Signals form an integral part of your overall driving plan that is the use and provision of information. Road position, speed and course are also signals of possible intention. With time you will become adept at predicting these signals in other road users, and using them to reinforce your own.
Advanced drivers only give a signal when another road user might benefit.
If you decide a signal is appropriate, follow the Highway Code recommendation of Mirror – Signal – Manoeuvre.
If there is a possibility of confusion, clarify with an arm signal.
Do not accept the signal of another road user as absolute proof of their intention. Look for supporting evidence such as slowing down and road position.
Be sure to cancel your signal once the manoeuvre is complete.
Should be used for the benefit of other road users when you feel they may not have noticed you.
It is not to be used as a form of rebuke or sign of annoyance!
Hazard Warning Lights:
Only use these to tell other drivers you have stopped on the carriageway. They are not a licence to park on restricted areas! Nor are they to be used while driving in reduced visibility. A common occurrence in Cyprus.
Are used to indicate slowing down or stopping.
Remember: Mirror – Signal – Manoeuvre.
Are only used to inform other drivers of your presence.
Correct use of the five phases of the system will give you a safe and methodical approach to hazards.
What is a Hazard?
Basically, anything which is potentially dangerous. Use your skills to recognize a hazard, plan for it and take the appropriate action.
The Three main categories of Hazard are:
Physical features such as junctions, roundabouts and bends.
The position or movement of other road users.
Problems arising from variations in the road surface, weather and visibility.
Additional Roadside Hazards:
Pedestrians – especially children.
Parked vehicles – and their occupants.
Pedal cycles – once again, especially children.
For hazards on the near side it may be more appropriate to steer a course closer to the crown of the road. This would have the benefits of (a) giving you a better view, (b) providing more space to manoeuvre should it be necessary, and (c) allow you to dominate your road position and convey your intentions to other road users.
However, the principle of safety should never be sacrificed for position!
M atch your vehicles speed and direction to the traffic.
O bserve accurately.
R isks identified and kept to a minimum.
A ttention kept to a high level.
Awareness of road and traffic situations.
L imitations, know yours and the vehicles.
S kilful use of the vehicle controls.
The foundation of good driving is the ability to use sight, hearing and even smell to gain information about driving conditions.
Open your eyes:-
Most people only look at what is going on directly in front of them. Look in the distance as far as you can see then check out the middle distance before returning to the foreground. Check the sides and rear of the vehicle to build a bigger picture of all that is happening about you. Use all your mirrors and turn your head (it wont fall off!).
Look for other clues to give you an advanced warning of hazards. Reflections in shop windows, tree lines, eye contact with other drivers, cross views and other road users position, speed etc are just some of the aids available to you.
Know and read road signs. These will give you an advance warning of hazards that you can build into your driving plan.
Take your information from all that is happening around you. Use your mirrors and scan to the front and sides.
Use the information that you gather to make a driving plan. Base your decisions on the hazards that you have identified, but have a contingency plan for dealing with the unexpected Consider what can be seen – what cannot be seen – what might reasonably be expected to happen. If a new hazard arises, decide whether you need to re-run the system from an earlier phase.
Give information if you have decided that another road user would benefit from it. This also includes pedestrians and cyclists. The information phase runs throughout the whole of the System.
Position yourself so you can pass through the identified hazard safely and smoothly. Always take account of other road users, including pedestrians, cyclists and children.
Adjust your speed where it is necessary. Use the accelerator, brake or (when required to avoid skidding) gears to give you the speed, which will enable you to complete the manoeuvre. Make good use of acceleration sense. Aim to make all speed adjustments smoothly and steadily. Early anticipation and good observation will help you in this.
When your speed is correct for the circumstances, engage the correct gear for that speed. If you have to brake to get the right speed, you can make the gear change before the end of the braking, but always try to avoid late braking and snatched gear changing.
The System of Motorcycle Control varies with the addition of a “lifesaver”. A look over the shoulder before making the manoeuvre. Most advanced drivers tend to do this when driving a car anyway.
Use your accelerator to maintain your speed and stability through the hazard. Depress the accelerator sufficiently to offset any loss of speed due to cornering forces. Take account of your speed, other road users and the road and traffic conditions ahead when deciding whether it is safe to accelerate away from a hazard.
Choose an appropriate point to accelerate safely and smoothly. Adjust the amount of acceleration to the circumstances.
All UK advanced drivers adopt into their driving plan The System of Car Control.
This system is a way of approaching and negotiating hazards that is methodical, safe and leaves nothing to chance.
A hazard is anything, which may be potentially dangerous.
THE FIVE PHASES OF THE SYSTEM
Speed and gear change can occasionally overlap. For example on a descent.
The diagram above sets out the five phases, showing that the information phase, although in ideal situations naturally preceding position, speed, gear and acceleration, is capable of overlapping and entering the system at whatever stage may be necessary.
As the information changes then the system must also have the flexibility to adapt to that change in circumstances.
For example: On the approach to a T junction a driver will have absorbed all the relevant information and taken a suitable position and speed in line with his driving plan. The information changes when a pedestrian steps off the pavement and into the road, and the driver must now consider whether to re-run the system from an earlier stage or not.
The system of car control gives you that essential aspect of safe driving – time to react.
The System of Motorcycle Control varies with the addition of a “lifesaver”, look over the shoulder between Gear and Acceleration, before making the manoeuvre.
Most advanced drivers tend to do this even when driving a car anyway.