Safe driving videos
Watch these videos to learn safe driving skills.
Pre-drive vehicle safety check
Hello and welcome to the first in this series of programs called Safety Checks - Safety Skills.
The show is for learner drivers and supervisors alike and in each episode you'll find some practical tips and advice to help you stay safe on the road.
To help us with these skills and checks is Brian Everitt from RACQ Driver Education, Hello Brian
So Brian, I guess when you're learning you really want to just get in the car and go.
Can you talk us through why we need to do a safety checks before we even begin?
Sure Jess. Learning to drive is exciting.
You feel like you just want to jump in the car and start driving. But that's not the way to go.
If you've ever watched a plane being prepared for take off, you'll have seen the crew go through a whole series of safety checks.
I guess they can't afford for anything to go wrong.
Exactly - and it's the same when you're driving.
You need to be certain your vehicle is in good condition before you go out on the road.
So this is the pre-vehicle safety check you need to do before you drive.
First up we check we have L-plates clearly displayed front and back.
Check you have legible number plates and a current registration label.
Now Jess make sure your hand brake's on
and then turn the key till the ignition lights on the dashboard come on. But don't start your engine.
Now we'd like to check the right indicator.
Left indicator. Excellent.
We're working our way around and checking that the headlights, tail lights, number plate light, stop lights and indicators are in working order.
And while you're moving round the car - check your tyres are correctly inflated and that you have at least 1.5mm of tread.
And this is what you're looking for
The tread wear indicator... if it's exposed the tyre is not legal.
Check the windscreen is not cracked and that the windscreen and windows are clean enough so they don't restrict visibility.
Check the horn works and is clearly audible.
Your doors should all be operational from inside and out. And instrument gauges like your speedometer - should all be in good working order.
Remember though every vehicle you get into can have the instruments and controls in a different position.
You need to be able to reach controls like your hazard light switch, instantly.
So every time you get into a vehicle, familiarise yourself with the layout of the dashboard.
And it's also a good idea to check your fuel.
That's a wrap.
Getting comfortable in the car
Hi there. In Safety Checks and Skills today, we're talking about getting ready and getting comfortable in the car before you drive.
Now Brian, I understand this is another check list we need to go through before we start driving, what's this one all about?
Well Jess. This is not just a check list for learners it's something every driver needs to do every time they get into a car that someone else has been driving.
OK, where do we start?
Jess - the best place to start is with the seat.
At the moment we need to get your legs adjusted correctly. So now move your seat forward until that can happen.
Once your legs are adjusted correctly you can now check your arm length.
And to do that you put your arms out to the steering wheel. The top of the steering wheel should cross your wrists.
Let's look at the steering wheel's height as well.
When you adjust the height of the steering wheel you should be able to look through the top half of the steering wheel itself to see all the gauges on the dashboard.
Just by this lever here, pull it up?
This lever here, yes. Push that down and lift it up to a point where you can see clearly the dashboard and a good clear vision of the road ahead.
Okay. And what's next?
Let's look at the headrest. - Okay
Most cars have adjustable headrests.
Okay, so how's mine?
How does it feel? - Yeah, it feels good.
Remember it's there to support head in the event of a collision and to look after your spine and your neck.
Okay. - The next thing we do is put your seatbelt on.
Okay. This one's an important one.
This is very important.
Now the correct position for your seatbelt needs to be that the sash part of your seatbelt cuts across your shoulder.
And the lap part of your seatbelt cuts across your hips.
A good idea here is to grab the seatbelt and give it a short tug to make sure that it is firmly fitted. So, how does that feel?
Good, nice and firm.
And comfortable? - That's right.
Terrific. The next thing we do is check your mirrors. - Okay
The center mirror you should see clearly through the back window.
Check your left side mirror and you should be able to see the back wing of the car and the rest of the mirror provides vision of traffic behind you.
That one's good.
And I'll shut this door now so you can adjust the right side.
Okay. Yep, looks right to go.
Good Jess, one other thing to do. We need to locate some more controls.
Can you tell me where your demister switch is? - That would be this one here.
Good. And your temperature control switch? - This one here.
And your fan control? Doing well. How about your headlights, hi beam and low beam?
Perfect. How about your windscreen wipers? - Yep
And lastly your hazard lights. Well done.
That's a wrap.
Basic driving techniques
Oh hi. In Safety Checks and Skills today we're going to look at some basic driving techniques.
Brian, can we start with the hand positions on the wheel - where should they be?
Jess, imagine the steering wheel is a clock face. There's two schools of thought here.
You can place your left hand at the 10 o'clock position and your right hand at the 2 o'clock position. That's called 10 to 2 steering.
If you drop your hand lower to the 9 o'clock position on the left, put your right hand to the 3 o'clock position on your right. That's called quarter to three steering.
Okay, that makes sense - now what about turning the wheel?
Where should our hands be when we're going around a corner for example?
Well there's lots of ways of doing this, but the best thing to remember here is when you do turn the steering wheel make sure your hands are used in a tidy fashion but make sure that when you release the steering wheel you don't let it slip through your grip.
Okay. Now another thing that can be a bit tricky to get is the clutch.
Any pointers for all the manual learner drivers out there?
Jess, the clutch can be a tricky thing to get right.
Just remember though that the clutch is operated by the left foot only.
And is used only when you're starting, changing gears and stopping.
For smooth clutch operation the pedal should be released smoothly to the "point of balance" or friction.
And you feel this or hear it with the speed of the engine and once you've reached that friction point at that point you then release the clutch fully.
Remember though, don't ride the clutch pedal, that's not a good plan.
Okay, so what happens when you stall? It can be so embarrassing.
Any pointers on why it happens and how to stop it happening?
Yeah it's not just embarrassing, but quite unsafe in traffic.
So, with a clutch stall, the reason for that is the driver has let the clutch out too quickly.
In other words, they've jumped off the clutch pedal and they haven't matched the engine revs with the right foot on the accelerator.
So basically it's a balance between the clutch and the accelerator?
Yes, very much so. It's a very fine line between the accelerator and the clutch.
Okay great, thanks Brian.
That's a wrap.
Safe driving skills
In a previous Safety Checks and Skills program we looked at the pattern of visual checking we use when driving.
We were looking at how to get the best information to help us make the best driving decisions.
Today we're looking at other decisions and safety skills we can use, when we're driving to help keep us safe on the roads.
Brian, where do we start?
Jess, we've talked about using our mirrors to get the best information and help make good driving decisions.
Once we've made those decisions, we need to tell other people what we are going to do - and that's where your signals come in.
Indicators or signals give other drivers and pedestrians very important information about what you are planning.
Your driving decisions will also be impacted by road signs, traffic signals and markings on the road.
These are important instructions to look out for and follow.
And then there's speed.
You should be aware of the legal speed limit - but you still need to make a decision about how fast you're going to drive.
You need to take into account the driving conditions and the amount of traffic on the road.
You need to decide on the speed that's safe for you.
And just as important as your speed is the distance you keep from other vehicles.
When you're following other traffic you should be able to leave a gap in front that measure two seconds.
And the way to sort this out is to watch the car in front pass a stationary point on the side of the road, as it does you should be able to count "one thousand one", "one thousand two" and now the front of your car is just reaching that counting point.
Now you have a 2 second gap.
So today we've talked about things that you need to use to help make decisions and keep you safe.
We've talked the importance of indicators
The importance of road signs, traffic signals and road markings.
You need to make a decision on a safe speed based on the conditions you're driving in.
And finally, the distance you need to keep from other vehicles.
And Jess that is really important.
A great number of crashes are nose to tail, people crashing into the car in front and many of those may well have been avoided if people had just given themselves more space.
That's a wrap.
Looking out for hazards
In this edition of Safety Checks and Skills we're looking at - what we should be looking at.
Which means - when you're driving, what should you be looking out for in the way of hazards?
Where should your eyes be focused in order to give you the best vision of what's happening around you.
Brian - can you give us your thoughts on where we should be looking - when we-re driving?
Jess - When you're driving you depend greatly on your eyes to give you a clear, complete and accurate picture of what's going on around you.
You are constantly searching for potential hazards, and a hazard is anything that might cause you to change speed or direction
and that includes potentially dangerous situations that may lead to a crash or injury.
You need to be aware of what's going on all around you all the time.
Of course you need to watch in the direction you're travelling.
What's happening right in front of you as well as what's coming up.
For instance you look at what the car in front of you is doing - but you are also looking as far ahead as possible.
Your best friends when you are driving are your mirrors - and it's really helpful to fall into a pattern when you are using them.
When you-re driving - try this pattern. Check what's happening immediately in front of you.
Then what's happening up the road.
Check your rear view mirror. Check your side mirrors if you need to.
And then back to the road again in front.
Okay, so basically we look directly in front, then out ahead.
The rear view mirror, the side mirrors and then back to the front.
Correct. And once you've fallen into a pattern, you can take all that visual information in very quickly.
A constant pattern of checking your mirrors as well as the road ahead gives you better information.
And once you have better information, you make better driving decisions.
You are more aware of potential hazards and you will respond earlier and that helps you stay safer on the road.
That's a wrap.
Getting through roundabouts
Hello, Jess again and welcome to Safety Checks - Safety Skills.
When I was learning and first driving with my supervisor one of the things I found took a bit of getting used to was the roundabout.
I felt under pressure to get on and get off quickly and at the start I wasn't sure which lane I should be in.
So today I've asked Brian to talk us through the best way to approach a roundabout and how to get through them as safely as possible.
Thanks Jess. When you first see a roundabout, it can look confusing but once you understand the basic rules to follow, you should be able to drive through and around them with confidence.
First up, there are two types of roundabouts.
There's single lane roundabouts like this one and there are multilane roundabouts like the one you see on the screen here.
Whichever one you come across you are always going to drive in a clockwise direction around the roundabout.
You follow the road arrows and direction signs, and drive within your marked lane.
And use your indicator to show when you are going to leave the roundabout.
OK, let's look at a couple of examples of moving through a multilane roundabout.
For a start imagine you want to turn left. Here's what you do.
To turn left you should be in the left lane. And you should signal left before you enter the roundabout.
You give way to vehicles already on the roundabout and if there are arrows, you must follow those directions
Continue to indicate left as you exit, and then turn off your indicator.
Now what do you do when you want to drive straight ahead.
You can approach the roundabout in the left or the right lane.
Once again, if there are traffic lane arrows, you must follow those directions. You give way to vehicles already on the roundabout.
After giving way, you drive on and then signal left to exit. Once you have left the roundabout though remember to cancel your indicator.
So, what happens if you are making a right turn or a U-turn?
The pattern is the same, except most importantly you need to enter the roundabout from the right hand lane.
You signal right before you enter, remember to give way to vehicles already on the roundabout.
Once you're on the roundabout, continue to signal right.
If there are lane arrows, follow the direction of those arrows.
You indicate left to exit the roundabout, but don't forget to cancel your indicator.
One thing, always keep a look out for bike and motorbike riders as they can be hard to see.
So Jess that's how you handle roundabouts.
Thank you Brian.
That's a wrap.
Safe stopping distances
This car travelling at 60 kilometres per hour took this long to stop
Same car, same driver at 65, this long to stop.
At 70... well.
The faster you go the longer it takes to stop.
Slow down. Stick to the limit.
The reverse park
Learning to drive does give you a lot to feel good about with new challenges and new things to learn.
One of the skills you're really going to enjoy, once you've mastered it, is the reverse park.
And that's what we're talking about in Safety Checks and Skills today.
Brian is standing by to give us the secret formula for the classic reverse park. So, Brian what's the secret?
Jess, the secret to a reverse park is quite easy provided you get the technique right and I'll demonstrate it for you now.
Here's our car that we're choosing to park behind, as you approach it keep parallel about a meter from it.
Drive forward so that when you stop you're level with the front wheel of the car beside you, at that point select reverse gear.
Move back slowly and keep your steering wheel straight until you're level with the back wheel of the car beside you.
I start turning left, I keep the car speed low, but the steering action quick.
This directs the back of the car into the car park space.
Continue back until the front of your car is level with the car in front of you.
At this point I start to turn right, again slow car speed, quick steering.
This will continue the car back into your space, but bring the front of your car in behind the car in front of you into a nice position to stop.
At this point we should be quite close to the gutter and in line with the other vehicles.
Remember though if you've completed your stop at this point to pull your hand brake on.
So, here we are a meter out from the car we're going to park behind and we're parallel to it.
I've got my left indicator on and I've checked behind. It's all clear to go.
So, I'm reversing straight back until I'm in line with the rear wheel of the car I'm going to park behind.
Now I'm turning the steering wheel left to a full lock and I'm keeping my car speed slow and hand speed fast.
I continue reversing on that angle until the front of the car is level with the back of the car in front.
Now I turn the wheel the other way to a full right lock, again car speed low, hand speed fast and if Brian is right we should have completed our successful reverse park.
We can always move forwards slightly to straighten up if required. Hey, not too bad.
That's a wrap.