in full control the examiner and any future passengers, will soon become aware that you are a competent driver and their lives are safe with you. The examiner’s check list covers every item that is used to control the test vehicle and you will be marked up against each of these items.
13 Move off.
You will need to show that you can move the car forwards or backwards from a safe parked position whilst on a level road, or a hill with a significant angle to the horizontal, at all times under full control. At the moment that you move off you will need to make observations to the rear, front and sides of the test vehicle to ensure you can move off in safety without disruption to other vehicles and pedestrians. For the purposes of the test ensure that you check the mirrors with some exaggeration. Be safe and seen to be safe
14 Use of Mirrors
Mirrors placed in cars are designed to allow the driver to observe what is to the rear or to the sides of the vehicles. However, the view to the rear and the sides of the test vehicle is constantly changing when the vehicles are being driven. Hence, it is imperative that the driver of the test vehicle is monitoring the changing views in the mirrors to be fully aware of potential developing problems. An experienced driver will be checking the rear mirrors every few seconds, as an automatic reflex, but a new driver will not. Mirrors however, cannot take the place of a person’s direct vision and a look over the shoulder to observe other vehicles movements gives a better appreciation of what is taking place. There are two positions relative to every vehicle which need special attention. These two positions are known a “blind spots”. A “blind spot” is where an overtaking vehicle can be observed by a driver in the door mirror up to a point when the overtaking car moves into the “blind spot”. At that moment the overtaking vehicle is not observable to the driver of the vehicle being overtaken. Accordingly, the 100% reliance on the door mirror when preparing to overtake a vehicle in front is not recommended and a look over the shoulder to the area of the “blind spot” is fully recommended.
Within the Highway Code there is shown a technique under the abbreviation MSM. This abbreviation is for the words Mirror > Signal > Manoeuvre sequence which should be adopted by all new and experienced drivers. That is before overtaking the Mirrors are first observed to ascertain an overtaking manoeuvre can be initiated, the overtaking signal is then commenced, a look over the shoulder to ensure there are no vehicles in the blind spot and then the overtaking manoeuvre can be made
Signals are made by drivers to communicate to other drivers and pedestrians their intentions. It is by this method that drivers and pedestrians move relative to each other with the minimum of impact on each other’s lives.
Clearly, we should all have a common understanding of signals for them to have any use and for this purpose the Highway Code was originated. Many years ago, before the advent of electrical devices eg turn indicators, stop lights, all signalling was done by hand movements. These hand movements were all contained in the Highway Code. With the introduction of electrical devices the use of hand signals was discontinued as part of the driving test but they are still used by drivers to make their way through heavy, close quartered traffic. Importantly, when giving an indications of intention the earlier it is done the more chance it has of been observed and acted upon. Once the signal has been acted upon the electrical signal should be cancelled to avoid a wrong interpretation by other road users and pedestrians.
There are other signals not shown in the Highway Code that are used very frequently by road users. These signals use the vehicles lighting / signalling devices to inform other road users of a drivers intentions. Two signals commonly uses are a) Use of the full beam lighting to indicated a driver is not giving way or is expecting others to give way and b) Use of flashing (on, off, on off) full beam headlights to show the driver is giving way to others. Both these signals are prone to being misunderstood and, if used, should be used with some understanding of the potential for being misunderstood.
Pedestrians should be allowed to make their own decisions whilst using the roads and interfacing with traffic. Should a driver signal by hand, or flashing lights, that he is giving way to a pedestrian, or a group of pedestrians, a following vehicle may not give way and could overtake which could cause injuries and potential claims
A driver should always be on the alert for collisions, which have a high risk of happening in close proximity to other vehicles and road users. Give sufficient clearance to parked vehicles to avoid collision with opening doors. Give time to react to children, animals and objects obscured behind parked vehicles that may emerge into the path of the test vehicle. Be very observant for vehicles moving out from a parking space without a clear signal of intention or driver understanding of a potential collision.
17 Response to Signs and Signals
You need to show that you observe all the road signals that you come upon. You need to show that your reactions are appropriate for the signs show. The signage includes those to the side of the road, those placed as road markings, those placed as temporary signs or traffic cones, traffic lights, pedestrian crossing. You need to show that you observe and obey the signs made to you by the Police, Highway Agency officers. In all instances the aim is to avoid an incident of any description
18 Use of Speed
Road speed limits are set by those whose duty it is to ensure the roads are safe both for drivers and most particularly pedestrians of all ages. To ensure the safety of others the speed limits shown are to be observed. A speed limit is a maximum speed that shall not be exceed but a driver is expected to make reasonable progress and not unduly slow down other road users. A major impact on making reasonable progress is the condition of the weather. Heavy rain can cause major disruption and accidents due to drivers not allowing for increased stopping distances. A driver under test needs to show sound judgement and confidence in controlling the test vehicle at all times, under all conditions, on all road surfaces whilst observing both permanent and temporary speed limits
19 Following Distances
A driver should always ensure that a safe distance is maintained between the test vehicle and the vehicle or other road user in front. In poor visibility, the driver shall reduce speed to allow for the event that a sudden stop in the flow of traffic ahead may happen. In wet or icy conditions this distance shall be increased. When required to come to a halt in a traffic queue an adequate distance should be maintained between the test vehicle and the vehicle in front. Note that should a leading vehicle suffer a failure when stopped, having a distance to bypass the stopped vehicle will require to make a manoeuvre to get past the stopped vehicle. This can be achieved in a safe manner if sufficient distance is allowed to make the manoeuvre. In poor conditions, on a motorway for example, the way ahead can be misleading by purely observing the tail lights ahead, assuming that the vehicles ahead are moving. Do not assume the vehicles ahead are moving without some other indication that they are, indeed, moving.
20 Maintain Progress
On test, a driver needs to show that they can maintain progress at a realistic pace appropriate to the road and weather conditions. When approaching hazards it must be at a safe speed, bearing in mind that circumstances can change very quickly.
At road intersections or road roundabouts a driver should make safe progress through the intersection of roundabout without causing undue delay to other road users. Causing an undue delay to an impatient following driver will make the following driver attempt to pass and this increases risk to both the test driver, the following driver and others. Notwithstanding, do not be pressured by following drivers to take on risk by making unsafe actions.
21 Junctions including Roundabouts
The examiner will be requiring to observe the correct use of the Mirror > Signal > manoeuvre (MSM) procedure, at all times. The examiner will also be requiring to observe the correct lane positioning, approach speed and signalling leading up to the junction or roundabout. The correct lane positioning will be dependent on which direction the driver is wishing to leave the junction or roundabout and, also, the design of the road layout. At very busy locations these skills are absolutely necessary to be being able to fully control a vehicle whilst within touching distances of other vehicles. All can be un-nerving for inexperienced (and experienced) drivers.
To drive safely and to pass this part of the test the test driver will need to show confidence, skill, observation, judgement, speed of reaction and total control over the test vehicle. In daylight, passing through a busy junction or roundabout is never easy but in conditions of darkness and /or rain can be very difficult and stressful.
At all times the driver must be on alert to avoid any collision with road users that are not in vehicles, for at such intersections half the World passes.
The examiner will be assessing your judgement skills throughout the test time. You shall need to show sound judgement when overtaking, meeting or crossing the paths of other road users. You will at all time need to carry out all the interactions whilst within the rules of road. All your intentions shall be clearly indicated to those road users who need to know your intentions and that you, clearly, will have understood the intentions of other road users through the use of the correct signals
You should position your car to maximise safety for yourself and other road users. This is applicable when parked, stopped or travelling. When parking place your vehicle so as to not be a concern to others. When stopping, stop after giving a full warning to others of your intention. When stopping select a place that gives the least concern to other road users. When travelling your position on the road gives other road users a view of your intentions. The road markings, in developed countries, have been developed to, effectively, have a lane that carries all traffic that is not overtaking. A second lane is designed to allow the slower vehicles to be passed by faster vehicles. This arrangement, by law, required that a faster vehicle would not use the “slow” lane to overtake vehicles travelling in the “fast” lane. This arrangement then was enhanced by a third lane followed by a fourth lane and as major roads were constructed with lateral roads to allow vehicles to join and leave the main highway more and more vehicles began to “undertake” as they left or joined the main roads. Accordingly, the rule to bar “undertaking” has not been enforced except in exceptional cases.
In South America, vehicle drivers show little regard for road lane discipline and speed limits, so the major public roads are virtual race tracks. Accordingly, attempting to gain developing information on the intention of drivers is not a wise action as they will not show any consistency as to lane choice, going as far as to form five lanes in a three lane space.
24 Pedestrian Crossing
The international driver may be confronted with different styles of locations along the road where pedestrians can hopefully cross in safety. In the first instance, the crossing got the name Zebra Crossing as alternate black and white stripes painted on the road indicated this was a place where the pedestrian had a right of way over the vehicle. The crossing then was fitted with two flashing beacons one on either side of the road. However, such crossing require that a driver, by law, shall give way to a pedestrian with a foot on the crossing. The system had a drawback, no sane person would step in front of a fast moving car in the hope the driver would avoid a collision in which the driver walks away uninjured and the pedestrian is taken to hospital. This drawback together with the lack of policing soon witnessed drivers disregarding any pedestrian at a crossing. None the less, a driver on test shall give way to pedestrians and shall approach Pedestrian Crossings of all types with caution.
25 Position > Normal stops
Choose a safe legal and convenient place to stop as close to the kerb or edge of the road as possible. This requires a few seconds of advanced planning so as not to be a hazard and to cause inconvenience to other road users and pedestrians.
26 Awareness and Planning
You must be aware of other road users at all times. The examiner shall require to observe that you are planning ahead to judge what other road users may be doing or going to do. Another way of looking at that is that a driver needs to be able to predict the actions of all other road users which included pedestrians to avoid a coming together. An important part of the Theory Test in to be examined on HAZARD PERCEPTION. This is showing a candidate a series of videos which all incorporate one or more developing hazards which have to be identified by the candidate in a rolling action
27 Ancillary controls
The examiner shall require his/her observation of the use of the ancillary controls during the test period. Accordingly, whilst operating the primary controls of steering, accelerating, braking, signalling etc, the other lesser functions, such as heating, demisting, air conditioning, windscreen wipers, shall be operated as required without any loss of efficiency in the use of the primary controls
28 Eco Safe Driving
You are required to drive in a manner that duly considers the impact on the environment. This means that your energy use, in operating the test vehicle, is not misplaced. As a new driver, there are a number of realities that are not self-evident with respect to operating a vehicle. The most significant is that a driver will use an inordinate amount of energy to get to a destination ahead of others. In reality, as shown by use of a GPS system, the shown time of arrival at a destination on a GPS system is hardly affected by a driver using maximum acceleration and braking in order to arrive at a destination before that shown by the GPS. The data from which the GPS draws it destination time is derived from the data stored from thousands of similar journeys. The message is enjoy a fast drive but be aware that there are really no gains in doing so.
29 Taxi manoeuvre
You will need to show that you can safely turn the test vehicle from facing one direction in the road to facing the opposite direction. This needs to be achieved whilst causing minimal impact on the flow of other vehicles and pedestrians. This is a manoeuvre that needs some thinking ahead. For the purposes of the test you shall not use driveways or mount the pavements. You should not immediately react to the examiners instruction to “make a Taxi Turn” but instead take a few moments to think “where can I make the Taxi Turn safely?” and once a safe place has been identified carry out the turn whilst making all round observations for pedestrians and other vehicles
30 Taxi Wheelchair.
A Taxi driver can find themselves in all kinds of situations when dealing with their customers. They may be asked to load / unload shopping, load / unload large and difficult items and on occasion load and unload a person in a wheel chair. If the Taxi is equipped with ramps then the driver will need to handle the ramps in complete safety. Should the test vehicle be a taxi car/ taxi bus having ramps the examiner will expect the candidate to show skill in placing and securing the ramps and further to ensure the wheelchair is made secure within the taxi.
You must declare any change of health status since you last applied for a license. It is a criminal offence to make false statements or for another person to apply for a license on your behalf
Use of your driving license in another country is the subject of international law. The circumstances for the use of a driving licence in a particular country vary according to individual countries and an individual’s connection to that country. The basic understanding is that a “foreign” (your) licence can be used for a period of time. The period of time is allowed by law to allow “foreign licence holders” time to take the driving test applicable to the specific country stayed within.