Saturday, September 27, 2014

How to Pass Driving Test in NSW or Australia?

I got my NSW car license few months ago and I took the test twice. This is considered not bad already because I heard many usually fail couple of times. But having said so, I could have passed it the very first time if my first driving instructor didn't give me the wrong instructions. Too bad, I met a wrong instructor. So, the key learning is, don't 100% rely on instructor unless you get a very good one but the problem is you won't know. :)

Here are some tips that I'm going to share with you which I believe will be very useful to you if you're coming from a country like me (i.e. Malaysia). I think it applies to most Asian countries maybe except Singapore? Some rules are different and some even doesn't make sense at all in my opinion. I will explain later.

(1) Always Give Ways to Right at Roundabout 

Not sure about the rule in Malaysia but I always apply US rule in Malaysia. The rule that I always follow is:

  • Whoever reach the roundabout junction has the higher priority and you must stop before you enter the roundabout. If both reach the junctions at the same time, the vehicle at the right has higher priority to enter the roundabout
I know it does not work in Malaysia sometimes but at least this is safe. Unfortunately, this rule that I understand doesn't apply here. I think it doesn't apply to Europe too. The rule is like this:
  • Must give way to right in all circumstances and you must NOT stop if you're not suppose to give way

If you're at 3 and there are cars coming at 2 (even not reach the 2 yet), you must give way to them. Assuming there is a very long queue at 2, you must wait until all the cars at 2 are clear, then you can only enter the roundabout. Does it make sense? I prefer the US rule, who comes first, who has the privilege to enter the roundabout.

Wait, there are some exceptions which I think it makes it more dangerous. If cars from 2 have indicate signal that they want to exit to 3, you don't need to give way to them. It means if you stop your car at 3, you fail! Similar to cars at 1 which have already entered the roundabout and have no indicator to right (means they go straight and want to exit at 3 - not exiting at 4),  you must not stop your car. What? What if they forget to indicate they want to exit at 4, I asked my instructor? She just told me, that is their fault. Alright, what if the indicator is malfunction? It is their fault too because you're can't drive if your indicator is not working. Oh my god, driving like this so dangerous...

This rule is dangerous because it simply assumes everyone follows the rules. If one doesn't follow the rules, it is going to crash! Anyway, just remember this is the roundabout rule in Australia although it doesn't make sense (at least to me). You just need to get used to it. The key is not to stop at roundabout if you're not suppose to give way. You just need to slow down a bit and move forward. It takes me sometime to get used to this.

(2) Change Lane and Indicator

I don't how you use indicator to change lane or to turn right. I will indicate right signal as long as I want to change to right lane and when there is a chance, I turn my car to right entering to the right lane. Wrong!

The rule here in Australia is different. The purpose of indicator is not to tell people you plan to turn right but is to tell you have already decided to turn right and you're turning now. So after you indicate right signal, you must turn right immediately. This means if you're not able to turn right for whatever reasons (e.g. there is a car behind you on the right), you can not indicate your signal! What? What if the right lane is in long queue again but you want to change to that lane. Yes, you can't because you are not safe to turn right. Oh boy...

Most instructors explain the 3 checks (i.e. back mirror, side mirror and shoulder check) but they fail to explain the purpose of indicators that I mentioned above and also the purpose of these 3 checks. These 3 checks basically to ensure that you're safe to turn right or left. If it is safe, you indicate the signal and turn right immediately. If it is not, you continue to do these 3 checks until you have chance to turn right.

Can this kind of driving survive in Malaysia? Indicate signals and turn immediately is the most dangerous driving that I have known since I know how to drive. This is how accident usually happens. After you indicate the signals, you always turn very slowly and gradually to the right lane. That's the safest way of driving in my opinion. If there is a hazard, those cars behind you will definitely horn you and you can get back to your lane safely.

(3) Observation is Important

I failed my first test because of lack of observations or maybe no observations at all. I thought I have observed very well because I drive extremely safe and avoid any potential hazard. :) If you want to pass the driving test, you must always look around when you're driving. Yes, always look around although your car is completely stop. This is what they test on you for observation.

If you're passing the intersection and you go straight, you must look at the right and the left junction very quickly to ensure no hazard. If your car is stop, start to look around, left and right, mirrors and etc instead of focusing at one spot. Then, you will pass your observation test! Oh I almost forget, make sure you turn your head not just your eyes so that it is clear to the instructor that you have done your observation. :)

This tip is very important, because many instructor don't know about this at all unless you're lucky enough to meet a good one.

(4) Hold Steering Wheel Correctly

Whenever I turn, I like to put my hand inside the steering wheel and turn. I also failed this because my first instructor told me this is completely fine as long as you hold the steering wheel with 2 hands. It is hard to explain, just don't hold the steering like this even with 2 hands. :)

I hope this is useful. Roundabout rule is the most common one and I believe most instructor will explain that to you but not for the purpose of indicators and observation. I think holding steering wheel correctly may be common too but somehow my first instructor just thought me wrongly.  So I think tip (2) and (3)  are the crucial one because no one is going to tell you that. If you're an experienced driver like me, giving these 4 most important tips, I don't think you will fail the test. I fail mine because of not aware of (2), (3) and (4).

If you have any questions, please leave your comment. I hope I can help more people passing the test. Good luck!


Kris said...

Very dangerous on the indicator sign thingy and its reasoning.

And the roundabout thing where you cannot stop if the car on the right is exiting into your lane. That is insane. If it were me, i usually will let that guy go first to be safe.

Looks like Malaysian driving skills is more safer.

ChampDog said...

Honestly, after I know about this rule and I observe, people here really use the indicator this way. That explains why every time I indicate even there are cars right behind me, they always slow down and give way to me. They thought I'm going to turn immediately, which is the right way of using indicator. This reminds me in Europe, every time I indicate, they just let me go! lol

Round-able is the funny one, when I first driving here before I take the test, I actually horn them when they don't stop in roundabout and give them a "WTF" face! Now, I know this is the rule. lol I'm the one who don't know the rules.

It is not on driving skills, it is the driving rules. Skill is fine, but not the rules. Personally, I don't think it is a good rule because it is making assumption everyone follows or else it will break. A good rule, must making into consideration what if someone is not following, and it still won't break.

Michelle said...

Interesting and very good sharing :)

ChampDog said...

You want to come? lol

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