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Instructors Tips

Mini Drive Instructors

We have a wealth of experience to share with all who are learning to drive. This blog has been setup to give information & advice to help with your lessons and any private practice. You can find more at

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Roundabouts – It’s all in the approach

Roundabouts Posted on Sat, February 18, 2012 16:00:17

Does this sound familliar…

“I hate roundabouts! I never know whether to go or stop. I’m so confused I just stop and rely on my instructor to tell me when to go…”

If this does sound familiar or if you have other issues with roundabouts then you can take some comfort in the fact that YOU ARE NOT ALONE!

Many new drivers struggle with roundabouts, but hopefully I can help shed some light on things. This post deals with the approach.

Understanding Roundabouts.

First of all you must understand why we have roundabouts in the first place. Why use them when a set of traffic lights do a similar job? Well the main difference between a roundabout and a set of traffic lights is that roundabouts are designed to keep traffic flowing where two or more roads intersect. (With traffic lights if yours is on red you can’t move until it goes green, even if there is no traffic flowing from any other direction).

So the First point is that your approach should reflect the fact that we need to keep traffic moving where possible.

Use a structured approach.

You need to follow a structured approach. Use the Mirror-Signal-Position-Speed-Look routine religiously when approaching any roundabout.

1: Check all mirrors

2: If you’re taking the first exit signal Left, if you’re turning right signal right. Any other exits no signal

3: Position your car to the appropriate lane

4:Slow down! This is a very critical stage. Many people underestimate how much to slow down. You will also need to change gear (usually to 2nd) once you have reduced speed.

5:Look. After you have completed this routine you should be 10-20 meters from the roundabout with your left foot covering the clutch pedal and your right foot covering your brakes. Your speed will be around 10-15MPH Once you have the car under control it will be easier to look for space to enter the roundabout.

If space is there then a gentle press of the gas pedal will get you into the roundabout. If it is not clear then a push of the clutch and brakes will bring the car to a halt at the line smoothly and under control.

You can then move the car away when there is a space to move into.

Click here to see a video

The Hazard Perception Test

Theory Test Posted on Sat, February 18, 2012 15:05:19

The Hazard Perception Test (HPT) is the second part to the theory test and is just as important to practice as the theory questions.

Here’s how it works…

You will be presented with 14 video clips of real driving situations. Each clip will last for 30 seconds and during that time a number of hazards will appear on the screen. When you observe a hazard you need to register the observation by clicking the mouse button. This will tell the computer that you have seen the hazard. The sooner you click the mouse button the better your score will be. Scoring starts at 5 then 4… 3… 2… 1… & finally 0 for those hazards you respond too late to or miss completely.

13 of the clips will score you on a single hazard and in 1 of the clips you will be scored on 2 hazards. Therefore you will be scored on a total of 15 hazards each with a maximum score of 5.

15×5=75 points maximum score

The pass mark is 44 out of 75.

Thinking of cheating….. Think again!

If you were thinking that you could just sit there clicking the mouse button and hope that you click at the right moment, then think again. The software used to register your clicks is clever and will detect you clicking too often or in a rythmic pattern and score you a 0 for that clip! So be warned you can’t cheat the system.

Practice is always the best way. There are a number of training tools available at very reasonable prices.

“driving test success” from