If you are new to driving, everything can seem like it is being thrust upon you quite quickly. However, don’t panic. Fortunately, I have been working a alongside one of the leading driving instructors in the UK and have devised an informative article on how to drive safely, focusing solely on stopping the car correctly and safely. |
Now when you get behind the wheel, finding a safe place to stop the car is very important. You need to consider the other road users, pedestrians and any other potential hazards that you may encounter such as animals, debris and automotive litter. When you are planning on stopping the car, you should be able to spot a safe place to do so, using the stopping routine and safety checks that your driving instructor has taught you. When you do stop the vehicle, you will want to ensure that it is parallel and quite close, it isn’t the end of the world if you finish a little further than you would like, but it will result in marks against you if you are taking your driving test.
Unfortunately, there are a lot of unsafe areas on the roads in the UK where you are unable to stop or park. It’s OK if you do not know all of these just yet. Your driving instructor will go through these with you until you are comfortable. A couple of examples will include; double yellow lines, within 10 meters of a junction (approximately 3 full car lengths) and parking or stopping opposite a junction.
Now that you understand where you can and cannot park, we can begin discussing the stopping routine. You should be considering all of these points whenever you are stopping or parking a vehicle. Mirrors, Signalling, Positioning and Speed.
As you are approaching your stopping position, check the interior mirror to check what is behind you and your left door mirror. If there is a vehicle or pedestrian behind you or inside the left hand side of the door, would a signal benefit at this point? If so, do not be afraid to use one. Now that you have checked and the coat is clear, make sure that you apply the left signal. However, check your mirrors regularly to ensure there are no pedestrian’s or motorcyclists, you do not want to mistime your signal by applying it too early or too late.
If your driving instructor is in the car with you, they may decide to give you a target position to aim for when stopping, this can otherwise be known as a focal point on the car to help your positioning. Keep an eye on this as it will help you judge the position of the kerb a lot better, preventing damage. You could also check your left mirror on a regular basis to see how you are doing.
Now that the car is in position, you can begin to slow down by braking gently, reducing the speed of the car. You need to make sure that you push the clutch down fully to ensure that the car does not stall as you slow and decrease the revs.
Once you come to a stop, apply your handbrake and put the car back into neutral, cancelling your left signal in the process.
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