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Meeting Oncoming Traffic | Learn to drive: Intermediate skills

Meeting Oncoming Traffic  |  Learn to drive: Intermediate skills


When driving in a built-up area we will often
find obstacles in our path that we will need to steer around. This will usually involve
driving on the other side of the road – but we must ensure that we do not obstruct oncoming
traffic that is driving towards us. As we drive along this road all the parked cars
are on our side, so oncoming traffic will have priority and we should give way to allow
them to pass. We spot the silver van driving towards us, and as our lane is blocked we
must pull in. We check our mirrors and see the car is waiting safely behind us, so we
drive on and return to our lane once more. This is called ‘meeting traffic’ and in
this video we will show how to handle this situation safely by using good anticipation
and planning skills. In a built-up area we will often see parked
cars, but we may also have to deal with other obstructions, such as road works, traffic
calming measures or even a skip. As a general rule if the obstruction is on our side of
the road, oncoming vehicles will have the priority and we must not do anything to make
them change speed or direction. If the obstruction is on the other side of
the road we will normally have the priority, but we should still be prepared to slow down
or stop as oncoming traffic could move out into our lane before they see us approaching. Sometimes there will be obstructions on both
sides of the road so there is no clear priority – if we spot this situation then we need to
be careful. We normally slow down a little, as this will give us more time to decide how
to proceed and reduce the chance of needing to stop suddenly. We should use the MSM routine to help us deal
with any obstacles in our path, as we will probably need to change our road position
and our speed. A quick mirror check will allow us to see any following traffic, and if we
spot someone overtaking us we should delay our manoeuvre until they have passed. We should
consider indicating right if we think someone will benefit, but usually our road position
and speed will signal our intentions. Indicating right for every parked car should be avoided,
as it could mislead others that we are about to turn right into a side road or driveway. So, as soon as we spot the black parked car
we check our mirrors and gently steer to the right, as this will give us a better view
ahead. We must drive slowly enough to allow us to come to a smooth stop if necessary,
so we slow down a little here. As we pass the next few cars we see there
is oncoming traffic. They have the priority here so we decide to stop behind the black
car. We don’t want to look like we are parking, so we position away from the kerb and indicate
right. While the oncoming traffic passes we check our mirrors once more, and then drive
on now that the road is clear. When stopping we aim to keep a reasonable clearance from
the obstruction to help maintain a good view of the road ahead and allow more room for
steering when we pull away. Next we turn onto a wider road, and this gives
us a little more space to use. Even though the obstruction is on our side of the road
there is enough room to keep going without making the oncoming traffic stop. We should
try to keep a ‘doors width’ gap between our car and the parked cars, as a careless
driver might open their door as we pass them. For the next stretch the cars are parked on
the other side of the road, so we move over a little to allow the oncoming traffic more
space. There is often a little ‘give and take’ like this on wider roads, but we should
still be ready to stop if there isn’t enough room to continue safely. This next road in the town centre is even
wider, but as the parked cars are on both sides of the road there is not much room to
pass oncoming traffic. We slow down and get a little closer to the cars on our left, but
we must never risk scraping another car as it would cause a lot of damage. If we are
in any doubt, we stop and wait. Another tight spot here, and we almost stop as we let the
other car through. In double-parked streets there is often no priority, and usually the
first car to reach the narrow spot will go through first. There is a fine balance between making good
progress and being too hasty. In this clip we are following a cyclist and we don’t
have enough room to overtake, because of the oncoming traffic overtaking a parked car.
We must give cyclists plenty of room when passing, in case they move unpredictably – so
here we need to be patient and wait until we have enough space to overtake safely. Once
we have checked our mirrors for danger, we use plenty of engine power to overtake promptly
and return to our side of the road. In this last video clip we will be driving
through a tricky residential area, and there will be many parked cars on both sides of
the road to deal with. We will need to check our mirrors for danger every time we need
to change lanes around parked cars on our side of the road, but our change in road position
is an effective signal to other traffic so we don’t need to indicate unless it will
help others. We might need to stop for hazards such as a child running into the road or a
careless driver, so we should keep our car speed fairly slow. We always look as far ahead as possible, and
here we spot the silver car driving towards us. They respect our priority and pull in
a little to let us pass by. Since the bend limits how far we can see ahead we drive carefully
to reduce the chance of being forced to stop suddenly. Another mirror check before steering
through the gap between the cars. We are especially careful here as the parked cars force us to
drive on the other side of the road around the bend. Normally we try to avoid parking
on bends for this reason, but in residential areas this can be hard to avoid. The pillar
of the car will sometimes block our view when turning, so we move our head to get the best
view possible. We see a really tight gap between the parked cars here, so we slow right down
to make sure we don’t scrape either car. As we look ahead here we see the silver car
waiting for us. Even though they have priority they have waited next to a gap for us to use.
If another driver flashes their lights in this situation try not to rush anything as
the lights might not be for us or have been flashed accidentally. This is why we don’t
recommend flashing other drivers unless we are warning them of our presence. Finally we find the end of this road and we
can return to a larger road that will have far less obstructions. So, remember to:
Look as far ahead as possible for obstructions Use the MSM routine on approach
Stop and wait for oncoming traffic if needed Steer smoothly around the obstruction If you found this video interesting then please
click our logo to subscribe to our channel – as it really helps other people find our
videos. If you would like to help support this channel then please click the Patreon
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49 thoughts on “Meeting Oncoming Traffic | Learn to drive: Intermediate skills

  1. fantastic video, really liked the 'drivers eye view' sections, showing what you can see in the mirrors etc is a brilliant idea

    in fact what would be really useful is a video on how to tell if its safe changing lanes – showing this drivers eye view & mirrors to see when its safe & when its not

    thank you for all the videos, they are really helpful

  2. Thanks for watching – if you found this video interesting then please subscribe to our channel and click the bell to be notified of our next video! This video includes:
    * 0:06  Introduction
    * 1:16  Who has the priority?
    * 2:22  How to use the MSM routine
    * 3:54  Wider roads
    * 6:10  Residential areas
    * 8:30  Summary

  3. Hi would you be able to do a video on how to change lanes safely on dual carriageways using side mirrors and interior mirrors how do i know if it is safe gap? Thank you

  4. These roads cause anxiety. My instructor had to stop the car because I tried to squeeze through where there were double parked cars and an oncoming car. I'm normally on two wheels so i would usually get through! I've got to be really careful with this!

  5. Thanks alot! For your wonderful videos, has really changed my driving experience. Continue helping the millions out there.

  6. What if the lanes are small and no areas to turn into and a car is coming your way…. Is reversing back allowed on the test???? And I'm guessing you can't reverse towards the mainroad/junction.

  7. Fantastic video it's very helpful.Can you give a tip at the end of video when should we use indicator when overtaking cars,I'm very confused sometimes about the indicator.Thanks so much

  8. Thanks for this video it's very helpful and can you tell me what gear you need to to be when approaching Road humps please. Also these video are very helpful I struggled with meeting oncoming traffic as I struggle with finding a space to use to let the car pass.

  9. I don't get it! the car was moving on the right hand side and parking cars was on the left hand side so shouldn't the oncoming traffic from the opposite side stop and let the car (us) pass first?

  10. I get really anxious about meeting traffic in narrow road with parked cars in both sides but with just enough space for 2 cars to pass. I slow down,almost stopping while the oncoming car just whizzes past. The car behind me usually beeps. How can I get over this fear?

  11. What is the general reference point to know you are 1 metre away from parked cars on the left hand side?

  12. This video helped me sooo much you dont understand.. i always became hesitant when meeting oncoming vehicles.. as soon as i watched this video and applied it to my driving, It literally clicked! Thank you so much Passed today first time with 6 minors!😀

  13. Hello. If I see parked cars on my side of the road and a approaching car can I continue to drive slowly if there 1 or 2 feet space between me and the approaching car? If yes it means I will cause that car to also slow down and move closer to their kerb which means It will be a fault as I should not force cars who has priority to change their speed or direction. Thanks

  14. (Matt Owens Rees)

    An excellent video

    Interpreting what a driver may mean when he flashes his lights is always problematical.

    As you say, it should only be an indication of one's presence. In the UK it can often be ambiguous: "I'm coming through" or " I'm letting YOU through"

    In Thailand, where I now live it always means "I'm coming through". Obviously, that can't be assumed in other countries. Best to take it as an indication of presence only. It a good feature of driving here though as it's not ambiguous.

    Apart from that, Thai drivers are not that reliable or skilled. 2nd highest road death rate in the world.
    flashing

  15. Your videos are so helpful because here in India the driver is on the right side too but i dont understand hindi. This is by far the best channel I've seen 🙂 thank you

  16. Haha… Entire video i found only one cyclist. In india we found reverse situation. Things can be worse if we find more cycles and motor bikes. So please do interesting videos with full of traffic where pedestrians cycles bikes children etc

  17. Today I passed on my third attempt despite thinking I had failed during the test, I had 11 minors for silly things..

    I thank you for posting such understandable content on your channel, your videos have helped me so much and changed the way I now drive and I will continue to watch.

  18. Can you do a video on when exactly to check mirrors, i know you have done one already but can you do one where you are driving around and do a full guide on what mirrors to check

  19. Awesome video….. clear explanation…do you offer automatic car driving lessons in Ramsgate, Kent? Please let me know.

  20. In reality theres usually like a one car parking space for you to fit into on the left, this is like the theory you do in lesson and in the exam they give you a demonic question

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