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Lesson Plan 8 - Hazard Awareness

Awareness and Planning

M-S-M Routine

To drive responsibly you should be constantly observing what is happening around you in order to respond safely to other road users. As well as checking ahead you should be looking frequently in your mirrors to be aware of what is going on behind you and to your sides. When you are aware of a hazard (anything that may cause you to change speed or direction) you should follow the Mirrors-Signal-Manoeuvre routine.


You should constantly ask yourself “What if…?”


  • What if a pedestrian steps out into the road?
  • What if a driver emerges without looking?

Be prepared for people making mistakes (pedestrians and drivers).

Be particularly mindful in built up areas and try not to focus too much attention on one hazard as you are likely to have several potential hazards. Keeping a safe following distance will help give you more reaction time – especially helpful when a vehicle ahead fails to give adequate notice of their intentions (i.e. park, turn etc.) and makes it less likely you will accidentally block junctions or crossings if traffic comes to a stop.

Keep a safe following distance

When a vehicle is ahead passes a stationary object (here the warning sign) keep 2 seconds apart. “Only a fool would break the two second rule” – if you have time to say this before you pass the same object then you will be at a safe distance. You will need to increase this in poor weather.

Safe Following Distance


Temporary Traffic Lights

Roadworks Sign
Traffic Lights
Often when you have road works.
The road will either narrow, you may have workmen with a stop and go sign or there will be temporary lights.
As they are only temporary you will not have a solid white line – look for the red sign for where to stop.


Ropad Signs


Traffic Lights

Traffic lights will change frequently to keep the traffic flowing. You should follow the M-S-M routine on approach and try to anticipate what colour the lights are likely to show by the time you get to them. Pay attention to lane markings to ensure you get in the correct lane in good time for the direction you wish to take. You should also keep your speed down on approach and not be tempted to speed up hoping to beat them. When you stop behind traffic queues be careful that you don’t block junctions.

Standard Traffic Lights

Filter Arrows

Some traffic lights have green filter arrows which will give you priority if you are following the direction the arrow is facing, even when the main lights are red. You will need to make sure you are in the correct lane early for the direction you are taking.

You have the priority to turn right. (You will need to stop if going ahead or turning left).

You have priority to go ahead or turn left. (You will need to stop at the line if turning right).