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When we say "making progress" we mean simply driving at a suitable speed for the driving conditions. At the end of the day when we are driving we are trying to get from A to B and we need to endeavour to do this as safely and efficiently as possible. We don't want to crawl everywhere at a snail's pace or rush around like a mad man. Finding the correct speed and having the suitable gear selected for the conditions is considered to be making suitable progress.
Hesitancy not only prevents us from making smooth and effective progress up the road but can also create dangerous road situations. For these reasons it is obvious that hesitancy is something best avoided.
The main cause for hesitation is simply not planning the road ahead or anticipating the actions of others in good time. When driving we should always be looking ahead and planning the road ahead in good time.
To avoid hesitation make sure you judge a situation correctly and decide on priorities. If it is your priority then proceed confidently and assertively. If you need to give way or yield to another road user then do so in good time and in a controlled manner. Be ready to move off as soon as safe to do so.
If having to cross or emerge into traffic be sure to do so confidently and promptly. Plan for your gap and have the car ready to move off in good time. Plan gaps carefully to ensure there is enough time and space for you to complete your manoeuvre safely. Look back over previous lessons if you need to. Remember simple rules such as "if you can walk in front of an oncoming car you should have time to drive across" and so on.
When moving ensure you build up speed and work through the gears effectively to make progress, as mentioned above.
Hesitancy can become dangerous when you cause other road users to push in front of you or pull out early because they've mis-interpreted your hesitancy as an invitation to proceed. A common example is hesitating at a mini-roundabout despite it being your priority to proceed. Other road users may decide to go in front of you without you expecting them to do so, this could cause a collision when you eventually get moving.
The other textbook case is hesitating when another road user approaches a T-Junction to your left and waits to emerge after you've passed. To hesitate in this situation could cause the other road user to emerge in front of you and result in a collision.
In town excessive hesitation could cause pedestrians to step out in front of you or cars to pull out into your path.
Drive confidently, plan the road ahead, be sure of priorities and avoid mis-leading other road users. In your practical lessons ensure that you avoid undue hesitation and try to identify situations where hesitating could cause a dangerous situation to develop.
We've gone over road position many times before and considered it when dealing with many different road situations. Road position is very important, not only to make things easier for us but also to avoid getting in the way of other road users or misleading others.
Think carefully about what would be considered normal positioning in a variety of different road situations. This isn't just about keeping adequate clearances as discussed in the last lesson.
In a one way street how should we be positioned? 1 metre from the kerb may not be suitable, particularly in a wide one way road. Our position in a one way street should be in the centre of the carriageway.
In narrow streets it may be appropriate to maintain a more central road positioning as long as you consider the risk of oncoming road users. Be prepared to move to the left in good time if another road user were to approach.
Plan your road positioning in good time when arriving at junctions. Position correctly for the width of the road and type of junction and obey road markings that instruct you on where to position.
Where road markings instruct you as to which lane to use, be sure to plan for and follow these instructions in good time.
Maintain lane discipline, particularly at roundabouts to ensure you do not come into conflict with, or mislead other road users.
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