Department of State GrowthTransport

Unit 3 Drive in an Orderly Traffic System

The driving techniques you need to use in a traffic system when everyone is obeying the road rules. Eventually, you use these techniques almost without thinking about them. The 6 elements are -

  1. Use driving procedures
  2. Navigate the road system
  3. Pass through the road and traffic system
  4. Travel with traffic and respond to it
  5. Drive efficiently in the traffic system
  6. Adjust driving for poor visibility

3.1  Use Driving Procedures

These are routines that help drivers deal with things that they do regularly. Experience drivers have these as habits - so that that they do it almost without thinking.

Driving procedures include when you -

  • Change lanes
  • Enter slip or turning lanes at an intersection
  • Near a lane which ends or merges
  • Enter and leave the traffic flow
  • Make a u-turn
  • Respond to emergency vehicles

To do this you must -

3.1.1  Before changing direction or turning (like moving the car more than one standard width sidewards)

    You must -

  • use the mirrors
  • signal your intention well before and keep indicator on until change of direction or turn is finished
  • indicate for at least 5 seconds if moving from a stationary position at the side of the road
  • check the rear blind spot just before you start to move

3.1.2  Before entering an area in which you have to slow down or stop (intersections, roundabouts, crossings and where there may be pedestrians, cyclists and parked vehicles)

    You must -

  • use mirrors and signal, adjust speed and change gears
  • check your mirror before you brake (around 3 seconds) and afterwards (before 1 second)

3.1.3  Before turning the car at an intersection (and driveways)

You must -

  • use the mirrors, adjust speed and use gears
  • indicate for enough time to give warning (around 3 seconds or 20 metres) before turning and turn indicator off when finished turning

3.1.4  Before entering a curve - You must -

  • Use the mirrors, signal and brakes and change gears together.

3.1.5  Before overtaking - You must -

  • Use the mirrors and signal, adjust speed and change gears.

3.2  Navigate the Road System

to do this you must -

3.2.1  Plan a route for the journey - You must -

  • know how to get where you want to go to - (like to a shop, to a friend's house, to another suburb). Drivers don't always use maps as they may already know where to go or someone may be directing.

3.2.2  Use information signs, the landscape to find the way

You must -

  • be able to spot road destination signs when moving in traffic
  • look around for information signs and geographical features etc to find out where to go

3.2.3.  Use road signs and road markings to help you get to where you are going

    You must -

  • be able to pick the correct lanes for particular manoeuvres so that you will get to your destination.

3.2.4  Adjust your route if you make mistakes navigating - You must -

  • be able to go the "wrong way" but be able to "get back on course"

3.3  Pass Through the Road and Traffic System

    You must -

  • follow the road rules
  • navigate
  • carry out driving procedures
  • take in information about the environment around the road

Experienced drivers can do all these things together.

This element describes what you have to do in three general situations; these three are then broken up further according to how much ‘thinking’ an experienced driver would need to do to deal with each.

To do this you must -

3.3.1  Always follow road traffic laws

  • always follow the road rules

3.3.2  Drive in a town or suburb with light traffic (with other vehicles going in the one direction and there is no need to select gaps, with other vehicles going the same speed)

You must -

  • respond and complete manoeuvres smoothly and steadily
  • only make movements that other road users are expecting you to make

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3.3.3  Drive through a city or suburb with heavy traffic dealing with situations and conditions effectively

In this type of area you must -

  • watch other road user movements from several directions at once
  • accurately pick gaps in the traffic to deal safely with situations
  • handle the traffic going in your direction moving at various speeds
  • respond and complete manoeuvres smoothly and steadily
  • do what other road users expect

This situation means that you have to deal with a lot of information and make complicated driving decisions

3.3.4  Drive in a country area effectively, with light traffic and minimal road change

In this type of area you must-

  • make decisions about other road users who are coming from one direction at a time
  • accurately pick gaps to deal safely with situations
  • take the right action and complete manoeuvres smoothly and steadily
  • plan and make decisions at the appropriate time so you don't act suddenly
  • do what other road users expect

        This situation means that -

  • most of the traffic is moving in the same direction and at the same speed as you
  • you will not need to make complex decisions about road blockages, the surface, the tightness of corners or the steepness of hills.
  • You have to deal with the complexity of decisions you make, rather than the number of road users

    3.3.5  Drive in a country area with a lot of other traffic and some variations in road conditions dealing with situations effectively

In this type of area you must-

  • watch other road user movements from several directions at once
  • accurately pick gaps in traffic so that you can safely deal with situations
  • take the right action and complete manoeuvres smoothly and steadily
  • do what other road users expect
  • the traffic moving in your direction is not travelling at your speed
  • you will need to make complex decisions about road blockages, surfaces, the tightness of curves or the steepness of hills
  • plan and make decisions at the appropriate time so you don't act suddenly

This situation means that dealing with a lot of information and making complex decisions

3.3.6  Drive on special road systems, dealing with situations effectively

    Special road systems include -

  • long-distance driving and remote driving on sealed/unsealed roads

3.4  Travel With Traffic and Respond to it

This element includes driving tasks and events that should be given special attention as they are not routine or they require drivers to judge accurately

To do this you must-

3.4.1  Complete driving manoeuvres in traffic legally and in a timely manner

You must do this when -

  • entering a traffic stream from a parked position, or from a driveway
  • leaving a traffic stream to get into a parked position or a driveway
  • changing lanes
  • merging
  • entering or leaving a multi-lane road
  • doing manoeuvres and
  • overtaking

3.4.2  Respond to special events legally and a timely manner

Special events include:

  • emergency cars
  • obstructions
  • road works
  • big changes in the road surface
  • narrow bridges and animals

3.4.3  Respond to pedestrians legally

Pedestrians may be

  • between or near parked cars
    on a footpath or median strip
  • on a road or crossing

3.4.4  Respond to low-speed vehicles legally

Low-speed vehicles include:

  • cyclists
  • skateboarders and roller blades
  • mopeds
  • powered wheelchairs; and
  • tractors or other plant machinery

3.5  Drives Efficiently in the Traffic System

Experienced drivers can ‘work in’ with other drivers and cooperate with them to keep the traffic flowing. Their actions do not surprise other drivers or cause other drivers unnecessary trouble.

To do this you must -

3.5.1  Drive so that other road users do not have to change the way they are driving to fit in with you

    Situations include -

  • picking the gaps in the traffic on an intersecting road
  • moving into the traffic stream
  • merging
  • changing lanes; and
  • overtaking.

3.5.2  When you can not move freely through traffic and there are safe and legal options available, act to get around the problem

This could be a driver in front who has stopped to make a right turn and it is safe for you to overtake on the left.

3.5.3  Co-operate with other road users

This could be helping other drivers merge, change lanes, or allowing cars to enter traffic (especially when it is busy).

3.5.4  When a situation may cause you to change speed, use the brakes and ease off the accelerator early and smoothly

This is smooth driving. It also helps save fuel and cuts down wear on the brakes.

Situations could include - traffic lights in the distance turning red, hills and curves, and approaching slower-moving traffic.

3.6  Adjust driving for poor visibility

3.6.1  Adjust your speed so that you can stop within a safe distance

    to do this you must -

  • at night, limit your speed so that the car can stop inside the distance that you can see in the headlights
  • in heavy rain, dust, mist, fog and smoke, reduce your speed so that you can stop inside the distance you can see

3.6.2  Use the headlights effectively

You should -

  • dip the headlights within 200 m of approaching cars, or when driving less than 200 m behind another car
  • at night, use high and low beams to give you the best view, but avoid dazzling other road users
  • dip the headlights at crests of hills, intersections and before corners to help you see if there are other road users coming
  • in poor light conditions during the day, turn on the lights to make it easier for others to see your car

3.6.3  Dealing with glare at night:

  • adjust your speed and position
  • flip the mirrors to the right position
  • turn your eyes to the left side of the road away from the other car's lights.

3.6.4  Prepare the car for night driving:

  • clean the windscreen
  • make sure the lights are working and correctly adjusted
  • adjust the mirror for night.