A hazard is anything that may be dangerous or could involve some risk or danger for you or other road users. A hazard is something that would cause you to slow down, stop or change direction.
On approach to a hazard you should check your mirrors and slow down and signal if necessary. If there is a vehicle following you closely, you should slow down earlier to make sure they have time to react to your change of speed.
Typical hazards in the road ahead could be
- pedestrians crossing
- doors opening on parked cars
- bin wagons blocking the road
- animals in the road
- bends in the road
Bends in the road are a particularly dangerous type of hazard. You do not know what may be just around the corner,so extra caution is needed on approach to a bend.
Often there are warning signs before a sharp bend in the road. Once you identify the bend you should use the MSPSL(Mirrors Signal Position Speed Look) routine to navigate it safely.
Check the interior mirror and the mirror that is linked to the direction of the bend. You are checking the speed and position of road users
Your brake light would normally be the only signal necessary
Position in your normal driving position for left bends, and more to the left for right bends. This will give you the best view round the bend, and you maybe able to see things like pedestrians earlier than if you were positioned differently. It will take time and practice to be able to judge how much to steer on a bend. Use the position of the roadside in the front window to help you.
Reduce your speed on approach to a bend and then keep a constant speed throughout. Avoid braking on the bend any braking that is needed should be done before the bend. The speed at which you go round the bend will depend on the sharpness and the road conditions. You should only accelerate after the bend and not whilst on the bend itself. Accelerating on the bend may cause a loss of grip and lead to a skid.
Look for hazards in the road, including pedestrians and cars that could be cutting the bend and be on your side of the road. Never drive so fast that you cannot stop well within the distance you can see to be clear.
The Handling Of Your Car On Bends
The performance and handling of your car can be affected by lots of different things. You should know the limits of your car and your own limits. Things that could affect the handling of your car include
Poorly inflated or badly worn tyres will give your vehicle less grip. You can find the recommended tyre pressures for your car in the owner’s manual.The tread depth of a car’s tyres should be a minimum of 1.6 millimetres across the central three quarter breadth of the tyre, around the entire circumference. There should be no cuts or bulges on the tyre
Having a fully loaded car will change the way your car handles. If you have more passengers than usual, your car may not steer as well as it would when you are driving it alone
If the road is wet you vehicle could be at risk of skidding. Reduce your speed more in wet conditions. The condition of the road surface could also make navigating bends more dangerous. If the road is shiny it may be a slippery surface. There would sometimes be a sign on approach to indicate this, but not always.
If you are not feeling well you could easily lose control on a sharp bend.Ultimately it is the driver’s responsibility to make sure his/her passengers are safe. If you feel tired take regular breaks if you areill it may be safer not to drive at all.
The Different States Of A Hazard
There are three states of a hazard
- Potential hazard
- Developing hazard
- Actual hazard
A potential hazard is something that could change into a hazard, but at the moment poses no risk. Examples of potential hazards could be someone walking normally down the road or a zebra crossing with no one waiting. Keep an eye on potential hazards, and watch out for the hazard developing.
On the hazard perception part of your driving theory test, you will not score any points for clicking on potential hazards.
A developing hazard is a situation that is closer to being an actual hazard. Not just a pedestrian walking down the road normally. The pedestrian starts to develop into a hazard when they change direction and head towards the zebra crossing. The crossing is also a developing hazard at this point. They are much more likely to be the hazard that causes you to slow down or stop.When you see a hazard developing you should check your mirrors to see what is happening behind and to the side of you.
On the hazard perception part of your driving theory test, a check of the mirror is represented by clicking the mouse. You will score more points for clicking just as a hazard starts to develop.
This is where the hazard has developed to the point where you are going to have to change direction slow down or stop to avoid an accident. The pedestrian has stepped out onto the zebra crossing and you need to stop to let them get all the way across. They are an actual hazard. On the hazard perception part of your driving theory test, you will not get many points, if any, for clicking after the hazard has fully developed.