Driving Test Success

Road Positioning and Lane Discipline

Where you position your car on the road is dictated by the road and traffic conditions you are experiencing. On your driving test you will need to keep a safe position at all times.

In normal circumstances you should position your car in the centre of your half of the road - see image right.

You should avoid driving too close to the kerb, as the road surface here is more uneven. If you accidentally clip the kerb you may lose control of the car. However, you may need to move closer to the kerb to:

Normal Road Postition

You will need to move to the right of your lane when:

When passing parked vehicles, if possible you should leave enough room for a car door to open without you hitting it, about a metre.

When passing a row of parked cars don't weave in and out between them. You should maintain a steady, straight course.

When changing lanes or road position you must:

One-Way Roads

When you enter a one-way street you should position your car according to whether you intend to go ahead, turn left or turn right.

Lane Discipline

Always keep within the road markings indicating your lane unless you are changing lanes or direction.

When changing lanes:

You must never:

Lane markings inform and guide traffic. When approaching a junction you should look out for relevant road markings and respond to them as needed.

For a full picture list of road lane markings.

Lane Discipline At Junctions

Where there are two lanes, or room for two lanes that are not marked, unless road markings or signs show otherwise, when intending to:

Where there are three lanes, unless road signs and markings show otherwise, when intending to:

Two Lane Road Junction

Two-Lane Junctions

Where there are two or more lanes marked for the direction you wish to take, (see the image on the right-hand side) choose the most convenient one. To do this you need to know where you should be positioned at the next junction.

If you don't know which lane you need to take, road signs and lane markings leading to the junction should be able to give you the correct guidance.

Unless you need the right lane at the next junction it is normally better to select the left lane. This will avoid you having to change lanes after you turn. If you select the right-hand lane for the turn, check carefully to the left after the turn to make sure there is no one in your blind area before returning to the left lane.


Changing Lanes in heavy Traffic

Look and plan well ahead, reading the signs and markings. This will help you get into the correct lane in good time. If you do find yourself in the wrong lane in heavy traffic, avoid trying to change lanes quickly. Use MSPSL and try to make eye contact with a driver already in the lane you wish to move into. When you are sure the other driver is letting you in, move over gradually and acknowledge the driver who let you move in. Before you move, however, check your side mirrors for cyclists and motorcyclists driving between the lanes.

Road Position When Stationary

When stationary, such as when stuck in a traffic jam, use the 'Tyres and Tarmac' rule:

Always stop far enough behind the vehicle in front that you can see their tyres touching the the road and 1 metre of tarmac.

This space leaves room for you to comfortably pull out and pass should the vehicle in front break down. It also leaves you room to move out of the way if an emergency vehicle needs to pass.

Other rules you must observe:

Author Richard Jenkins

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