Driving test part 1 low risk drive

Written by George Slewo

A Guide To The Driving Test Part 1 - Taking the Test and Low Risk Driving Skills Observation and Speed Management

Advance and Vision Driving School
Taking the Test
When going to the testing centre, you have a full licence driver with you. If you fail the test, you will not be able to drive away on your own, hence you will need a licensed driver with you.

Always plan to arrive at the testing centre a good time before your appointment and make sure you have your Learner Driver Log Book and Licence with you. Make sure to give the Learner Driver Log Book and booking confirmation slip to the person at the counter, unless you use a digital learner driver log book app. This must be submitted at least 24 hours before you test and then you’ll only need to give the booking confirmation slip to the person at the counter. You will now be referred to a testing officer.

The testing officer will check the vehicle is suitable for safe use. If the car does not pass the criteria, the test will be terminated.

The testing officer will ask you to sign the score sheet before your test. Remember to ask any questions before you start. They cannot tell you how to drive or coach you during the test as it is an assessment of your ability to drive on your own. A monitoring officer may sit in on the test, to watch the testing officer and make sure the test is conducted properly. Nobody other than the testing officer and monitoring officer are allowed to be inside the vehicle during your driving test.

Try to relax and remember you can try again if you fail. However, you must wait a minimum of 7 days before reattempting the driving test.

After the test, the testing officer will review your performance during the test, providing general comments rather than discussing specific situations. If you fail, you will receive a driving test record which will show areas you must improve on to pass.

The test can be cancelled if there is any suspicion you have taken any drugs or alcohol prior to the test. The test can also be cancelled if you offer a bribe or try to influence the testing officer. The police will be called or you could be taken to a police station and charged with offering a bribe.

The testing officer will be testing your ability to drive in low risk areas, assessing your speed management, road positioning and decision making. The testing officer will also be assessing your ability to perceive and respond appropriately to hazards.
Low Risk Driving - Observation
Scanning is keeping your eyes moving, checking in one area for no more than a couple of seconds and then moving your eyes to another area, constantly scanning traffic conditions. When driving around corners turn your head and look through the corner, scanning the road ahead of your vehicle, using 5 second vision. Always slow down if vision of the road is limited. During the test, you will be expected to regularly check your rear vision mirror so you know what is happening behind you. You must always check your rear vision mirror before you slow or change direction to lower the risk of collision.

When scanning always look:
In the distance - 5 second vision.
At the road surface.
To the left and right.
In all your mirrors.
At the instruments and gauges.

Before proceeding through traffic lights, you must turn your head and check to ensure there are no vehicles that may be ‘running’ the red light, or pedestrians crossing against the ‘don’t walk’ sign, even if the green light is on for you. You must also turn your head and ensure it is safe before processing a railway level crossing to avoid collision.

A vehicle in an adjacent lane can easily be positioned beyond the area visible in the mirrors. Checking your blind spots is an essential observation skill to ensure the risk of collision is lowered. Frequentlynot performing observation checks will result in a fail.

You must turn your head and check your blind spots before:
Changing lanes.
Leaving or returning to the kerb.
Merging or diverging.
Reversing - must turn head and look over shoulder to check through rear window for hazards that may not be seen in the mirror. All vehicles have blind spots behind.
Turning left – looking for pedestrians, cyclists and motorcyclists who could be beside you in your blind spot.
Turning right – looking for vehicles that may be overtaking you.
Joining the traffic stream.
Leaving the inside lane of a multi lane roundabout.

Note: Observation errors are recorded on the driving test score sheet as a circle around ‘D’ (decision) and an ‘H’ in the notes column.
Low Risk Driving - Speed Management
You must drive at a safe and legal speed, in accordance with the speed limit, managing your speed to suit traffic, weather and road conditions.

In order to maintain space to the front of the car, you must adjust your speed to maintain crash avoidance space to the front of your vehicle. The minimum safe distance needed in front is three seconds. This must be increased in poor conditions, at night or when you are being followed too closely by another vehicle. When you change lanes or if another vehicle moves into your three second gap, you will need to create a new gap by slowly and gradually dropping back to always maintain that 3 second gap.

To calculate a three-second crash avoidance space when following another vehicle use this basic technique: as the rear of the vehicle in front of you passes a stationary object at the side of the road such as a power pole, tree or sign, start a three-second count ‘one thousand and one, one thousand and two, one thousand and three’. This will allow you to calculate the three-second gap properly in every situation.

If your car passes the object you picked before you finish the three-second count, you are following too closely. Slow down, and repeat the count again until the three-second crash avoidance space is achieved.

You must maintain one to two car lengths between the front of your car and the rear of the car in front of you when stopped to reduce the risk of colliding with it if you are hit from behind. When you come to a stop sign you must stop completely before reaching the stop line, and as close as possible to the line.

You must slow down if you do not have a clear view of the road ahead and if you do not have five second vision. Situations where your vision may be reduced include: blind corners;
blocked intersections; crests and poor weather conditions. You must also slow down in situations where space to the side of your vehicle is limited. For traffic calming devices, such as speed humps or chicanes, slow down enough to ensure there is no undue jolt or sideways roll of your vehicle.

To calculate five-second vision in a curve, pick a fixed point in the oncoming lane that has just come into view and starts a count ‘one thousand and one, one thousand and two... one thousand and five’. If you reach the point before five seconds you are driving too fast for the available vision.

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