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Topic 12 - Safety Margins

This multiple choice section will clarify what safety margins are which is essential when driving on the road in harsh weather conditions

What are Safety margins?

The twelfth topic from the multiple-choice section of the theory test is safety margins. This topic is all about how certain road and weather conditions can affect stopping distances and your ability to handle your vehicle—looking closely at what actions you need to take to make sure you maintain a safe distance (or safety margin) between you and the vehicle in front of you.

Stopping Distances

The following provided stopping times have been calculated correctly and are imperative to understand whilst driving especially in harsh weather conditions (hover your cursor over each box for the answer)

Sunny Weather

In sunny/dry weather conditions how big of a gap do you need between yourself and the vehicle in front?

A 2 second gap.

A two second gap is required between you and the vehicle infront in these weather conditions. By keeping a minimum of a two second time gap in front of your vehicle (double in poor weather) you will create space in which to react to any emergency that happens ahead.

Rainy weather

In wet conditions how big of a gap do you need between yourself and the vehicle in front?

A 4 second gap.

A four second gap is required between you and the vehicle infront in these weather conditions. By keeping a minimum of a four second time gap in front of your vehicle you will create space in which to react to any emergency that happens ahead.

Snow/Icy weather

In Icy conditions on the road how big of a gap do you need between yourself and the vehicle in front?

A 20 second gap.

A twenty second gap is required between you and the vehicle infront in these weather conditions. By keeping a minimum of a 20 second time gap in front of your vehicle you will create space in which to react to any emergency that happens ahead.

Important Terms

Aqua Planing

When roads are wet, your car can aquaplane. This means the tyres have lifted off the surface of the road and are skating on the surface water. If your steering suddenly becomes noticeably light, while driving on a wet road, this is a sign that you are aquaplaning. To correct it ease off the accelerator and allow the tyres to regain grip.

Contraflow Systems

A contraflow system is to prevent traffic in peak travel times, to allow everyone to move on, rather than stand still traffic. When entering a contraflow, you must:
Reduce speed in good time, choose a suitable lane in good time, and keep a safe distance from the vehicle in front of you.

Anti-lock Brakes (ABS)

Antilock_Braking_System.svg

Anti-lock brakes prevent wheels from locking which means tyres are less likely to skid. Vehicles are still able to be steered whilst under braking when anti-lock brakes come into effect. When a road surface is wet or loose, ie. Gravel, the ABS may not work as well. In event of an emergency, apply brakes as soon as possible and firmly to ensure a quick stop.

Driving in different conditions.