Driver qualification handbook


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The amazing book of driving
This is the manual of driving
please go through if u are a driver

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Driver qualification handbook

  1. 1. Driver qualificationhandbook
  2. 2. Part 1: Background information 1 Introduction 4 Special needs/Language options 11 The Driver Qualification Test (DQT) 4 When to take the DQT 11 Why the DQT? 5 Taking the DQT 12 Use this handbook to help you 6 Interacting with the DQT computer 12 Audio/sound option 13 Crash patterns for provisional and The sound button 13 full licence holders in NSW 7 What you will see after the Five most common crash types for welcome screen 13 new full licence holders 7 The test instructions for Part 1 14 Comparison with provisional drivers and Practice questions for Part 1 15 more experienced full licence holders 9 The real Part 1 15 Avoiding crashes 11 Test instructions for Part 2 16 Key points summary 11 Practice questions for Part 2 18 The real Part 2 18 How the Driver Qualification The results and feedback screen 19 Test works 11 If you fail the DQT 19 Where to take the DQT 11 Cheating 19 Part 2: Understanding and managing driving risk2 Risk in life in general Understanding and managing your driving risk Driver crash risk by age, 20 20 Causes of crashes and acceptance of mistakes Drivers are people and people make mistakes 28 29 experience and gender 20 Key points summary 30 Helping you understand and manage driving risk 21 Motivation and driving behaviour 30 Key points summary 22 Key points summary 32 Consequences of road crashes 23 Risk taking and driving 32 Key points summary 24 Risk and sensation seeking 32 Risk taking, sensation seeking Risk management - Who you are and driving 33 as a driver and a person 25 High risk driving behaviour 34 Confidence and overconfidence 25 Aggressive driving behaviour 34 How good a driver do you think Key points summary 35 you are? 26 Key points summary 27 Driver qualification handbook 1
  3. 3. Alcohol and driving 36 Managing risk in the driving2 Key points summary 39 environment 49 Night driving 50 Other drugs and driving 40 Coping with adverse driving Key points summary 42 conditions 50 Key points summary 51 Fatigue and driving 42 Effects and signs of fatigue 42 Expectancies and the unexpected: Fatigue and crashes 43 Revision 52 Fatigue and ‘sleep debt’ 44 Coping with the unexpected 53 Reducing the risk of Key points summary 53 fatigue-related crashes 44 Key points summary 45 Looking out for yourself and others 54 Driving distractions and crash risk 46 Vulnerable road users 54 Sources of distractions that Pedestrians 54 lead to crashes 46 Cyclists 55 Passengers and crash risk 46 Motorcyclists 56 Driving to distraction 47 Heavy vehicles 57 Reducing distractions means Reducing risk around trucks and buses 57 reducing crash risk 48 Key points summary 58 Key points summary 48 Part 3: Hazard perception3 Revision of hazard perception skills Further development of hazard perception and related skills 59 60 when driving The narrowing view from the driver’s seat Speeding and crash severity Speeding and the risk of crashing 63 63 65 66 Cross-referencing to DQT website 60 Reducing the risk of Key points summary 60 speed-related crashes 67 Keeping a safe distance from Key points summary 67 other vehicles: Revision 61 Keeping a safe following distance: The ‘space cushion’ concept 61 Revision 69 Maintaining a ‘space cushion’ The ‘three-second rule’ – revision 69 to the front 61 Key points summary 70 Controlling your speed: Revision and some new information 62 Problems with speed 62 How speed influences what you see
  4. 4. Keeping a safe distance to the Selecting safe gaps 1 side and rear: Revision 71 when overtaking: Revision 78 A ‘space cushion’ to the left and right 71 Key points summary 79 Travelling next to other vehicles 71 Keeping a safe distance to the rear 72 Scanning for hazards: Revision 80 Key points summary 72 What is scanning? 80 How to scan for hazards when driving 80 Selecting safe gaps: Revision 73 Revision of a scanning routine 81 What is a safe gap? 73 Summary of scanning routine 82 Importance of safe gap selection 73 Smart scanning 82 Key points summary 74 Look for change 82 A hazard perception action plan 83 Selecting safe gaps when turning: Listening for hazards 83 Revision 74 Key points summary 84 Turning right at traffic lights 75 Turning right at a cross intersection 75 A few last words on becoming Making U-turns 76 a better and safer driver 84 Key points summary 76 Summary of key hazard perception and risk management skills 84 Selecting safe gaps when crossing intersections: Revision 77 Key points summary 77 Index 864 Glossary 895 Source of data and statistics used in DQT handbook 92 Driver qualification handbook 3
  5. 5. 1 Part 1 Background Information The Driver Qualification Driver Knowledge Test Test (DQT) The DQT is a touch-screen, computer-based test which assesses: Learner licence Max 80km/h Your knowledge of safe driving practices. our ability to recognise and respond to Y potentially dangerous situations and react Driving Test appropriately. The DQT is one test made up of two parts: art 1 tests advanced safe driving P Provisional (P1) licence Max 90km/h knowledge (the Knowledge Test or KT). Part 2 tests advanced hazard perception skills (the Hazard Perception Test or HP). Hazard Perception Test It’s a bit like a test made up of an advanced version of the Driver Knowledge Test (DKT) that you passed to get a learner licence and Provisional (P2) licence the Hazard Perception Test (HPT) that you Max 100km/h passed to get a P2 licence. However, the DQT is harder and more Driver Qualification Test complex than the DKT or the HPT. For example, the DQT knowledge test questions have four, not three answer alternatives and Full licence the questions will be more difficult (especially Maximum 110km/h if you haven’t learned the material in this handbook). The hazard perception questions are longer and may require multiple responses. As the diagram shows, the DQT is the last4 Driver qualification handbook
  6. 6. 1part of the licensing scheme for new drivers. situations that lead to the five most commonYou must pass the DQT to progress from a crash types for new full licence holders inP2 to a full NSW licence. Information on the NSW. More information on these crash typeslicensing scheme for drivers can be found in may be found in the section entitled, ‘Crashthe RTA booklet called, Getting your driver patterns for provisional and full licence holderslicence and on the RTA website (www.rta. in NSW’ (see page 7). Research shows Copies are available free from hazard perception skills are important forRTA registries across NSW. safe driving and that drivers with poor hazard perception skills usually have more crashes.A summary of how the DQT works and Research also shows that screen-based hazardwhat to expect when you take the test can perception tests can detect drivers with abe found in the section entitled, ‘How the higher risk of crash involvement. TheDQT works’ on page 11. You can also visit the introduction of the DQT aims to help reduceDQT website ( for the high number of young and inexperienceda more interactive explanation. drivers involved in crashes in NSW by:Why the DQT? Encouraging P2 drivers to develop and refine their hazard perception skills.The aim of the DQT is to confirm that P2drivers have sufficient safe driving knowledge esting P2 drivers on driving situations that Tand hazard perception skills to graduate to are known to lead to the most commonthe less restricted, full NSW driver licence. types of crashes involving new drivers inPart 1 of the DQT (advanced safe driving NSW.knowledge) is based on information from Only allowing P2 drivers with adequate safe road safety research about lowering crash driving knowledge and hazard perceptionrisk, particularly for drivers with only a few skills to graduate to a full NSW licence.years driving experience. It will test yourknowledge of all the information contained inthis handbook. Part 2 of the DQT (advancedhazard perception) is based on the driving Driver qualification handbook 5
  7. 7. 1 Use this handbook to help you Because it takes time and practice to become a low-risk, competent driver with sound hazard perception skills, you should be improving from the day you graduate to a P2 licence. Use this book (and the companion DQT website at to become a safer driver and to help you obtain your full licence. Part 1 of this handbook (and DQT website) NSW road rules and information on safe driving. provides background about the Driver Remember that all the material presented Qualification Test. in the Driver qualification handbook can be Part 2 helps you develop knowledge about safe tested in Part 1 of the DQT. Sources of data driving and how you can reduce your risk of and statistics used in graphs and pictures are crashing. Part 3 helps you revise and refine your listed at the end of the handbook (after the hazard perception skills. glossary). There is also an index at the back of the In each graph or picture there is a number handbook to help you find specific topics which corresponds to the source list at the end and a glossary to explain unfamiliar words. of the book [e.g. Source(1)]. If you feel you need some extra revision, revisit the Hazard perception handbook and website to help you prepare for the DQT (www.r The Road Users Handbook may also be worth looking at again as it contains6 Driver qualification handbook
  8. 8. 1Crash patterns for 4 per cent involve the driver’s vehicle 3provisional and full licence colliding with the rear of another vehicle travelling in the same direction.holders in NSWMost crashes in NSW happen on sealed roads,in fine weather and in daylight. They are alsomost common in 60 km/h speed zone (about55 per cent of all crashes) and are most likelyto occur Monday to Friday between 9 am and3 pm (about 23 per cent). However, crashpatterns for provisional and full licence drivers Source(1)are different. Patterns for full licence holdersin their first year and those who have beendriving for longer (on a full licence) are alsodifferent. This section gives you an idea of 7 per cent involve colliding with other 1what the main differences are. vehicles from adjacent directions (from the side), usually at intersections.Five most common crash types for newFULL licence holdersAbout 90 per cent of all crashes in NSWinvolving full licence drivers in their first yearfall within only five crash types: Source(1) Driver qualification handbook 7
  9. 9. 1 per cent involve collisions with vehicles 16 10 per cent involve running off the from opposing directions. road on a curve or bend and hitting an object or parked vehicle. Source(1) Source(1) per cent involve running off the road 11 on a straight section and hitting an object The following ‘pie chart’ summarises the main or parked vehicle. crash types for new full licence holders. All other crash types outside of these account for only about 12 per cent of all new full licence holder crashes. Source(1)8 Driver qualification handbook
  10. 10. 1Full licence holders in their first year Provisional drivers Note: These percentages do not add to 100 percent due to rounding.Comparison with provisional drivers andmore experienced full licence holdersWhen compared with provisional drivers, full Researchers think that these differences arelicence drivers have more crashes in their first year due to novice drivers getting better at stayingwhere they run into the back of another vehicle on the road but also getting into the habitand fewer crashes where they run off the road. of driving too close behind other vehicles in Driver qualification handbook 9
  11. 11. 1 traffic. This bad habit seems to continue for Experienced full licence holders full licence holders. As you can see from the The percentages of crashes involving vehicles next graph, full licence drivers with more than from adjacent and opposing directions are five years’ experience have even more rear end much the same regardless of age and driving crashes. However, they are much less likely to experience (between 33 per cent and run off the road and hit an object. 36 per cent). This means that turning, crossingNote: intersections and overtaking remain a challengeThese percentages for all drivers. While drivers get better atdo not add to staying on the road with age and experience,100 percent due they continue to do things that increase theirto rounding. risk of being involved in a crash. The main risks seem to be: Travelling too closely behind other vehicles. Driving too fast for the conditions. Not looking far enough ahead when driving. Failing to choose large enough gaps when making turns, crossing intersections or overtaking. Of course, alcohol and fatigue are also major contributors to crashes in NSW. 10 Driver qualification handbook
  12. 12. 1Avoiding crashes website (www.r for aIf you know the types of crashes and situations more interactive introduction to the DQT.that increase risk for new full licence drivers Where to take the DQTyou can develop skills to help avoid them. Thishandbook will help. The DQT is available at RTA registries and other testing locations across NSW. CheckKey points summary: Crash types with your nearest registry, visit the RTA ith increasing experience drivers have W website ( or telephone fewer single vehicle, run-off the road crashes 13 22 13 for details. but more rear-end crashes. A fee is charged each time you sit the DQT. Experienced drivers may travel too close behind other vehicles and travel too fast for Applicants with special needs / language the conditions. options You can take the test in English, Arabic, Chinese (Mandarin), Croatian, Greek, Korean,How the Driver Serbian, Spanish, Turkish or Vietnamese.Qualification Test works Should you require an interpreter for languagesThe DQT is a two-part, touch-screen other than these or have a special need, youcomputer-based test which assesses: can discuss this and make arrangements with the Motor Registry Manager when you book your Your knowledge of safe driving practices. test, by calling 13 22 13. Your ability to recognise and respond to potentially dangerous situations and react When to take the DQT appropriately. You can attempt the DQT when you haveThis section of the handbook explains how accumulated at least 24 months experiencethe test works and what to expect when you on your P2 licence. However you should onlytake it. You should also visit the companion attempt the DQT when you feel ready. Driver qualification handbook 11
  13. 13. 1 Ready means that you have accumulated At some testing agencies, and in some regional sufficient driving experience, have read or remote areas, you may take the DQT on this handbook thoroughly (and possibly a portable or laptop computer. In these v i s i t e d t h e companion website at situations the DQT is exactly the same. and applied the information to your driving. Interacting with the DQT computer Remember, a fee will be charged each time All interaction with the DQT computer is via you attempt the test, so make sure you don’t the touch screen. waste your money. The first screen that you will see is the ‘Welcome screen’ which looks like this. When Taking the DQT you have read the information on the screen You need to make a booking to take the DQT you just touch the screen to move on to the by calling the RTA on 13 22 13 or going to next screen. a registry or testing agency in your area. You can also make a DQT booking on the internet ( When you go to an RTA registry or testing agency to take the DQT your licence details will be checked. Your eligibility to sit for the test will also be checked. Once these checks have been made and everything is in order, you will be assigned to a test kiosk to take the test. A typical kiosk is shown in the picture. It is simply a special desk with a touch-screen computer.12 Driver qualification handbook
  14. 14. 1The structure of the test is: eneral information about the DQT. GPART 1 - DQT (Knowledge Test) nstructions. I Three practice questions with feedback. test questions. 15PART 2 - DQT (Hazard perception) sound button Instructions. Two practice questions with feedback. test questions. 10 The sound button Overall scoring and feedback (including There is a sound button at the bottom left feedback on performance in Parts 1 and 2). of the screen marked with a speaker symbol.These parts of the test are explained below. This button turns the sound on or off during the test. You can use it at any time if youAudio/sound option have arranged to use headphones. WhenYou can read the test instructions on the the sound button is on, you will hear thescreen and you can also have the instructions information written on the to you via the computer’s audio system. What you will see after the welcomeIf you want to listen to the instructions, you screenneed to advise the registry officer at thecounter before the test and you will be After the welcome screen, the computer willgiven a set of headphones. You simply need take you through an introductory section thatto plug in the headphones to the base of the tells you about the test. This is followed by thecomputer monitor. After the test, you must test instructions for Part 1 of the DQT on safereturn the headphones to the registry officer. driving knowledge. You will also be given three practice DQT questions before the actual test Driver qualification handbook 13
  15. 15. 1 starts. This will help you become familiar with you think is most correct. The answer you select the test and how it operates. If you wish, you will then turn green. An example is shown in the can skip the introductory section and practice picture. To change your answer, just touch any of questions and go straight to the test. the other three answer options. When you are sure about your answer, touch the OK button at the bottom right-hand corner of the screen. This submits your answer to the computer and moves you on to the next question until Part 1 is completed. At each question in Part 1 (except the last) you can either: Answer the question. kip the question by selecting the Skip S The test instructions for Part 1 Question button (Please note: skipped The test instructions explain that Part 1 of the questions must still be answered, but will be DQT is made up of 15 multiple-choice test presented to you again when you have finished questions. The structure of Part 1 is: all other questions in Part 1of the test). Instructions. Three practice questions. test questions. 15 screen to take you to Part 2. A There are three types of questions. All the items have text (words). Some also include a picture. SKIP QUESTION And others have an animation (a picture that moves). Each question has four possible answers. For each question, you must touch the answer14 Driver qualification handbook
  16. 16. 1Practice questions for Part 1To help you do Part 1 of the DQT you will beshown three practice questions: One with text only. One with text and a picture. One with text and an animation. They work just like real test questions exceptthat after you touch the OK button, a tick willappear next to your answer if you selectedthe correct answer or a red cross if youranswer was wrong. Examples of the ticks andcrosses are shown at right.If your answer was correct, touch the NextQuestion button to continue. If your answerwas wrong you will be asked to try again.To try again, touch the answer you think iscorrect then touch OK. If you do not wish totry again, touch the Next Question buttonto continue.Once you have completed the three practice The real Part 1questions, you will need to touch the Start Once you progress to the actual questionsTest button which will appear on the screen. in Part 1, you will be presented with 15 test questions. These are randomly selected from a large pool of questions. Remember, you can answer a question or skip it and you can change your answer before you touch the OK button. Driver qualification handbook 15
  17. 17. 1 There is no feedback after each test question. The structure of Part 2 is: When one question has finished the test will Instructions. go on to the next, until all 15 questions have Two practice questions. been completed. en test questions. T At the end you will see a message telling you eedback screen which gives you your results F that you have completed Part 1 as shown in for Part 1 and Part 2 and advice on how to the picture. improve your performance. You will need to touch the screen to continue You will be shown 10 film clips of real traffic to Part 2 of the DQT. situations shot from the driver’s seat. You will see what the driver would see and are asked what you would do in each situation. The film clips will be presented to you on the screen one by one. At the beginning of each film clip you will be told about the traffic situation and will be asked a simple question. You will then be shown some film of this traffic scene. You will need to touch the screen to start the film clip. To help you understand the situation, the film clip will begin as a still shot for three seconds Test instructions for Part 2 before it starts to run. Part 2 of the DQT consists of 10 advanced In the example below, the text on the screen hazard perception (HP) questions. They are (and the voice on the optional audio support) similar to the questions on the HPT that you might say: completed when you got your P2 licence, but “You are stopped on a two-way street are longer and may require you to respond to in a 60 km/h-speed zone. You wish to more than one hazard. turn right. Touch the screen on every occasion that you would go.”16 Driver qualification handbook
  18. 18. 1In each film clip the dashboard shows the To respond to each Part 2 (HP) questionspeed at which you are travelling and also you will need to touch the screen wheneverwhether or not the indicators are operating. you think a response is required (eg slowing down, crossing/not crossing an intersection).There is also a sound button in the bottom left Unlike the Hazard Perception Test (whichof the screen which turns the sound off or on you passed some time ago), you may needduring the test. You can use it at any time if you to touch the screen more than once duringhave arranged to use headphones. When it is each film clip.on, you will hear the words which are writtenon the screen. However, you only need to touch the screen once for each hazard that you see. For example, if there are three hazards in a particular question you’d need to touch the screen 3 times – once for each hazard. Similarly, in a question when you are standing at an intersection waiting to turn right, you need to touch the screen only once for each safe gap that you would go. Further information and examples on how to respond to hazard perception questions are available on the RTATypical scene from the DQT website ( If you think that you cannot or should not takeYou cannot skip any question in Part 2 of any action as it would be unsafe, or if you don’tthe test. think you need to take any particular action toYou will only be allowed to see Part 2 (HP) stay safe, you should not touch the screen.items once and will not be able to change Just like when you are driving on a real road,your response to any item. This is just like you may be shown situations where it wouldreal driving where you only get one chance to be unsafe to take an action such as turning orrespond to a driving situation and must deal overtaking or where there is no need to takewith it when it occurs. any particular action such as slowing down. Driver qualification handbook 17
  19. 19. 1 Therefore, you need to be able to decide After each film clip in Part 2 of the test you when you can or should take an action, when will need to touch the Next Question it would be safer to do nothing and when no button to move on to the next item. action is required to stay safe. Practice questions for Part 2 Remember, in some traffic situations (film To help you tackle the real questions in Part clips), the correct response is NOT to touch 2, you will be shown two practice questions. the screen at all, while in others the correct They work just like the real test questions response is to touch the screen once or more except that after each one you get feedback than once where appropriate. about your response and the chance to repeat it. You will be told if your response was good, could have been better or was unsafe. Unsafe means that you would have crashed in real life. If your response was unsafe or needs improvement, you will be given the chance to repeat the question. Remember, there are no repeats or skips in the real Part 2 of the test so make sure you use the practice questions effectively. If you touch the screen you will hear a ‘dong’ Once you have completed the practice sound and the picture will flash briefly. However, questions, you will be asked to touch the the film clip will continue to run (it will NOT screen to start the real test items. slow down or stop when you touch the screen) The real Part 2 and you must look out for more hazards and Once you progress to the actual Part 2 (HP), opportunities to take the same action. you will be presented with 10 test questions. If you do not touch the screen, the clip will These are randomly selected from a large continue to play and you will not hear any pool of questions. You will only be allowed ‘dong’ sound or see the screen flash. to see each one once and will not be able to change your response to any question.18 Driver qualification handbook
  20. 20. 1There is no feedback after each test question. agency staff. This may help you prepare toWhen one question has finished the test will resit the test.progress to the next one until all 10 have been If you fail the DQTcompleted. If you fail the DQT, you may resit the testThe results and feedback screen anytime from the next working day. However,When all 10 questions in Part 2 have been remember that a fee will be charged eachcompleted, a screen will appear advising you time you attempt the test. It is suggested thatthat you have finished the test and to call you prepare carefully before resitting. Usea supervisor. The supervisor will then bring this handbook and the DQT website to helpup the result screen which will tell you if you. You should pay special attention to theyou passed or not. You will not receive an areas mentioned on the results and feedbackindividual score for the test. screens. You may also need to get more on- road practice before attempting the test again.If you pass, you will also get feedback on Don’t be in a hurry. Make sure you are readyareas that should be improved (eg selecting before taking the test gaps when turning at intersections). Youwill also be directed to the sections of this Cheatinghandbook (and the companion website) that It should be noted that you must not bemay help you improve your skills. assisted during the DQT. The DQT is a testIf you fail, you will get specific feedback on for individual drivers to see if they are goodareas that need to be improved before re- enough to graduate to a full NSW licence.taking the DQT (eg selecting safe following All instances of cheating or attempts todistance when travelling behind other cheat will be treated seriously. Penalties,vehicles). You will also be directed to the including prosecution, may be imposed onsections of this handbook (and the companion those who accept help or provide help towebsite) that will help you to improve your DQT candidates during the test. At the veryskills. A print-out of your results and feedback least, you will not be allowed to resit the testscreen can be obtained from the registry or for six weeks. Driver qualification handbook 19
  21. 21. Part 2 Understanding 2 and managing driving risk Risk in life in general Understanding and managing your driving risk Almost everything people do in life carries some risk. Going to work, school or playing While some risks are beyond our control, sport all involve some risk. there are others that we can do something about. Knowing the risks you face when you Driving a car is one of the riskiest things that use the roads can help reduce the chances that people do on an everyday basis. The graph you will be killed or injured. This knowledge shows that the risk of being killed in a car is may even help reduce the risk for other greater than being killed in a plane crash or a people, including your friends and family. fire, or being eaten by a shark. Yet people are probably more worried about swimming at For example, the chart on the next page shows, the beach than driving their car. it is much safer to travel by bus or train than by car. So you do have some options to make your travel safer. Source(2) But many people, however, prefer to drive a car to work, to the shops, or to almost anywhere. While it may be more risky than taking the bus or train, it is often faster and more convenient. Driver crash risk by age, experience and gender As a P2 driver about to seek a full licence, the risks you face are a lot lower than when you first started out with a P1 licence. You have survived the most dangerous period – the first six months of solo driving. But there is still a long way to go and a lot more to learn.20 Driver qualification handbook
  22. 22. 2 Fatalities per passenger distance The graph on the next page shows the travelled number of car occupants killed in NSW by relative to car occupant age, gender and experience. Although youSource(3) are moving down the risk curve towards the bottom, you are not there yet. Male drivers are at greater risk than females. This is partly because they drive up to twice as many kilometres in a year than females, but also because males are often more willing to take risks when they drive. This leads to more males being killed or injured – a sobering thought if you are a man. But women still get killed and are injured as drivers. Helping you understand and manage driving risk The information in Part 2 of this handbook is about helping you lower your risk as a driver. It will help you understand the risks you face, why drivers do some of the things they do and what can be done to lower the risk of crashing. You have a responsibility to yourself and other road users to become a low risk driver. Driver qualification handbook 21
  23. 23. 2 Key points summary: Understanding risk Source(2) Almost all activities in life carry some risk of death or injury. Driving a car is one of the riskiest things people do everyday. Male drivers generally have a higher risk than female drivers as males drive more and may take more risks. Younger, less experienced drivers carry more risk than older more experienced ones. rivers can manage their risk. D Source(1)22 Driver qualification handbook
  24. 24. 2The consequences These are big numbers and perhaps hard toof road crashes get your mind around, but here is the bottom line – in terms of the human cost, the big-ticketAlmost every day the news media carry stories items are not the cost of picking you up off theand pictures about road crashes, deaths and road and taking you to hospital (or arranginginjuries. But most drivers don’t think too much your funeral). As the graph shows, most costsabout the risks and the injury costs of driving a relate to the cost of long-term care for you orvehicle when they get into the driver’s seat. the other injured people (24 per cent).Now that you’ve been driving for about threeyears and know a bit more about it, you mightlike to reflect on the adverse consequences of Source(4)being involved in a crash for you, your family,your friends and the broader community. Theeffects of road crashes continue long after theTV news stories are gone.Road crashes in Australia cost the community– including you – a lot of money every year.For example, the average cost of: fatal crash is about $1.7 million. A serious injury crash (requiring hospital A treatment) is $408,000. minor injury crash is $14,000. A property damage only crash is worth A about $6,000. Driver qualification handbook 23
  25. 25. 2 Loss of quality of life – not being able to do the things you want to do or could do before the crash – is the next biggest cost at 21 per cent. Add to that the cost of lost ability to work (and earn money) and you start to see how the effects of a crash ripple out into your life and the lives of others. Funeral costs are relatively cheap in comparison to the costs of being permanently disabled Key points summary: Consequences of and not being able to work, play sport or road crashes take care of yourself. Research shows that a oad crashes cost the community a lot of R lot of young drivers are more worried about money. being maimed, disfigured or disabled rather than dying. Most crash victims don’t die – only about 1 in 50 in NSW – but many live with the For all crashes reported to the police, only physical and mental consequences for the about one in every 50 involves a fatality in rest of their lives. NSW. While some of those injured will make Most costs goes to the long term care of a full recovery, many will never be the same injured people (24 per cent). again – physically or mentally. Road crashes cost a lot more than just money and affect Loss of quality of life is the next biggest more than just the person who is killed or cost at 21 per cent. injured. Perhaps we all need to think about this when we get behind the wheel of a vehicle.24 Driver qualification handbook
  26. 26. 2Risk management -Who you are as a driverand a personWhat you do determines the risk you carry asa driver. For example, speeding and runningred lights increase your crash risk – and the riskof being booked by the police! As driving is aself-paced task, you can determine a lot of your confident that you can handle life today, nextown risk level by what you do (and don’t do). week and next year. When you do risky orSome driving risk results from: exciting things like skiing or bungee jumping, you like to feel confident that everything will Who you are. be OK. What you think. But with driving, confidence can work against How you look at the world. you. Research shows that while most driversThe rest comes from external sources (eg are pretty confident about their skill, theroad conditions, weather and the actions orinaction of other road users).This section looks at some of the factors thatmay determine risk for you and other drivers.You can use this information to help manageyour risk as a driver.Confidence and overconfidenceMost of us like to be confident about ourskills and abilities regardless of what we do.If you get sick you are usually confident thatyou’ll get better. Most of the time you are Driver qualification handbook 25
  27. 27. 2 most confident drivers are usually the least But did you know that your risk of getting experienced. This can lead to overconfidence booked by the police is much, much greater? and a feeling that you might be a better driver In NSW, the risk of being booked and issued than you really are. with a ticket for a traffic offence is more than 2000 times greater than being killed in a crash. Overconfidence contributes to many crashes So if you drive in an unsafe manner, you might for drivers in their first five years of driving. It not crash, you might not get killed or injured, makes you underestimate the risk of negative but you are likely to get booked. outcomes (eg being involved in a crash, getting caught for speeding or being killed or injured in How good a driver do you think a road crash). Overconfidence is boosted every you are? time you drive over the speed limit and don’t get caught. This makes it hard to counteract. Research shows that most male drivers rate You may feel that you can ‘handle it’ and that themselves as better than other drivers of the you are a better driver than other people. same age and experience. Young male drivers tend to rate themselves as pretty good. This Because crashes are quite rare for individual helps boost overconfidence and results in drivers, you start to think that it won’t happen more male drivers, particularly those under 25 to you. Most of the time you will be right. Only years old, being involved in crashes. about one in 20 provisional drivers and about one in 50 NSW full licence drivers are involved in an injury crash reported to police each year.26 Driver qualification handbook
  28. 28. 2Women, on the other hand, are more likelyto rate themselves as no better than otherdrivers and even to admit that others may bebetter than they are. Experts think that thishelps reduce overconfidence and may helpreduce crash involvement for female drivers.Key points summary: Risk Management Confidence is OK, but overconfidence can make you believe that you are a better driver than you really are. Source(5) Over confidence makes you underestimate the risk of negative outcomes such as crashes or being injured or killed. Male drivers are more likely to rate themselves as better than others – this may encourage over confidence and crash risk. The risk of getting booked for a traffic offence is more than 2000 times greater than being killed in a crash. Source(5) Driver qualification handbook 27
  29. 29. 2 Causes of crashes and acceptance of mistakes Most people don’t like to admit that they are wrong or that they make mistakes. Maybe this is why many drivers involved in crashes don’t want to admit that they might have done the wrong thing. Research shows that drivers tend to attribute driver ran into a motorcyclist. The text below all or most of the blame for a crash to the the picture quotes what the driver said to the other driver, the road, the weather, but little police about the crash. As you can see the to themselves. For example, the picture below driver blamed the motorcyclist even though it shows a sketch of an actual road crash where a wasn’t the rider’s fault. And when people make insurance claims after crashes, they generally avoid taking the blame. The experts call this ‘external attribution’ – where you attribute blame or the reason that things happen to things outside of yourself. As you might have guessed, ‘internal attribution’ is when you assign blame or the reason Source(6) that things happen to yourself. The healthiest situation is where you can recognise the things “Due to the damage to my car I think that are due to you and what you do and it was going quite fast. I reckon he the things that aren’t. Research suggests that could have missed me anyway, if he’s an people who can honestly recognise what is experienced rider.” their fault and what is others’ are safer drivers. – Driver of the blue car. It’s tough to accept that some things are down to you.28 Driver qualification handbook
  30. 30. 2Drivers are people and people make Causes of crashesmistakesThe truth is that all drivers make mistakes – Note: Thesefortunately, not all at the same time. It is a part of percentages do notbeing human. No one can do anything perfectly add to 100 percentall the time. Even champion basketball players due to rounding.don’t score goals all the time and professionalgolfers sometimes miss an easy putt.Most crashes are due to human error. Peoplemake mistakes when they drive. Mistakes likefailing to see another car at an intersectionor changing lanes without looking. You could Source(7)probably make a long list of errors that otherdrivers make. Most of the time your vehicledoesn’t develop a fault and crash by itself.When all the causes of road crashes areconsidered, you get a pie chart like the one onthe right. The biggest chunk relates to humanerror on its own and if you add all the sectionswith human involvement together, you get tomore than 90 per cent.Crash research shows that all drivers, evenyou, can and will make mistakes. It is estimatedthat drivers make a mistake that: Driver qualification handbook 29
  31. 31. 2 Could lead to a crash about every three Motivation and kilometres. driving behaviour Leads to a near crash about every 800 You have probably noticed that your kilometres. motivation to do things such as going out Leads to a crash about every 980,000 with friends is different to your motivation for kilometres. cleaning the house. You are probably more Understanding that you can and will make interested in enjoyable things that make you mistakes as a driver is important. This can feel good or those that give you a feeling of help you to recognise that driving can be risky achievement. without having to take deliberate risks. Motivation varies depending on your mood It can also allow you to take action to minimise and how important or attractive something is your risk as a driver and protect yourself and to you. You might be motivated to do things others from crashes and their consequences. by the ‘rush’ or thrill you get from extreme sports, by making money, by saving time or Key points summary: Causes of crashes even from love. What motivates you may not and acceptance of mistakes be of any interest to someone else and may any drivers involved in crashes don’t want M not be the same all the time. to admit that they might have done the Motivation also affects how you drive. Have wrong thing. you noticed that you are more likely to speed External attribution’ is where you blame ‘ and perhaps take a few risks when you are other things or other people for what running late for an important appointment? happens. But you probably wouldn’t drive the same Internal attribution’ is when you accept ‘ way if you were out for a leisurely drive on blame or the reason that things happen to the weekend. yourself. he best situation is where you can accept T the things that are down to you.30 Driver qualification handbook
  32. 32. 2 You may also know people who are motivated to drive fast and take deliberate risks to get a thrill or a buzz or just to relieve boredom. Research shows that they are involved in more crashes than other drivers. They are also more likely to get booked by the police. It is tragic if one driver’s motivation for a few thrills leads to death or injury to themselves or someone else. This issue of risk taking is covered in more detail in the next section of the handbook.Research shows that drivers who feel pressuredby time or deadlines are more likely to speed For most people, driving is mainly aboutand take risks. Even people who normally drive getting from A to B. Most people are notcarefully may do things that are dangerous. primarily motivated by safety when they drive.They will even justify this to themselves and They just want to get somewhere as quickly asothers as OK or necessary – even to the possible. But equally, no one wants to die, getpolice when caught for speeding. hurt or get booked in the process.Young male drivers are more likely than You can either be a slave to your motivationwomen to let their emotions dictate how when you drive or try to understand it andthey drive. For example, they are more take control to minimise risk for yourself andlikely to jump in the car and drive around other road users. It is not easy, but realisingwhen emotionally upset. They do this to ‘let that your motivation may affect how safelyoff steam’. But they are also more likely to you drive is an important first step.speed and drive erratically or aggressively inthe process. You may know someone whodoes this. Driver qualification handbook 31
  33. 33. 2 Key points summary: Motivation and Risk taking and driving driving otivation varies across people and across M Risk and sensation seeking tasks – this applies to driving too. As discussed earlier in this handbook (see Drivers who feel pressured by time or section, ‘Risk in life in general’), risk is a part of deadlines are more likely to speed and take life. Some risks you can avoid and others you risks to get from A to B quickly – Even can only minimise. people who normally drive more carefully We all vary in the amount of risk that we are may do things that are dangerous. willing to accept and in what we see as risky. oung male drivers are more likely than Y Some people believe that there is enough women to let their emotions dictate how risk in the world without going looking for they drive. more. Others have a need for the thrills and Some people are motivated to drive fast sensations that come from taking risks. What and take deliberate risks to get a thrill or a about you? Are you someone who needs a bit buzz or just relieve boredom. Their crash of risk, sensation and daring in your life? risk is much higher than other drivers’ and Here is a chance to get a bit of an idea about they are more likely to get booked by the the sort of risk taker you are. Go to the DQT police. Driving is motivated mainly by the desire to get from A to B as quickly as possible, but no one wants to die, get hurt or get booked in the process. You need to recognise that motivation affects how you drive.32 Driver qualification handbook
  34. 34. 2website ( then tothe link entitled ‘Sensation Seeking Scale’ (SSS).Take the short SSS quiz and look at your score.If you do it honestly, this will give you an ideaof how much of a need for thrills and risk youhave as a person. You might like to get yourfriends, and even your parents, to try it and Drivers with higher SSS scores are more likelycompare scores. If you are younger and male, to be male and seem to be more willing to takeyou’ll probably get a higher score than females risks when driving and may get into trouble asand perhaps higher than older men. Men under a result. While the SSS is only a guide, it does26 years generally have the highest scores. give an indication of which drivers may present greater risks to themselves and others whenRisk taking, sensation seeking and they drive. So, how was your score on thedriving SSS? Are you more likely or less likely to takeBut what does this mean for driving? Well, risks when you drive?research shows that high scores on the SSS Even if you got a higher SSS score, all is not(ie the need for thrills and sensation) are lost. It gives you the opportunity for a bitassociated with greater risk taking when driving of self-awareness – you may be more likelyand higher risk of crashing or getting booked to speed or do other risky things when youfor unsafe driving (eg speeding). Relative to drive. This knowledge also gives you thethose with low SSS scores, those with high opportunity to channel a need for thrills intoscores were more likely to: other activities rather than driving on the road Drive aggressively. (eg skydiving, bungee jumping etc). It also Exceed speed limits. allows you the opportunity to adopt a lower Not wear seat belts. risk approach to driving on the road. Drink and drive. This is all part of managing your risk in life and Believe that they were less likely to get caught when you drive. Risk taking may be OK in by police. extreme sports and adventure-based activities, Driver qualification handbook 33
  35. 35. 2 but not on the road. As noted in the section Running red lights is another high risk behaviour ‘Understanding and managing your driving that some drivers engage in. It may seem to risk’ (page 20), everyday driving is at enough risk save them a few precious seconds, but also without the need to add to it. greatly increases the risk of a collision with another vehicle, pedestrians or cyclists. If you High risk driving behaviour find that you are regularly driving through red One of the most common risky driving lights there is something wrong with the way behaviours is exceeding the speed limit. How you drive. It is only a matter of time before risky this can be for you and other road users such behaviour leads to being booked, or is discussed in more detail in Part 3 of the worse, being involved in a crash that will be handbook (see section entitled ‘Controlling your fault. your speed’ on page 62). All drivers share the road with other road Other risky behaviours include ‘tailgating’ – users. It is irresponsible to take risks that driving too close to the vehicle in front. Some increase the chances of killing or injuring other drivers do this because they just don’t know that people. If you want to take risks don’t do it they are too close while others do it to annoy or on the road. There are lots of other ways to threaten other drivers. Either way, it is illegal and get a buzz. greatly increases the chances of a crash. Remember, NSW law is tough on people who drive in a negligent or careless manner which causes injury or death. Negligent driving could see you jailed for up to 18 months and dangerous driving for between seven and ten years. It is just not worth it. Aggressive driving behaviour Some people drive aggressively because they Car running want to take risks or because they are a red light aggressive people. There is an old saying34 Driver qualification handbook
  36. 36. 2 driving, you should report it to the police. There is no room for aggression and violence on the road. Driving is hazardous enough without adding more risk. If you stop and think about it, we all make mistakes as drivers. On occasion, you mightthat ‘people drive as they live’. If someone is see yourself as the victim of someone else’saggressive in life in general, they are likely to bad driving behaviour and want to react to it,be aggressive on the road. but it could be the reverse on another day.However, some otherwise calm and sensible This is worth remembering.people sometimes become aggressive to getback at another driver whom they think has Key points summary: Risk takingwronged them in some way (eg cut them and drivingoff in traffic). This behaviour is often called People vary in their willingness or need ‘road rage’, but it is really just retaliation by to takes risks in life and when they driver for what they see as another’s Drivers with high sensation seeking scale provocation. Some drivers get wound up and (SSS) scores are mostly male and may befrustrated by life’s everyday pressures and more willing to take risks when driving andstresses and traffic congestion doesn’t help. be at greater crash risk.It may be understandable, but it is not Risk taking may be OK in other activities but acceptable as it puts you and others at risk. not when driving on the road.If you threaten other people, don’t be surprised isk taking on the road is irresponsible. Rto find the police on your doorstep. Assaultand threatening behaviour are offences in drivers make mistakes at some time, AllNSW. It is no defence that you threatened most of them unintentional.or assaulted someone for something theyallegedly did in traffic. Equally, if someonethreatens or assaults you when you are Driver qualification handbook 35
  37. 37. 2 Aggressive driving, including retaliating to (BAC), more than half of those killed have a the bad driving of others, is dangerous and BAC of 0.15 or more – three times the legal increases the chance of a crash – it may also limit of 0.05 for full licence holders. get you into trouble with the police. As a P2 driver you are restricted to a BAC Negligent driving causing injury or death limit of zero. When you graduate to a full carries a jail term of up to 18 months. NSW licence your allowable BAC limit will Dangerous driving causing injury or death increase to 0.05. If you are on a zero limit you carries a jail term of up to 10 years. cannot drink any alcohol when you drive. But on a 0.05 BAC limit, you may be able to drink Alcohol and driving some alcohol and still stay below the legal Alcohol is still a major contributor to road limit. This might increase the temptation to crashes in NSW. Alcohol is a contributing factor drink alcohol, then drive. in about 18 per cent of fatal accidents and 6 Staying below 0.05 is hard as not everyone per cent of those causing injury. For drivers takes the same number of alcoholic drinks with a positive blood alcohol concentration to reach this limit. The chart on the following page shows that your BAC is influenced by whether you are male or female, your body weight and how much alcohol you drink in a given amount of time. Other factors such as your general health and how quickly your body breaks down alcohol will also affect your BAC. For example, if you are not in good health or your liver function is poor, your BAC may be higher than shown. A more extensive BAC by body weight and gender table can be found on the DQT website ( Driver qualification handbook
  38. 38. 2Women and people of both sexes who don’tweigh a lot get to higher BACs faster. Thisis because they have less blood volume todilute the alcohol and a lesser capacity to Source(9)break it down in the same amount of time assomeone who is male or heavier.It is very hard for an individual driver to knowexactly how much they could drink and stillstay under the legal limit. For this reason Source(10)the best advice for P and full licencedrivers is not to drink if you are going todrive and not to drive if you have beendrinking.Research shows that most P drivers do notsuddenly start drinking and driving when theymove to a full licence. They may still drinkalcohol, but continue to separate drinking anddriving. This is sensible as even at a BAC of0.05 the risk of crashing is about twice that atzero BAC. The graph at right shows just howmuch the risk of crashing risk goes up as yourBAC goes up. It is no wonder that peoplewith high BACs are more involved in crashes affected drivers are also more likely to exceedand that more of them die. speed limits and to disobey – or not even noticeAlcohol reduces your ability to concentrate – traffic signs and signals. They also have difficultyand to look for and respond to hazards when keeping their vehicle on the road, particularly if itdriving. It also slows your reflexes when is dark and the road is not need to take action such as braking. Alcohol- Driver qualification handbook 37
  39. 39. 2 As with other risk factors, males are more Source(11) likely to drink and drive and more likely to be involved in alcohol-related crashes. This is clear in the graph on the left. Males are at much greater risk, probably because they drink more and are more likely to drive after drinking. This is important information for males as it gives them the opportunity to limit what they drink and not drive after drinking. Knowing about the risk helps you manage it. But women shouldn’t be too smug either. A lot of women drink and drive in NSW and too many are involved in crashes that lead to death or injury. Most crashes involving alcohol happen in Source(8) what the experts call ‘high alcohol hours’ – mostly weeknights (particularly Thursday, Friday and Saturday nights) and weekends. During these hours about 30 per cent of fatal accidents are alcohol-related. Outside of these hours (known as ‘low alcohol hours’) less than 10 per cent of fatal crashes are alcohol-related. So, it is more dangerous to drive on Friday and Saturday nights as other drivers are more likely to be affected by alcohol.38 Driver qualification handbook