THE DRIVING DIRECTORY
As a learner, you will come across phrases that you may not understand whilst getting ready for your driving test, so to help you we have come up with an A-Z that we hope will give you that understanding.
A 360 observation, also known as a 6 point check is a vital all around check that is performed before manoeuvring.
If you are parked by the side of the road before you move away you should make sure you’re aware of everything around you. If you are parked on the left side of the road, you should look over your left shoulder first, then your left door mirror, then look straight ahead. Then you should check your interior mirror, right door mirror and then finally before releasing the handbrake you should look over your right shoulder. The right shoulder is the most important check and on your test, this is the observation the examiner will be looking out for the most.
When you are reversing then you would normally start with looking over your right shoulder and finish looking over your left shoulder as that is the direction you want to look into as you move backwards.
Acceleration sense is about how you adjust the pressure of your foot on the gas pedal as you bend or you approach potential hazards and junctions. Acceleration sense happens when you adjust to the correct speed for a hazard without the need to brake. Although acceleration sense cannot always be applied, a driver with good forward planning skills should aim to use it as much as possible.
What Does ABS stand for?
ABS stands for anti-locking braking system. The benefits of having a vehicle with ABS is the safety aspect. If you were to brake suddenly and the wheels lock the ABS management system will detect this and pump the brake rapidly for you as long as you keep the pressure on the brake pedal.
The biting point is when the engine plate and the clutch plate in the car are starting to connect together and join.
You will feel a tug on the front of your car bonnet if the handbrake is on and the car will begin to move slowly if the handbrake is down.
The blind spot is the area that isn’t covered in either the interior mirror or the door mirror. The interior mirror gives you a picture of what is behind you and the door mirrors make images appear further away. This leaves an area known as the ‘blind spot’. The only way you can ensure nothing is there is by performing a shoulder check.
Brake Fade is a term used to describe when the brakes of a vehicle become less effective. It usually occurs when the brakes have been used for a prolonged period of time continuously. It can feel like the pedal is working, though the car can take longer to stop than usual.
The most common type of brake fade is known as Friction Fade. This is where the driver presses lightly on the brakes (enough to slow the car down gradually) on a long downwards hill.
Brake fade is caused by a buildup of heat in the braking surfaces and the changes and reactions in the brake system components and can be experienced with both drum brakes and disc brakes. Loss of stopping power, or fade, can be caused by friction fade, mechanical fade, or fluid fade.
Closing speed is the potential damage that could be caused by two vehicles having a head-on collision. If vehicle 1 is doing 50mph and vehicle 2 is doing 50mph then the closing speed equals 100 mph.
100mph can be given as a rough example to emphasise the dangers, other factors would need to be taken into consideration to provide an exact closing speed, such as:
- Vehicle types – if vehicle 1 is a Van and vehicle 2 is a car, vehicle 2 would suffer more
- Angle of the two vehicles on impact
- Where the vehicles finished after the collision
Coasting is when you put the clutch down unnecessarily or too early which is a common mistake for learners and new drivers.
When you come off the gas the car begins to slow down gradually. This is called engine braking. If you depress the clutch immediately you will disconnect the clutch plate with the engine plate – which will cause you to lose potential engine braking.
If you use natural/progressive engine braking, you will preserve the life of your brake pads/discs too as you won’t have to use the brake pedal so much to slow your vehicle down.
Dead ground is when there is a hidden dip or hump in the road which prevents you from seeing the road completely and fully. When you approach dead ground, your first reaction should be to check your mirrors, come off the gas and be aware there could be potential hazards
You should be able to bring the vehicle to a prompt and controlled stop as if a child or animal had run into the road in front of you. You be able should understand why it is important to react quickly and why it is important not to waste time making a mirror check. You should understand that the vehicle will handle differently under hard braking.
On your driving test, the examiner may ask you to pull up on the left and then brief you on the emergency stop. He/she will say “Shortly I will be asking you to do the emergency stop as if a person had run out into the road when I raise my right hand and say stop, you need to react as quickly as possible keeping the car under full control. You may see me look over my shoulder, please do not anticipate the stop until I raise my right hand.”
Engine braking is used to slow the vehicle down. The moment you come off the gas pedal you should notice the engine revs begin to lower gradually. Natural engine braking is safe, however, if you drop down a gear too early then you will notice a considerable amount of engine braking that it can become unsafe.
A hazard is something usually in the road that may cause you to slow down or change direction. If you don’t deal with the hazard in good time, it can develop into something serious.
Sometimes the hazard is already dangerous, like an accident on the road and other times it could just be a parked car with the driver about to exit the door or a cyclist ahead.
To increase learner’s understandings of hazards in general, the DVSA introduced the ‘hazard perception test’ in November 2002 which is now part of the theory test.
A junction is where two or roads meet at the same time. When you arrive at a junction there are usually signs/road markings on the approach to help you understand who’s priority it is and where you need to wait to give way.
LADA is a routine that you can memorise which will help you work out what to do with the approach to hazards.
What does LADA stand for?
L – Look – This sounds obvious, but some drivers don’t read the road ahead as far and early as possible. The advantages of seeing things in good time to allow you more time to perform the rest of the routine below.
A – Assess – Work out the difficulty level of what you have seen ahead and the time available to make the correct decision. Is it something you have seen before? if so, your decision will be quicker than if it’s something you haven’t seen.
D Decide – Remember the consequences of your decision before you make it. If it affects others and it’s risky, then you could be found be guilty or the person at blame. Safety first!
A – Act – Once you have made your decision, stick with it, too much hesitancy on the approach could affect others.