Driver competency standard
A driver competency standard sets the standard that the government expects a competent diriver to meet.
Access information and learn about the competency levels that are expected from all drivers on Tasmanian roads.
As part of the driver licensing system, the driver competency standard has been set as:
This standard, especially units 1 - 4, can be used by learner drivers, supervisory drivers and driving instructors and all drivers to check a learners progressions towards the standards and to determine if they are ready to take the new driving assessment.
Driving instructors may use it for assessing their student's progress and to be a checklist of learning points for devising learner driver courses. It can also be used for determining whether their students are demonstrating progression towards competency are ready to take their driving assessment.
The standard, especially units 5 - 6, may be useful for training experienced drivers or for them to evaluate their driving habits.
The purpose of the driver competency standard is to "effect the safe, efficient personal mobility by operating a car in the public traffic system"
To do this you must check that the car is legal to drive which includes checking that:
1 Check the car's basic maintenance.
2. Check that you leave the car safely parked.
To do this you must check your legal requirements. Check that:
Prior to actually driving the vehicle you need to check, adjust and make sure you have followed some precautions listed below.
1. Check how your car controls work. Check the:
2. Adjust the driver's seat so you have control and can operate the car effectively. Check that:
3. Adjust the mirrors so that you can see as much as possible.Check that:
4. Put on your seatbelt and adjust it. Check that:
5. Make sure the inside of the car is safe. Check that:
6. Set the climate control and demisters:
To do this you must start the engine. Check that:
1. Select gear. You must:
2. Move off smoothly 3.4 Move off on a hill (either up or down hill). You must:
1. Check the gauges and warning lights after the engine starts. You must:
2. Respond to gauges and warning lights when driving. You must:
3. Use switches and other controls as you need them. You must use the car's switches, including:
To do this you must be able to stop and keep the car stopped. You must:
1. Use the park brake to hold the car. You put on the handbrake:
2. Switch the engine off. You must:
3. Select a gear that makes the car safe. You must:
1. You must be able to do car manoeuvres and they must be legal. To be legal includes:
2. Not begin without a warning to other road users. You must:
3. To be safe you must:
4. To start in the right place you must:
5. Keep watching. You must:
6. Control your car direction and speed. You must:
7. Place the car accurately at the end of the manoeuvre. Do not touch the kerb or ride up on it.
1. To do this you must move the accelerator smoothly to change speed:
2. Use the accelerator to keep a steady speed:
3. Use the accelerator to deal with a hill:
1. To manage brakes you must brake efficiently. To do this you must:
2. To brake smoothly and steadily you must:
3. To stop accurately at a point you must:
1. To do this you must steer smoothly making the car go exactly where it should. You must:
2. To steer an accurate course when driving in a straight line you must:
3. To steer an accurate course in curves you must:
1. To do this you must change gears smoothly (not jerking the passengers). You must:
2. Use a suitable gear for your speed and the driving conditions so that the engine is not revving or is strained. You must:
3. Change gears mainly when the car is travelling in a straight line. A gear change is not over until you have released the clutch pedal, you must:
4. When changing to a lower gear, get the speed right first. You must:
5. When going down hills, select a suitable gear. You must:
1. When braking into a turn, ease off the brakes as increasing steering. You must:
2. When holding the steering in a turn, keep speed steady you must:
3. When driving out of turns, accelerate as reducing steering you must:
4. Adjust steering, braking and acceleration to variations in the road surface. You must:
You must not:
5. Combine braking and gear changing to efficiently you must:
You must not:
6. In turns and on poor roads, prevent automatic transmissions from ‘kicking down’. You must:
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 six elements are:
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:
1. Before changing direction or turning (like moving the car more than one standard width sidewards). You must:
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:
3. Before turning the car at an intersection (and driveways) you must:
4 .Before entering a curve you must:
5. Before overtaking - You must -
1. 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.
2. Use information signs, the landscape to find the way you must:
3. Use road signs and road markings to help you get to where you are going and be able to pick the correct lanes for particular manoeuvres so that you will get to your destination.
4. To 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"
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. Experienced drivers can do all these things together to do this you must:
1. Always follow road traffic laws.
2. To 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:
3. To drive through a city or suburb with heavy traffic dealing with situations and conditions effectively you must:
This situation means that you have to deal with a lot of information and make complicated driving decisions.
4. To drive in a country area effectively, with light traffic and minimal road change you must:
This situation means that -
5. To drive in a country area with a lot of other traffic and some variations in road conditions dealing with situations effectively you must:
This situation means that dealing with a lot of information and making complex decisions.
6. To pass through the road and traffic system also includes driving on special road systems, dealing with situations effectively. (Special road systems include long-distance driving and remote driving on sealed/unsealed roads).
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:
1. Complete driving manoeuvres in traffic legally and in a timely manner. You must do this when:
2. Respond to special events legally and a timely manner. Special events include:
3. Respond to pedestrians legally. Pedestrians may be
4. Respond to low-speed vehicles legally. Low-speed vehicles include:
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:
1. Drive so that other road users do not have to change the way they are driving to fit in with you. Situations include:
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. 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).
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.
1. Adjust your speed so that you can stop within a safe distance.To do this you must:
2. Use the headlights effectively. You should:
3. Dealing with glare at night:
4. Prepare the car for night driving:
The driving skills you need to avoid trouble before getting into it. Driving conditions are not always perfect. Other drivers make mistakes or take chances in spite of the road rules. Experienced drivers 'second guess' what might happen.
(as road situations - eg narrow streets with parked cars are different to a wide street - and conditions change).
1. Adjust speed to suit the situation or condition. To do this you must:
2. Match your path (the course the car is following) to the situation or condition. To do this you must position your car safely for:
3. Respond to situations in the driving environment. On the road there will be many hazards that must be dealt with. If another road user doesn’t obey the law, or doesn’t drive safely and reasonably, their path might cross yours.
When driving, you must be able to respond to other road users doing the wrong thing, this is why it is important to:
To do this you must:
When you come up to a hill crest, blind intersection and corner, slow down until you can see it is safe to keep going. It is safe when you can see over the hill, round the corner or down a side street.
4. Move your car on the road to keep you away from things that may be dangerous. Do this by:
5. Adjust your driving in good time when other people do something that may be unsafe. ‘In good time’ means you have time to brake, accelerate or move smoothly to another part of the road to avoid a crash.
This means planning ahead and predicting how the driving situation may change before it does. You might:
Some times you may need to accelerate (like when a car is closing in quickly from behind)
6. When you make a mistake and find yourself in an unsafe or illegal situation, correct it immediately. Experienced drivers make mistakes, but they fix them before they cause trouble.
1. Stop the car until conditions improve. You might do this in very bad weather, or in very bad road or traffic conditions, if you are finding it very difficult to concentrate
2. Choose a different route. You might do this to:
3. Make safe decisions in stressful situations. To do this you must:
4. Make cautious decisions:
To reduce distractions in the car you can:
To make a cautious decision you could:
Things you can do:
‘Motivation’ means the feelings and thoughts that make us do things. It is something we cannot see; we just know that people act in certain ways for certain reasons. The reasons why we behave the way we do is part of what makes us ‘good’ or ‘bad’ drivers. You should use the motivations that help drive safely and try to control the motivations that make you drive unsafely. To do this you must:
1. Drive so that it shows you value life and property. Safe drivers value life and property. They don't want to be harmed or to cause harm.
2. Stop your emotions from interfering with safe driving. Emotions which might interfere with safe driving include:
You could try talking to yourself to work out the situation, ask if you are getting any benefit from these emotions when driving and ask yourself its effect. Also, try deep breathing; pulling over, stopping and making a phone call; or going another way.
3. Notice yourself taking risks. When this happens think about the benefits and costs of both risky driving and cautious driving, and make decisions you can live with. If you want to be safe, but are a bit short of skill, your ‘safety motivation’ will make up for the lack of skill. But it doesn’t work the other way. You may be very skilful, but if you have a tendency to take risks you will not be a safe driver.
Drivers can reduce conflicts on the road but can't get rid of them. The five elements are:
Crashes don't happen often. It's hard to predict when crashes are going to happen, this is why it is important to keep enough space between vehicles to avoid a crash in case one day someone makes a mistake.
To do this you must:
The table below shows:
At 60 km/h, if your foot is ready on the brake pedal and a car has pulled out one and a half seconds in front of you, you can stop to avoid a crash. If your foot is not on the brake it will take you much further to stop. An extremely quick reaction on to the brake pedal will take about half a second. Studies have shown that the average reaction speed is 3/4 of a second, before drivers apply their brakes. In that reaction time their car has been travelling forward without braking. Stopping distance is therefore measured by using 2 distances - reaction distance (the distance travelled before braking) and braking distance ( the distance travelled while under brakes) and adding the 2 together -
|Speed||40 km/h||60 km/h||80 km/h||100 km/h|
|Reaction Distance (metres)||8||12||16||20|
|Stopping Distance (metres)||10||22||38||60|
|Total Distance (metres)||18||34||54||80|
|Travel Time (seconds)||1||1.5||2||2.5|
Most crashes occur in less than 2 seconds after the driver recognises there is a problem.
2. When you do not have enough stopping space to avoid the threat of a crash, choose the best escape route. If you must swerve, you must:
3. If you accidentally drive off the road on a straight, take the right action to get safely back on the road. You must:
4. When you find yourself going into a curve too fast, take the right action to fix your mistake. You must:
This element is about avoiding skids and escaping from them. A skid means the car has lost the grip of one or more tyres.
If you watch the changes in your driving environment and do things in good time, you should never get into a skid. If a tyre does skid it means you have made a mistake. It's a sign of bad driving.
As mistakes do happen a driver needs to know how to deal with them. Don't think you need to be able to control skids to be a safe driver. These skills are only one tiny part of being fully competent. To do this element you must:
By driving smoothly, you can keep some extra grip in reserve.
1. Prevent any more injury or damage.You must:
2. Carry out legal requirements. You must:
1. Stop your car safely - if you know something is wrong. Things that might go wrong include:
2. After a breakdown, act immediately to make sure that you and other road users are safe. You should:
3. Carry out minor running repairs. This may include changing a flat tyre or pushing out a broken windscreen.
You can learn from your driving experience and become a safer driver. The four elements are:
1. Improve your driving when you notice your bad habits. Drivers start to drive badly when too much is happening at once for them to take in. Symptoms that show your driving is getting worse include:
Things you can do include:
2. After making a mistake, get your driving back to normal. To get your driving back to normal you must recognise that you have made a mistake, and how it changed your driving
3. Do not repeat your mistakes. To stop repeating a mistake:
4. Don't compare yourself with others. Don’t judge yourself against other drivers - this can make you over confident. You may begin thinking you are a better driver than you are.
1. Avoid repeating unacceptable risks. An unacceptable risk is one that could have a result that you would be unhappy about.
2. Know when you are likely to break the road law and change your driving behaviour.
3. Show by the way you drive that you know you are at least partly responsible for any driving incident (any driving incident that you would prefer not to happen) that happens to you
When drivers explain these events in a way that recognises they are at least partly responsible for any driving incident, they are taking a ‘my mistake’ view of driving. A ‘my mistake’ view can help you learn from your mistakes.
The way you describe a driving incident will show the way you think. Generally you will have either the ‘my mistake’ view or the ‘I had nothing to do with it’ view. Obviously, if you think you had nothing to do with it, you are unlikely to learn anything from it.
4. No matter how often you may have ‘got away with’ risks in the past, be still cautious about risks and risky driving.
Driving can be dangerous, but crashes, and even near misses, are very rare events for most drivers. The result is that most drivers do not feel that driving is dangerous. They have become ‘hardened’ to the risks, because they have been in so few crashes.
You should be cautious about risks, no matter how often you have ‘got away with them’ in the past.
5. No matter how many safety features your car has, still drive cautiously. Safety features may include things like airbags, anti-lock brakes, traction control and high-performance roadholding and handling features.
Some drivers believe that because their car is ‘safe’, they themselves don’t have to try so hard. Studies have shown that some drivers with anti-lock brakes (ABS) fitted to their cars drive faster in wet conditions, and follow closer to other cars, than they did before they had ABS. They end up at the same level of risk as they were before.
1. Watch how other road users behave, and think about why they do behave this way
Don’t rate other drivers as ‘good’ or ‘bad’ — especially not ‘bad’, as this can make you too confident about your own driving.
Watch what other drivers do, and think about why they do it. A driver who makes a gap to let you into traffic is being courteous. If you add some of that courtesy to your own driving, you will gain something from it, and so will other drivers. If you see a driver being impatient, think about why they are impatient, and watch for it in your own driving. Take note of all the drivers who are doing the right thing (and you’ll see that most of them do, most of the time).
2. When you see another driver make a mistake, remember it so that you can avoid the same mistake in the future. Mistakes, no matter who makes them, can be learned from. The more you use mistakes, the more chances you will have to improve.
1. Be aware that risk is higher when you drive at night - particularly on Thursday, Friday and Saturday night
2. Do not drive with alcohol, or any drug that can affect your driving, in your body. You must also check the label of any over the counter medications that you take before you drive.
3. When your friends are in the car with you, keep up your safe driving. Don't show off.
4. Know when you are tired and do something about it. Symptoms of tiredness include:
Things to do about tiredness:
5. Take action to avoid getting tired:
Things you can do before driving include: