A-Class Driving School's Online Driving Tutorial -
Meeting Situations

Depending on the width of the road, parked vehicles and oncoming traffic, you'll be expected to deal with each situation slightly differently.

Wide roads with the occasional parked car - On approach to the obstruction on your side of the road, check the interior mirror then the right door mirror for other road users trying to overtake you before moving out. Start to drift away from the left early and take up a position 1 meter from the parked car and once you've passed it check the interior mirror and left door mirror for people, smaller vehicles and bikes behind the parked car.

Make sure you can see the back of the car before moving back in. Students often check the mirrors too soon and therefore come back in too soon. This is known as shaving and has its own tick box on the examiners score sheet. If you can keep a meter from the parked up cars and the oncoming traffic, this is deemed a safe distance and you can continue at normal speed.

Normal/average width road

In the average sized road, you run the risk of slowing oncoming vehicles down when you move out and around the parked cars. If the gap between you, the parked car and oncoming road users is less than 1 meter, then you must reduce your speed accordingly.

If the gap is less than 1 meter, you must be traveling at no more than 20mph by the time you meet the oncoming car. And if the gap is less than half a meter, consider stopping or going no more than 10 mph. At these speeds you'll be able to deal with car doors being flung open or people jumping out from behind those cars as well as dealing with the oncoming traffic. You will need to be able to identify the gap and the width before you get there and have your speed under control when you pass the other cars. Same routine as far as the mirrors are concerned.

Narrow roads 

If you can't pass stationary vehicles on your side of the road because something is coming the other way, then you'll have to give way. They have priority. If it's just one car, then back off with the speed on approach and once they have gone, check those mirrors, move out and make some progress. If there are lots of cars coming, then you'll need to stop. You must take up the 'Hold Back' position.

You'll need to be no closer than 2 to 3 car lengths from the first parked car (that's a pretty big distance), at least a meter from the side of the road. Too close to the kerb and cars will start overtaking you, mistaking you as being parked. You want to be able to see down the road and be able to see what is coming, and then that will allow you to move away in a straight line again.

The sooner you stop, the sooner the oncoming cars see what is happening, the sooner they start to come on through, the more time you have now to get your car ready (handbrake? First gear) and the sooner you'll be on your way again. Check those mirrors before moving off. 

Tunnel of vehicles 

With these situations, priority goes to the car who gets in first.

Holding back sooner rather than later is advised, as there may be nowhere to pass each other later. You don't want to have to be reversing backwards down a narrow street as a learner.

If for what ever reason you do find yourself in a tunnel of cars with someone coming towards you, find somewhere to pass each other. Gaps on the other side of the street are the easy ones. Simply stop opposite a large gap and allow them, to move into it. Gaps on our side are more difficult. Have it clear in your head that you're going to stop here.

Clutch goes down before we get into the gap, so the engine stops pushing the wheels. Only move in the absolute minimum, we want to get out again easily and make sure it doesn't look like you're parking. Try to stop in the middle of the gap to aid an easy exit with your wheels pointing a little to the right to help further.

meeting situations signs

These signs indicate a meeting situation could occur soon

meeting situation clearance

We're aiming for 1 metres clearance at all times

narrow clearance meeting situation

With between 1 and 0.5 metres clearance our speed needs to drop to under 20mph

hold back position

With less than 0.5metres clearance we need to stop and hold back for oncoming traffic