Road positioning and Driving Test Tips

Road positioning and Driving Test

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Road positioning may be a key area of the driving test where examiners tend to be rather harsh. this is often necessary due to safety reasons and lots of driving test are failed due to improper road positioning.

Road positioning isn’t just keeping in between the lines, it’s keeping a secure and appropriate road position in relation to circumstances at any given time. This tutorial explains the key areas where driving tests are failed due to improper road positioning, plus tips to establishing correct road positioning for learner drivers and the driving test.

Tyres and tarmac rule

The tyres and tarmac rule refers to the stopping distance behind another vehicle once you have come to a stop in traffic. (See stopping distances for further information for braking and stopping distances at various speed limits). The examiner are going to be checking you do not stop too close to the vehicle ahead because if their vehicle roll back, it’s going to hit the front of your car. Stopping too far behind another vehicle is dangerous as a vehicle behind you is unlikely to expect you to prevent that far back and can not be prepared to prevent.

Stop in order that you’ll see all of the tyres of the vehicle ahead and around a metre of road tarmac. this may vary slightly thanks to the peak of the driver, although it provides a an effective guide to go by.

Correct road positioning

Bad or inappropriate road positioning can come in various forms. It all however stems from a scarcity of forward planning, anticipation and observation. By the time you’ve got reached your driving test, you ought to be within the position to:

  • forward plan your driving – know the right procedure and driving routine in blast and well before you’ve got reached a given situation.
  • anticipation – to predict any possible hazards on a turn, roundabout or junction etc. These might be parked cars, cyclists, pedestrians etc.
  • observation – constant observation primarily just ahead of you and as far up the road as you’ll see and also frequently into all mirrors.

If you’ve got mastered these, then it’s unlikely you’ll end up during a bad road position. Below are typical driving test mistakes due to bad road positioning which will lead to minors or serious / dangerous test failures.

Road positioning on the driving test

Below provides some typical examples of where road positioning can become an issue during the driving test.

Passing parked cars

  • A frequent problem on driving tests is learner drivers passing too closely to parked cars. try to allow 1 metre gap from door to door when passing parked cars just in case any open. If this is often not possible due to road widths, a discount in speed is essential. See passing parked cars for further information.

Passing cyclists

  • Again, passing a cyclist too closely can easily fail a driving test. Allow a minimum of a 1 metre gap if they’re not during a cycle lane. Follow a really simple rule when passing cyclists, if you’re unsure if it’s safe for you or the cyclist to pass them, hold back behind them until you’re confident. See cyclists and cycle lanes for further help.

Turning left

  • If your car is positioned too on the brink of the left side of the road before making a left turn, it may result in hitting the kerb or maybe mounting the pavement whilst turning. make sure you remain within the centre of the road before turning. See left and right turns for help.

Turning right

  • Making a right turn safely depends on the road position of your car before taking it. a bad road position can result in hitting the kerb as you switch too wide or isolating the junction corner. Either are likely to end in a test failure. make sure you position the car correctly (left of centre line) and use the point of turn. See turning right for further information.


  • These include T-junctions, roundabouts and crossroads. Stopping timely before a junction line reduces your visibility of approaching traffic and stopping too far over the junction line puts you in peril of being hit by another vehicle. See sorts of junctions for assistance on this.

In Traffic Lanes

  • Keep within your road lane markings unless you need to move around an obstacle.
  • If there are no road markings use the edge of the road on the left to help you with your positioning.
  • Stay safe distance to vehicle in front.

At Cross Roads

  • If turning left keep to the left side on approach.
  • If turning right keep to the right side on approach.

At Roundabouts

  • If going “left” keep in left lane on approach.
  • If going “straight” keep in the left lane on approach and keep lane discipline by staying out in the left lane as going around the roundabout. Do not cut in too tight when crossing roundabout.
  • If turning “right” keep in right lane on approach and stay in close to roundabout until exiting.

Following Traffic

  • “Only a fool breaks the two second rule”.
  • Wet weather doubles it.
  • Make sure you can stop within the distance that you can see to clear ahead of you.

Road positioning tips

When passing rows of parked vehicles, remain on a straight and steady course by not weaving in and out of the vehicles. Be prepared to give way to oncoming vehicles however.

Stationary road positioning tips

When stopping and moving in traffic, avoid stopping opposite parked car if there isn’t enough room for other vehicles or buses to pass. Avoid stopping opposite a bus stop if there isn’t enough room for traffic to continue if a bus pulls up.

Driving reference points

As you start learning to drive, it can be difficult to know where the car is in reference to the road. On a transparent road with no obstacles, we ideally want to stay to the centre of the left side of the road. Some learner drivers find this easy, whilst other struggle. If you struggle, it simply takes a touch practice and before you recognize it, you’ll have the right road position without giving it a reconsideration . It’s always good to use reference points to assist a learner start . A driving point of reference may assist you gain that ideal road position.

Whilst driving on a straight road without and obstacles like parked cars, ask the person sitting next to you to inform you once you have a superb road position within the centre of your lane. Then make a attention of where the left side kerb (or curb because it ’s also known) or road line as it comes through the windscreen and onto the car dashboard. If it’s difficult to form a attention of the point of reference , you’ll use some sort of marker like alittle piece of colored tape as an example.

You may find it beneficial to stop the car once you have found the ideal road position, if so, ensure it is found on a quiet road where you will not impede other road users. These reference points should be used only as a guide for a normal driving position and temporarily until you become confident.

As road widths vary, this reference point should be used as an estimation only if you’re struggling to seek out the right road position. generally driving, attempt to remain within the centre of your side of the road. Driving too on the brink of the kerb may result during a tyre puncture as there’s often stones and debris close to the kerb. you’ll also risk hitting the kerb which can lose control of the vehicle, damage wheels and cause a puncture.


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