THE MOST COMMON MISTAKES
The testing officers agree that the major mistakes are the small but significant things like signalling – either forgetting to indicate or not doing so for long enough – and observation – failing to check your mirrors or blind spots. Stop signs are also important, especially when it comes to stopping before the line.
Do not simply turn on your indicator and drive away; you must signal for at least 5 seconds before leaving a parking space or moving from a kerb. It is also important to signal at the appropriate time, as signalling too early, too late, or leaving your indicator on can cause confusion among other road users.
Another common screwup is failing to check for blind spots. When merging, changing lanes, and performing manoeuvres, you must check your blind spots and mirrors. When turning left off a wide road, many drivers fail to check their left blind spot. Before turning left, perform a head check in your blind spot. You never know what might be driving up that section of road. Don’t forget that an observation check is also required to confirm that it is safe to proceed after a kerbside stop.
A common mistake is not stopping at stop signs and instead slowly driving through. At a stop sign or traffic light, you must bring the entire vehicle to a stop behind the line. Stopping behind the line at traffic lights and then creeping forwards does not count; you must stay behind the line. When the view is obstructed by a stop sign, you can proceed only after coming to a complete stop.
Another issue is failing to identify safe traffic gaps. It is a matter of judgement and experience. Sometimes learners will pull out and misjudge the speed of the car approaching them, or if it’s a truck, you must remember that a truck takes longer to stop than a car.
Be decisive; learners who attempt to turn right at lights may take too long to turn – there may be plenty of room, but if you hesitate, you may end up in trouble.