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Blood Alcohol Concentration (BAC) Limit for Learners & Provisional (P1, P2) Drivers

Did you know that New South Wales has three blood alcohol concentration (BAC) limits?  Zero, under 0.02 and under  0.05. These limits that apply to your licence category and the type of vehicle you are driving.

The amount of alcohol in your system is measured by your BAC which is measured in grams of alcohol per 100 millilitres of blood. Having a BAC of 0.05 means that your body contains (50 milligrams) of alcohol in every 100 millilitres of blood.

Nobody wants to see people killed or hurt on our roads because of drink driving.  Why take the risk in the first place?  People are generally worried about getting caught by the police as their number one priority.  But what about peoples lives?  If you decide to drive after consuming alcohol, your driving may be impaired and impairment actually commences at a BAC of 0.02.

However, as a learner driver or provisional (P1, P2) driver, your BAC limit must be zero which means that you cannot consume alcohol then drive a vehicle.  It’s as simple as that.

Zero BAC applies to all:

  • Learner drivers or riders
  • Provisional 1 drivers or riders
  • Provisional 2 drivers or riders
  • Visiting drivers or riders holding an overseas or interstate learner, provisional or equivalent licence

Learner, P1 and P2 drivers and riders are still in the process of developing their driving skills. Legally, their alcohol limit must be zero due to the fact that they are more vulnerable to the effects of alcohol than that of experienced drivers or riders.

It is important to remember that obtaining a driver’s licence is a privilege.  It’s not a right!  So making positive choices is paramount.  If you’ve been on a night out, it is important to plan ahead to get home safely.  Remember, don’t drive if you’ve been drinking.

Visit the RMS website should you require further information.

Are you legally allowed to drive through a Yellow Light?

A yellow light does not just simply permit drivers to intentionally drive through a yellow light.  Traffic lights control the flow of vehicles and pedestrians to improve safety and access to roads. You should drive at a speed that gives you time to react if the traffic lights change.  Many people may not be aware, but if you go through a yellow traffic light, you may receive an infringement notice as it is an offence.  Yellow (amber) means stop. You can enter the intersection if you are so close that sudden braking might cause a crash.  You may drive through a flashing yellow light or arrow with caution. You need to apply the give way rules to avoid colliding with other vehicles.

How to do a 3 Point Turn

How to do a 3 Point Turn

A 3 Point Turn is a standard manoeuvre in turning a vehicle around when the road is too narrow to perform a U-turn and requires the use of forward and reverse gears.  This basic manoeuvre requires you to drive across the road and towards the kerb on the opposite side of the street (offside kerb) before reversing back until there is enough space to exit and drive out. However, we will explain this in more detail on how to safely perform a 3 Point Turn below.

When would I do a 3 Point Turn?

You would be likely to perform a 3 Point Turn when you wish to park in an available parking space on the opposite side of the street or when you have made a wrong turn.  During the RMS driving test, you will be expected to perform certain manoeuvres which may include a 3 Point Turn.  If you are asked to perform this manoeuvre, the testing officer will assess your overall ability to position the vehicle legally, safely and accurately.

Whenever you complete a 3 Point Turn, you must ensure it is clear of other vehicles, pedestrians and other potential hazards by looking left and right as well as checking all of your blind spots.  To safely do this, you must check for traffic before each movement.  When performing a 3 Point Turn, you have maximum of five (5) direction changes however, if you are able to complete the manoeuvre in three (3) direction changes, you will be expected to achieve this.

How to Perform a 3 Point Turn safely and effectively

The key to effectively completing a three-point turn is by maximising the movement (turning) of your vehicle over a minimum distance (width).  You must travel slowly whilst being able to steer quickly.  A common mistake we find is drivers steer to slow thus preventing maximum movement on the roadway which positions the vehicle in a direction not suitable for reverse changes.

To safely and effectively perform a kerbside stop, follow these simple steps.

  1. When you are planning to do a 3 Point Turn, you need to be scanning ahead to find a suitable location. You must ensure that where you plan to complete the manoeuvre, there is available space on the opposite side of the road (offside kerb) to allow maximum turning of your vehicle.
  2. You must complete a kerbside stop before commencing a 3 Point Turn.
  3. Before leaving the kerb, ensure you abide by the normal procedure for leaving the kerb and that is by checking your mirrors, blind spots and indicating your intent for at least five (5) seconds.
  4. Ensure that you assess traffic all directions to allow you time to safely and effectively to perform the manoeuvre. (Remember, you have no right of way when performing a 3 Point Turn)
  5. After it is clear to proceed, pull away from the kerb slowly and full steer to the right as quickly as you can. When close to the opposite side of the road and without touching the kerb, straighten your wheels in preparation to reverse.
  6. After selecting reverse ( R ), make sure you scan all around your vehicle to ensure it is safe before moving. Once you are satisfied it is clear to proceed, slowly reverse whilst steering quickly to the left. Make sure that you look in the direction of travel whilst reversing. You only need to reverse back as far as necessary to exit out and safely clear the kerb.
  7. Prior to moving forward, you must check for other traffic in both directions to ensure you are clear to drive forward.

Important points to remember during the 3 Point Turn

  • Make sure to do a kerbside stop prior to commencing the 3 Point Turn.
  • Ensure you indicate your intent for at least 5 seconds before leaving the kerb.
  • When conducting a 3 Point Turn, it is paramount that you check for other traffic, pedestrians and potential hazards before each direction change.
  • Make sure to look in the direction of travel during each direction change.
  • Ensure to indicate when exiting out of a 3 Point Turn.

Safe places to do a 3 Point Turn

It is important that you select a safe area to conduct a 3 Point Turn.  Because this manoeuvre requires you to turn your vehicle across the road of oncoming traffic, make sure that you allow plenty of distance for other road users to see you.

Never conduct a 3 Point Turn near corners, bends or on the crests of hills.

Never conduct a 3 Point Turn over double unbroken separation lines. 

 

RMS Driving Test Manoeuvres: Kerbside Stop

RMS Driving Test Manoeuvres: Kerbside Stop

During your RMS Driving Test, there will be times that you will be required to conduct a kerbside stop.  Many learner driver’s can often find this manoeuvre somewhat tricky as they are still learning to judge distance.  You will find that once you get your licence, kerbside stops will be repeated on a daily basis.

During your driving test, you will not only just perform a kerbside stop, you will also perform this manoeuvre when doing a three point turn or reverse park.

Where are kerbside stops conducted?

Common sense shouldn’t prevail when choosing appropriate spots to perform kerbside stops or any parking for that matter.  Parking across driveways, in clearways or bus zones is simply just a ‘no go zone’ unless you would like to get a ticket from the authorities or have your car towed away – at your expense!  So the best practice is to simply, check the area and relevant signage to ensure that you are parking in an appropriate place.

Another common error most drivers forget is to leave at least three (3) metres to any double unbroken separation line as this allows enough space for other vehicles to safely pass. For more parking rules see, http://www.rms.nsw.gov.au/roads/safety-rules/road-rules/parking.html

How to do a kerbside stop?

To safely and effectively perform a kerbside stop, follow these simple steps.

  1.  When you are planning to do a kerbside stop, you need to be scanning ahead to find a suitable spot that permits parking.  We have seen time and time again, driver’s that start to perform a kerbside stop only to realise that certain signage will not allow parking causing the driver to re-enter the traffic without due care and attention.  You will also need to be aware of other traffic conditions and pedestrian activity.
  2. Once you have found a suitable location, indicate your intent accordingly (blinker) providing enough warning for other motorists to know your intention.
  3. Once you have done this, check your rear view mirror to ensure cars travelling behind you are aware and are slowing down.  Depending on the direction that you are going to park, ensure to check the relevant mirror.  E.g if you are parking to the left, ensure to also check your left side mirror.  If you are travelling along a one-way street and are going to park on the right side, ensure to check your right side mirror also.
  4. After indicating your intent and once you have checked your mirrors, you must check you blind spots by conducting a head-check in the direction in which you are moving.  For instance, if you are parking to the left side of the road, check your blind spot by conducting a head-check to the left and vice-versa to the right.
  5. If your blind spots are clear, then proceed cautiously in the direction that you wish to park (left or right).  Ensure to approach the kerb slowly and safely.
  6. Before coming to a complete stop, ensure that your vehicle is straight and parallel and closer than than 50cm from the kerb.  If parking behind another vehicle, make sure to leave at least one (1) metre.
  7. Once you are happy with the vehicles final position (as outlined above), apply the hand-brake and select Park (P) if in an automatic or first gear if driving a manual vehicle.

Did you know that when leaving the kerb, you need to signal your intention (blinker) for at least five (5) seconds before pulling out?  Remember, you must check your blind spot in the direction that you are moving particularly in residential streets as neighbours apposite maybe leaving their driveways.

What’s in the RMS Driving Test?

What’s in the RMS Driving Test?

A common question that we regularly get asked is “What will I have to do in the driving test?”, as well as “How long does the driving test go for?”

In order to know what you’ll be tested on, you need to know the main five criteria that you will be assessed against:

  • Vehicle position
  • Car control
  • Speed management
  • Hazard perception
  • Decision making

For the Vehicle position section you will need to properly position the vehicle on the road. This includes aspects such as stopping at a safe distance from the vehicle in front (1-2 metres), maintaining the right distance to the kerb during the reverse parallel park and kerb side stop (50cm), and choosing the right line around a corner. Besides being aware of the area surrounding your car, which is called the “safety cushion”, you’ll also need to avoid driving in other driver’s blind spots.

What the testing officer is looking for in the Car control section is your ability to operate car controls smoothly and to stay in control of the car. Besides operating the brakes, steering, clutch, gears, and the accelerator, you must remember about mirrors, seat belt, and seat position.

The aim of the Speed management section is to determine your ability to select the right speed depending on the situation. Keep in mind the three second gap and also consider variables such as available vision, space around your car, other cars’ speeds, and road surface.

As part of the Hazard perception section, you will have to demonstrate your ability to respond quickly to potential dangers on the road. The testing officer will mark you on 5-10 hazard situations.

As for the Decision making section, this can be the most challenging part, because you’ll need to pay attention to what’s happening around the vehicle at all times. For instance, you’ll have to proceed correctly at intersections and choose safe gaps.  It’s a matter of judgement and experience in which to enter a road or change the lane.

Besides these 5 sections, your performance on two (2) of the following manoeuvres will also be assessed:

  • Kerb side stop
  • A hill start
  • Three point turn
  • Reverse parallel park – 90° or 45° front or rear to kerb depending on your location.

Driving Test Route

As for the other common question, you should know that the driving test takes place on a designed test route; every test location has multiple routes to select from during the exam.

Be prepared for the following situations:

  • Changing lanes on multi lane roads
  • Stop and give way signs
  • Single and multi lane roundabouts
  • Right hand turn across busy traffic
  • Narrow roads
  • Up-hill start
  • Right hand turns at lights with no green arrow
  • Different speed zones
  • Changing between busy lanes
  • Turning on road with limited vision
  • Taking multiple decisions

Be a Safer Driver. Have an Escape Plan.

Be a Safer Driver.  Have an Escape Plan.

It’s known that crashes often have more than just one cause. It only depends on if you allow risk factors to accumulate. To be a safer driver, you should always have an escape route for any driving situation in the event something goes wrong.  Next time you go out on the road consider the following tips:

  • Avoid lanes with entering or merging traffic
  • Check if you have an escape on the left side when stopping in traffic
  • Always leave a couple of car lengths between you and the car in front when stopped so you can accelerate out if need be
  • Consider using shoulders of the road
  • Whenever you slow your vehicle down, adjust your braking speed so the vehicle behind you can slow down with you
  • Reduce speed when approaching intersections so you can stop if a vehicle enters unexpectedly

Slow down when approaching emergency services vehicles

Many workplaces are more dangerous than others.  This SLOW DOWN AND GIVE US SPACE ad by Transport NSW, is a timely reminder to consider the safety and welfare of our fantastic emergency services personnel who are out their taking care of a multitude of incidents.  This ad features a broken down motorist being assisted by NRMA Motoring & Services, as well as emergency services personnel from the NSW Police, NSW Fire & Rescue NSW,  Roads and Maritime Services, NSW SES and the NSW Ambos.  The ad delivers a very simple but important message to all NSW drivers.

Driver Knowledge Test (DKT)

What is the Driver Knowledge Test?

Are you looking to apply for your learner licence?  If so, the following content applies to you.  The Driver Knowledge Test (DKT) is a computer-based road rules knowledge test that comprises of 45 multiple-choice questions.  In order to receive your learner licence, you must first pass this online test.  The test is divided into several areas that cover general knowledge and road safety.

Depending on the class of licence you intend to get, the DKT will match specific test for that class.  In the general knowledge section, you will need to answer at least 12 correct from 15 questions.  The road safety questions will include 30 questions of which you will need to answer at least 29 correct.  This section also includes traffic signs.

Study for the Driver Knowledge Test

Before attempting the DKT, it is a great idea to prepare yourself.  Everything you need to know to pass the DKT is included in the handbooks and depending on which class of licence you wish get, you can access the handbooks online for free, or you attend any RMS centre and purchase one.  The handbooks include the following;

During the test, the computer selects random questions from a bank of more than 600 questions.  Here is a list of question banks specific to your intended licence class;

Practice the Driver Knowledge Test

Once you have studied the handbook, it is a good idea to practice the online DKT.  The practice test will assist you in becoming familiar with the test and depending on how your practice tests go, this may be a good indicator if you are ready to attempt the real test.

Ready to book your Driver Knowledge Test?

Once you feel ready to to attempt the DKT, there are several ways you can book for your test.  You can book online, by phoning 13 22 13, or in person at any registry or service centre.  Check out the fees associated when booking for your DKT.

FREE Keys2Drive Lesson

Keys2Drive

Learn.Drive.Survive. supports the Keys2Drive program.

Keys2drive is Australia’s largest national learner driver safety program and is funded by the federal government.  The aim of this program is to provide a free driving lesson to every learner driver in Australia however, it is also aimed at helping “P platers” achieve a zero harm target for six (6) months.

The best time for your free lesson is after you have completed about 5-10 hours. However, it doesn’t matter if you have completed more than this.  If you have completed majority of your hours, your driving instructor may decide to use the keys2drive lesson one you are ready for your driving test. When you are ready or decide to use your free keys2drive lesson, ensure to contact Learn.Drive.Survive. to assist you with this session which will also include the supervising driver in the vehicle with the driver trainer.

Here’s how to book for your free lesson;

1. Register on the keys 2 drive website or contact us and we will do this for you.

2. Login and obtain your free lesson ID code

3. Call our office on 1300 898 969 to book your lesson

Most Common Driving Distractions

Driving distractions can cause drivers to not drive safely as it takes their focus from the road ahead.  Safe driving is paramount however, taking your eyes off the road for 2 seconds may not seem like much, but the distance you are travelling while being distracted increases proportionally to your speed.  And the more you travel without paying attention, the more unexpected things can happen along the way. It doesn’t matter if you are just learning to drive, or if you are an experienced driver – consequences are the same.

Here are some facts to think about the next time you are behind the wheel:

Driving Distraction types

  • The most common driver distractions nowadays is texting while driving (mobile phones, vehicle controls, passengers, pets, kids, things happening outside the car, applying makeup, food and drinks (especially coffee), surprises (a spider, a passenger sneezing, etc.), and your own thoughts.

    Worse than drink driving

  • Distracted driving is causing many deaths in younger generations of drivers. Crashes caused by drink driving have decreased, but the same number of young people die on the road because of the increasing number of distracted drivers.
  • Drivers using mobile phones are more impaired than drivers at .08 BAC.
  • What happens inside your brain

    • There are 3 types of distraction: visual (taking your eyes off the road), manual (taking your eyes off the wheel) and cognitive (taking your mind off of driving).
    • Brain power used while driving decreases by 40% when a driver listens to conversation or to music.
    • Texting causes you to take your eyes off the road for at least 5 seconds. If you are travelling at 90 km/h, you will be covering the length of a football field without looking at the road. What’s worse, even if you’ve stopped checking your phone or your navman, you will still not be fully engaged with the driving task for approximately 27 seconds.
    • Distraction contributes to around 15% of fatal crashes. Try taking a hazard perception test while texting and see what happens.
    • There is no difference in the cognitive distraction between hand-held and hands-free devices.

    Mobile phones and other devices

    • Learner and P1 drivers are not allowed to use ANY function of a phone (including hands-free) while driving.
    • Around 1 million people chat on their mobile or text while driving.
    • Texting increases you odds of being involved in a crash by 23 times. Driving and texting is so frequent and has consequences so severe that is considered an epidemic.
    • 80% of teenage girls and 58% of teenage boys admitted to texting and driving.
    • People who text while driving spend 10% of the time outside their lane.

    It’s better to travel alone

    • Young drivers have a greater risk of becoming involved in a crash when they have friends in the car. There’s more chance of causing a fatal crash when you have two or more friends in the car, especially male passengers.

    Hungry?

    • An American study has found that eating can be more distracting than talking on a mobile phone.

    Today’s fast-paced lifestyle forces many of us to handle our lives out of our cars, but talking on the phone or eating while you commute is not an effective way of saving time.  Attempting to multitask is risky for your passengers’ and your own safety, and you will not be completing any of the tasks efficiently.

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