Safe Driving Principles

Safe Driving Principles for Safer Roads

driving lesson

With the number of vehicles that drive on our roads increasing exponentially every day, it has never been more critical to have an understanding of basic ‘safe driving’ principles when out on the road. That’s why we have come up with these principles to share with you to help you on your way to a long future of incident-free driving.

Concentration << Top

Driving is a skill that requires your full attention 100& of the time to safely maintain control of your vehicle and respond to events happening on the roads around you. Driving involves constant and complex coordination between your mind and body.

  • Don’t become distracted by your passengers or what is happening around you.
  • Watch the road ahead and be aware of potential hazards.

Anticipation << Top

Expecting the unexpected is what anticipation is all about. We anticipate that the car at the junction may pull out because we expect it to. If it doesn’t, all well and good. But if it does, we expected it and we were ready for it.

  • Anticipate traffic flow. Position yourself in the correct lane in plenty of time.
  • Where possible avoid sudden braking and accelerating.
  • Learn to read the road and drive smoothly, and be mindful of what’s up ahead.

Driver Etiquette << Top

What is the saying? “Do unto others as you would have others do unto you?” If more drivers remembered this, there would be fewer accidents on our roads today.

  • Be courteous and considerate to other road users.
  • Watch out for motorcyclists, pedestrians and cyclists.
  • Obey the rules of the road, they’re there for your safety!
  • Know your capabilities and do not exceed them.

Indicate Early << Top

Always signal when turning left or right, changing lanes, slowing down, or stopping, it lets other drivers, motorcyclists, bicyclists, and pedestrians know your intentions.

  • Indicate at least 30 metres before you intend to turn, be aware of other road users and signal your intentions.

Maintain a Safe Distance << Top

Safe following distances vary depending on what speed you are travelling, what conditions you are driving in and what type of vehicle you are driving. In most cases, a safe following distance is much greater than a car length.

  • Maintain a 2 to 3 second gap between you and the car in front.
  • The gap should increase in adverse weather or visibility conditions.
  • If you are overtaken, give them ample room to rejoin your lane.

Keep Left Unless Overtaking << Top

According to NSW Roads Minister Duncan Gay, the most frustrating road rule that seems to have been forgotten is people staying in the right-hand lane rather than moving left

  • Unless you’re overtaking, making a U-turn or turning to the right you must stay in the left-hand lane over 80km an hour and if it’s signed, even under 80km an hour

Obey the Road Rules << Top

The human and economic damage caused by road crashes is largely preventable. Lack of knowledge and awareness regarding road traffic rules and regulations, violation of traffic rules, coupled with driver behaviour, can be overcome with concerted effort.

  • Understand the road signs and obey them.
  • Always stop behind the white line at stop signs.
  • Stop for amber lights unless it is unsafe to do so.

Safe Overtaking << Top

Overtaking other vehicles is one of the most dangerous driving manoeuvres. Many road crashes, some of them causing deaths, are the result of insufficient care when overtaking.

  • Don’t overtake unless you are certain that the road ahead is clear.
  • Don’t overtake if you are approaching a crest, curve, intersection or a pedestrian, school or railway crossing.
  • It is unlawful to cross a continuous white centre line.

Mind Your Speed << Top

According to the latest statistics, more NSW drivers are being fined for travelling less than 10km/h over the speed limit than in the past, which could prove NSW Police and the RTA now have near-zero tolerance for speeding drivers.

  • Speeding is a major cause of road accidents, drive within the speed limit at all times.
  • Observe the 40km/h limit in school zones.
  • If you are unsure of the road, slow down.

Drink Driving << Top

Despite the well known dangers associated with drink driving, it still remains a very common offence in our society. When you look at the drink driving statistics, it becomes very clear how dangerous drink driving is and how it should never be considered lightly.

  • Driving and alcohol don’t mix.
  • If you are going out for the evening and intend to drink, leave your car at home or nominate a designated driver.
  • Always have a Plan B!

Drugs & Medication << Top

Many drugs can affect our ability to drive safely. These include illegal drugs such as cannabis, as well as legal drugs and medicines both prescribed and over-the-counter.

  • Being under the influence of more than one drug, including alcohol, puts you at even more risk of having a car crash.
  • A driver may not realise jut how much their driving ability is affected until they’re in a situation where it’s tested.

Driving at Night << Top

Night driving presents very different challenges from driving during the day. At night – without the colour and contrast of the day – vision and depth perception are significantly impaired.

  • It is more difficult to see and be seen at night.
  • Adjust your speed to suit the conditions.
  • Watch out for wildlife at night.

Driver Fatigue << Top

Driver fatigue is particularly dangerous because one of the symptoms is decreased ability to judge our own level of tiredness.

  • If you are going on a long trip, get a good night’s sleep beforehand.
  • Avoid driving late at night, when you would normally be sleeping.
  • Don’t drive if you are tired or feel stressed.
  • Take regular breaks while driving and be aware of the symptoms of fatigue (sore or tired eyes, discomfort, boredom or highway hypnosis).

Safety First! << Top

Safety is paramount when operating a motor vehicle and ensures that you and everyone around you are 100% safe 100% of the time.

  • Ensure your vehicle is always roadworthy. Perform regular services and safety checks e.g. tyre condition, coolant & oil levels.
  • Wear your seat belts AT ALL TIMES, it’s the law.
  • Ensure your passengers are securely restrained and be especially aware of the need to properly restrain children.