The Highway Code has some general driving advice in Rule 160. Once your vehicle is moving you should
- keep to the left, unless road signs or markings indicate otherwise. The exceptions are when you want to overtake, turn right or pass parked vehicles or pedestrians in the road. Remember that you can be fined on motorways for not keeping left.
- keep well to the left on right-hand bends. This will improve your view of the road and help avoid the risk of colliding with traffic approaching from the opposite direction. This relates to the vanishing point of the road. The further left you are, the further around the corner you can see. Once you can see the road beyond the corner then you can ‘straighten out the curve’ a little to provide a more comfortable cornering line.
- drive with both hands on the wheel where possible. The best positions are at either 10 to 2 or quarter to 3. These will give you the best balance of control of the vehicle plus access to steering wheel functions such as paddle-shift gears, volume controls and cruise control switches. At all times be aware of other road users, especially cycles and motorcycles who may be filtering through the traffic on your left or right. These are more difficult to see than larger vehicles and their riders are particularly vulnerable. Give them plenty of room, especially if you are driving a long vehicle or towing a trailer. Long vehicles can have blind spots which render cyclists and motorcyclists invisible at certain places when they are alongside. Also, long vehicles and vehicles towing trailers will take up more room in corners as the trailer and the back of the vehicle follows a tighter line around the bend than the front of the vehicle.
- select a lower gear before you reach a long downhill slope. This will help to control your speed and reduce the chance that you will experience brake fade. In a rear-wheel drive vehicle, changing down a gear while you are already braking while driving downhill puts you at more risk of momentarily locking the rear wheels. This is because the majority of the weight is over the front wheels, reducing the traction of the rear wheels. The increase in engine compression from the lower gear provides additional braking force to the rear wheels. If the rear wheels lock, it is likely to result in a spin.
- when towing, remember the extra length will affect overtaking and manoeuvring. The extra weight will also affect the braking and acceleration. If you are towing, remember to adjust your headlights downwards as the weight on the back will tilt the front of your car upwards and can cause your headlights to dazzle other drivers.
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Darren has owned several companies in the automotive, advertising and education industries. He has run driving theory educational websites since 2010.