Speed Management
Speed is the major cause of death and injury in road crashes. Some novice drivers might be cautious and drive slowly. However, as they become more competent and confident, they might drive at speeds at which they cannot stop in time.
An increase in speed reduces the time that a driver has to detect and respond to hazards. Hazard perception includes the process of discovering, recognising and reacting to potentially dangerous driving situations. Novice drivers detect and respond to hazards at a slower rate than do experienced drivers.
There are safety benefits to be achieved if novice drivers – and all drivers – apply low-risk driving strategies, such as:
Making decisions about their speed based on the driving conditions and the posted speed limit.
Driving at a speed that will allow them to react and completely stop within a safe distance.
Always being prepared to stop for pedestrians.
The speed restrictions for L and P-plate drivers allow novice drivers to develop low-risk driving skills and the ability to adjust vehicle speed to suit the traffic and road conditions.
Mobile phone use
The risk of crashing when holding and using a mobile phone increases fourfold, while the risk of a driver being killed is between four and nine times higher than when not using and holding a phone.
It is illegal for Learner and P1 drivers and riders to use any function of a mobile phone when driving or riding. This includes phones in hands-free mode, in a fixed mounting, or with a loud speaker operating. It also includes any other function of a phone, such as GPS, audio, texting or emailing.
Learner and P1 drivers and riders are still developing their vehicle control and hazard perception skills and they need to concentrate on the task of driving, P2 and fully licensed drivers and riders may only use a mobile phone to make or receive a call or to use the audio playing function if:
The mobile phone is secured in a fixed mounting.
The mobile phone does not require the driver/rider to touch the phone in any way.
All other functions – including texting, video messaging, browsing the internet, reading preview messages and emailing – are prohibited.
These rules still apply when stopped at traffic lights. All drivers and riders can only legally hold and use a phone in a parked vehicle.
Driving or riding while using a mobile phone is dangerous because it can distract drivers from the driving task and increase their risk of crashing. It can result in:
Slower reaction times to a hazard on the road ahead. Failing to see hazards altogether.
Poor steering.
Drifting across lanes.
Driving in an erratic or overly slow manner.
Keeping a safe following distance
The distance that it will take you to stop your car depends on the speed at which you are travelling. The faster you go, the longer the stopping distance. For example, you need almost twice the distance to stop from 90 km/h than you do to stop from 60 km/h. This is true even in the best possible driving conditions – on a sealed dry road.
This means that you must increase the following distance between you and the vehicle ahead as you increase speed. If you don't do this, you may crash into the back of the vehicle ahead if it has to stop quickly. This type of crash happens to many Provisional drivers in NSW each year, but there's an easy way to avoid this. It's called the 3-second gap.