Who is responsible for the vehicle?

If your employer provides the vehicle, they must make sure that
it is properly registered, taxed, DOE or NCT tested as well as
insured. They are required to have vehicles serviced according to
the manufacturer’s recommendations.
Your employer will need to advise you when services and
roadworthiness inspections are due and make necessary
arrangements. Regular servicing helps to avoid faults and
unexpected breakdowns. Your employer should advise clearly on
your responsibilities in respect of company provided vehicles.
There should be a clear rule that any vehicle that is, or suspected
to be, in an unsafe or illegal condition will not be used until all
necessary repairs have been completed.

Using your own vehicle
If you are using your own vehicle for work purposes, then you
are responsible for its roadworthiness, motor tax, insurance and
Your employer has a legal duty to verify that your vehicle is safe
and legal when it is being used for work.
It is essential that if you use your own vehicle for work
(excluding commuting), your motor insurance policy includes cover for business use. Make sure you inform your insurers that
you use the vehicle for work, and how you do so. Some
employers set rules (e.g. age limits, safety features) for the type
of vehicle that can be used for work purposes.

Your employer may have rules requiring you to:
 Show documentary evidence that your vehicle has valid
motor tax and valid roadworthiness certificate
 Show documentary evidence, that you are insured to drive
your vehicle for business use
 Show evidence that your vehicle is serviced according to the
manufacturer’s recommendations. Agree to conduct regular
vehicle safety checks
 Not carry loads for which the vehicle is unsuited (a car is not
a van)
 Not carry hazardous materials
 Only carry the number of passengers for whom there are
seat belts
 Not use the vehicle in conditions for which it is not designed
(e.g. off-road)

Pre-drive vehicle checks
As a driver you must consider whether the vehicle is suitable for
the work task, for example:
If carrying passengers, is there a seat belt for each occupant?
 If carrying children, are there appropriate child seats and
child restraints for each child that needs one?
 If carrying a heavy load or an animal, can you secure it safely?
If you find any problem during the check, report it to your
manager immediately.
You need to check both the exterior and interior of the vehicle
before driving. Check the following:
 Tyres. Undamaged (no cuts or bulges), are at the correct
pressure and have enough tread depth all round. The legal
minimum is 1.6mm, but above 3mm gives much shorter
braking distances in the wet
 Vehicle body. No signs of damage or loose vehicle body
panels and that the boot and bonnet are closed properly
 Fluid levels. Oil, coolant and windscreen wash levels are
correct (check when cold)
 Fuel. Know the correct type of fuel for the vehicle [especially
for hire or loan cars]. Make sure the fuel cap closed and
Brakes. Working correctly. Make sure the parking brake is on
properly when parked and before exiting the vehicle at any
 Lights and indicators. Clean, not damaged and working
correctly. Carry spare bulbs in your vehicle
 Windscreen and windows. Clean and not damaged. No items
attached that may restrict driver’s view. Use of screen wash
in winter stops your water freezing. In summer this helps to
remove insects from windscreen
 Washers and wipers. Working correctly. It is recommended to
change wipers regularly. The rubber deteriorates over time
when exposed to the elements. An occasional wipe with
methylated spirits will prevent streaking
 Mirrors. Clean, correctly positioned for your maximum safe
vision and not damaged. No items attached that may restrict
driver’s view
 Documentation. All the legally required documentation is
displayed on the windscreen (i.e. Motor tax, Roadworthiness,
Insurance discs)
 Dashboard. Look at the dashboard when you start the car
and check which lights illuminate. If you are not familiar with
the vehicle, check the handbook to ensure you know what
the different lights mean
 Doors. Make sure that all of the vehicles doors are closed
 Seat position. Adjust driver’s seat to suit you. You should be
able to see and reach all of the controls comfortably. Good
all-round, unobstructed, visibility is vital. Check that your
view is not obstructed by objects such as stickers or electronic
Head restraints. Adjust your head restraint correctly, and
check that every passenger has their head restraint correctly
adjusted. The top of the head restraint should be level with
the top of your head and it should be as close to the back of
your head as possible. This will help to protect against
whiplash, and prevent long-term injuries. Make sure your
head is not resting against the head restraint as it can
encourage drowsiness
 Handbrake or Parking brake. Make sure brake is applied
when you stop or park the vehicle
 Gears. Make sure the gears are in neutral or parked for
automatic vehicles
 Safety Belt. Do up your safety belt and check passengers are
wearing theirs and that any children are properly restrained
 Sat-Nav. Make sure that sat-nav is not placed where it might
be hit and flung forward by an airbag

Vehicle cleanliness
Windscreens/rear windows should be free from clutter to aid
efficient demisting of windscreen and optimal view of the road.
Dashboard and cab area should be kept clean and free of loose
If eating in the vehicle, leftovers, wrappers and containers should
be disposed of immediately in a suitable manner. NEVER EAT
Ensure items that could become lodged under drivers pedals are
safely stowed and cannot fall onto the floor of the driver’s cab.
E.g. bottles and cans.

The life of tyres depends on how the vehicle is driven. Avoid
hitting tyres against kerbs, especially when parking as this may
weaken the tyre and may damage your wheel or wheel tracking.
Excessive speed, braking or acceleration will cause tyres to wear
faster. If tyres are not maintained at the manufacturer’s
recommended pressures, they will wear more quickly. You should
regularly check your tyres and if in any doubt, get them checked
by an authorised tyre dealer.
Check your spare tyre from time to time. Emergency wheels have
a maximum speed and may have a limit on the distance that can
be travelled. If the vehicle does not have a spare wheel, make
yourself familiar with the use of alternative equipment provided.
E.g. air compressor or temporary sealant.
If the vehicle is fitted with run flat tyres, make sure that you
know the limitations on use, such as maximum speed and
distance that can be travelled in the event of a puncture of loss
of pressure.
Safety Equipment
It is recommended good practice that you carry the following
items of safety equipment for use in emergencies or
breakdowns. You need to be prepared to deal with situations
that happen in daylight as well as in poor visibility or at night.
The following items should be kept in a place that is easy and
quick to access in an emergency:
 Warning triangle
 First aid kit [for driver]
 High visibility jacket(s). Keep one for each occupant in the
vehicle cab at all times
Seating position and safety
There is an increasing trend in the numbers of drivers suffering
from back, neck or shoulder problems. These problems can be
made worse by bad driver position in the vehicle, poor posture
and long time spent in a sitting position behind the wheel. To
reduce the risk of such problems occurring and to provide you
with improved neck, and spine protection, the following should
be adopted:
 The lower chest should come forward and up in order to
relax the shoulder blades, back and downwards
 Shoulder blades should be in good contact with the back of
the seat. The lower spine should not push into the back
 As a guide, Hands should generally be in the ‘ten to two’ or
‘quarter to three’ position on the steering wheel [depending
on which is most comfortable]
 The steering wheel should be directly in front of the driver
and the driver should be able to rest their wrist on the top of
the steering wheel without stretching
The driver should be able to reach the pedals and controls
with undue effort
Seat belts
Seat belts must be worn by all passengers and the driver when a
vehicle is being driven. You should adjust the seatbelt to suit you
before driving.
The driver is responsible to make sure that all passengers,
including rear seat passengers, wear a seat belt on every journey,
no matter how short. This applies in vans, as well as cars, and in
larger vehicles if they have seat belts fitted.
Child restraints
For those whose driving for work duties involve carrying children
under 17 years as passengers, particular attention should be paid
to making sure that children are properly and securely restrained
in the vehicle to prevent unnecessary injury. Your employer
should provide the necessary information and training to allow
you make sure that child passengers are carried safely in the
vehicle that you drive.
Seat belts are designed for adults. In a crash, a child may slip out
of their seat belt because it is too big, and an ill-fitting belt could
even cause injuries. So, children need to use appropriate child
restraint for their weight, height and age.

Child restraints

For those whose driving for work duties involve carrying children
under 17 years as passengers, particular attention should be paid
to making sure that children are properly and securely restrained
in the vehicle to prevent unnecessary injury. Your employer
should provide the necessary information and training to allow
you make sure that child passengers are carried safely in the
vehicle that you drive.

Seat belts are designed for adults. In a crash, a child may slip out
of their seat belt because it is too big, and an ill-fitting belt could
even cause injuries. So, children need to use appropriate child
restraint for their weight, height and age.

If you are carrying children ask your employer about child seats
and about training so you know how to check that the right
ones are being used and you are able to fit them correctly. The
safest place for children to travel properly secured, is in the rear
of any vehicle.

In a crash at just 50 Km/h, an unrestrained person is thrown
forward with a force 30 to 60 times their body weight. They are
thrown about inside the vehicle, injuring themselves and quite
possibly seriously injuring (or killing) other occupants. They could
also be ejected from the car through one of the windows
causing serious injury or death.

It is not safe or legal to hold a child on your lap. It is also
dangerous to put a seat belt around yourself and a child [or
around 2 children]. The safest way for children to travel in
vehicles is in a child seat that is suitable for their weight and

Seat belt offences attract penalty points and could result in
disqualification from driving.

Securing Loads
It is illegal and dangerous to drive a vehicle that is overloaded or
has a load that is not secured. As the driver, you are responsible
for ensuring that any load you carry is legal and safe, even if it
was loaded by another person.

Your employer is responsible for providing and developing clear
procedures and safe systems of work to help you to make sure
that loads are secured properly and safe for any vehicle that you
use for work.

If you are not sure how your vehicle should be loaded, talk to
your manager who should be able to clarify for you.
General considerations

 Do not exceed your vehicle’s Maximum authorised mass
(M.A.M). This is the maximum permissible weight the
vehicle is permitted to carry based on the capability of tyres,
suspension, etc. It includes everything in (including its
passengers), and on, your vehicle
 Drive more cautiously as handling and performance will be
affected by the load and stopping distances will be increased
 Make sure all items are secure. Items sliding around or
tipping over whenever you brake/turn will be both irritating
and very distracting
 Keep the dash and front floor space clear. Items that fall off
and roll around could get lodged under the brake pedal
 Keep larger or heavier items low down in the vehicle
 Put the bigger items in first and then pack the smaller
items around the larger items as this will help keep your
centre of gravity lower to minimise the effect on
 Heavy items should be packed tightly and properly
secured to the vehicle body to reduce the risk of them
bursting through in a crash. This makes for better weight
distribution and vehicle handling
 Can you still see?
 Avoid packing items above the back seat line so that you
see clearly out of the back window
 Consider using a roof rack or roof box for lighter or
bulkier stuff to leave more room inside
 Passengers come first
 If you have to fold seats to get a large or awkward load
in the vehicle, come back for your passengers later on.
This is especially important if the load prevents them
from putting their seat belt on
Roof Rack/Roof Boxes
Roof racks are a great way of carrying very large or awkward
items but take care:
If you use a roof rack or roof box, you should:
 Check that the roof rack or roof box is suitable for the
load being carried
 Make sure that it is correctly and securely fitted
 Check your vehicle manual to make sure that the load,
including the weight of the roof rack/roof box itself,
doesn't exceed the maximum permissible weight of the
 Make sure that your load is securely attached and that it
doesn’t stick out creating a danger to other road users.
Especially pedestrians and cyclists!
 Make sure there is a secure fixing, holding the front of a
long load down [e.g. ladders]
 Make sure all fixings and restraints to the rear are well
secured to prevent loads sliding forward under heavy
 Stop, check and re-secure your load regularly.
Fixings and restraints will work loose during a journey
 Make sure to think about the extra height when
approaching bridges and other overhead structures
 Distribute weight safely. If you can, try to put bulky but
lighter items on the roof and heavier items in the vehicle.
This will help keep the centre of gravity down and
improve stability
 Think about how, and where, you can safely load and
unload things in a roof rack
 Think about how the extra weight affects the vehicle’s
handling and stopping distances
 Check whether tyre pressures should be adjusted when
carrying a full load

Towing and Trailers
Only use a trailer if you have the correct licence to do so, and
you have been trained to drive with one. Make sure you know
how to connect the trailer, including the electrical connections.
Ensure that it is not overloaded and that the weight is evenly
distributed and securely covered. Make sure no items are sticking
out. Cars towing trailers are subject to lower speed limits and
should not generally use the overtaking lane on dual
carriageways and motorways.

Vehicle security

There are many simple steps that you as a driver can take to
safeguard your vehicle.
When parked remove the ignition key, engage the steering lock
and apply the parking break before getting out of your vehicle.
To prevent your vehicle being stolen or broken into:
 Never leave your vehicle unattended when you are
warming it up in winter or cooling it down in summer
 Lock the vehicle. Even if only leaving it for a couple of
minutes. E.g. when paying for fuel
 Close all windows fully
 Never leave work documents or equipment or personal
items on view inside the vehicle
 Use attended or secure vehicle parking areas
 Always park in well-lit areas

Key security

Always keep keys safe when not using your vehicle. That
 Out of sight
 In a secure place
 Out of reach of children
 Away from windows and doors
 Not leaving them on a desk in an open office area,
especially where there is public access
 Never displaying the registration number on the key ring
Always take and keep your keys with you when you leave the
driver’s seat. E.g. loading items into rear of vehicle

Electric Vehicles
Electric vehicles are in many ways similar to petrol or diesel
vehicles. However they are so quiet that you can barely hear
the motor run, even at top speed. This may be a danger to
pedestrians, particularly pedestrians crossing the street or in
parking areas as they cannot hear the car coming. If you drive
an electric vehicle you must be constantly aware of this issue
while driving in populated areas.

Drivers also need to be aware that electric vehicles have very
powerful motors to power them. When moving from a
stationary position you need to be very careful because the
vehicle accelerates faster and has more torque than a petrol or
diesel powered vehicle.

Safe Journey

Driver considerations

You should make sure that you are fit to drive. Do not drive if
you feel fatigued, unwell or are under the influence of alcohol
or drugs. You should be well rested before you start out on a
long journey.

Almost all road crashes involve human error, ranging from
simple, ‘honest’ mistakes to deliberate dangerous and illegal
behaviour. Every year many people are killed in crashes in which
someone was ‘careless, reckless or in a hurry.”
Speed is the single biggest contributory factor in vehicle
Collisions often occur when the driver “looked but didn’t see”.
Never be distracted, always concentrate on your driving

Driving is a very personal thing; our attitude as drivers, how we
deal with our own mistakes and our reaction to those made by
other people, will influence our own safety and wellbeing and
that of other road users around us.

Aggressive, selfish or impatient attitudes when we drive can
develop into a tendency to take irresponsible risks, such as:

 Tailgating [driving too close to the vehicle in front]
 Exceeding speed limits
 Jumping red lights
Driver emotional mood can influence behaviour. Drivers
commonly express how they feel in the way they drive. Traffic
delays and congestion can influence our frame of mind. Life
stresses, such as relationship anxieties, financial or employment
problems, domestic or workplace arguments, influence our
mood and can affect our driving.

Give yourself time

Plan your journey to allow time to complete it (including rest
breaks and foreseeable weather and traffic conditions) at safe
speeds and without needing to exceed speed limits.
Your journey time is determined much more by your average
speed during the whole journey than your maximum speed for
part of it. This is especially the case in urban areas, where you
constantly have to slow down for junctions, traffic lights and
other road users. Knowing that you have plenty of time to
complete your journey will help you to relax and avoid the
temptation to push your speed.

There are three key areas to be considered before starting out
on a journey, to make sure that all potential dangers are

Learning to drive an automatic car

Where are the controls that I might have to use in my driving:
Knowing where the controls are, and being able to locate and use them without looking away from the road is important.

Remember in each vehicle these controls could be in different places:
- Washer and wiper, front and back
- Head lights, high and low beam
- Hand brake
- Demisters, front and back
- Horn
- Hazard lights
- Indicators

How to adjust the seat:
When adjusting the seat, your right leg should be able to reach the accelerator and brake pedals comfortable and have a slight bend in it (about 15 degrees). The leg should not be fully extended.
Push your shoulder into the back of the seat, and put your arms out in front of you at the top of the steering wheel, now adjust the back of the seat so your wrists are on top of the steering wheel rim (not your hand or arm but your wrist).
Most cars now can adjust the height of the steering wheel. Move the steering wheel up or down so you can see the speeds clearly.

How to adjust your mirrors:-
The mirrors should be adjusted so when you look into them, you are only moving your eyes not your head.

The center mirror:-
The top of your mirror should run along the top of your back window, you should be able to see the whole back window.

The side mirrors:-
On a flat road, you should see road from the middle of the mirror to the bottom of the mirror, and from the middle of the mirror to the top of the mirror you should see houses, trees, sky etc.
The bottom corner near the door of the mirror you should be able to see the back door handle


In this part of learning you do it until you get it right. You will do lots of driving and hopefully turn action into habits, fix your mistakes. Repetition after repetition, do the same thing hundreds times of the correct repetition. (Sounds like fun doesn’t it).

Learning the basic driving skills

During this stage the focus is on stopping and starting, acceleration and slowing down and steering (this is the frustrating stage of driving).
Get the licensed driver to drive the car to a clear open road. We need a quiet road with few vehicles - a long straight road is perfect, no intersections.

The safe way to get started

Once a quiet road is found pull over to the side of the road, make the car safe (hand brake on, switch off the car). Change seats so the learner is in the driver’s seat and adjust the seat, mirror and steering wheel as demonstrated in that chapter.

What are these pedals on the floor for?
Look down at your feet - you will see two pedals. The pedal on the left is the brake (which stops or slows down the car). That pedal is used by the right leg only. The pedal on the right is the accelerator (which makes the car gather speed, or give it more power) that is also used by the right leg.
Your left leg is for balance only, not to operate any of the pedals. It should be on the floor or on the foot rest if your car has one.

How do I work the gear shift
Different automatic cars have different type of gear panels , but most common is this panel.
P - PARK. This locks the transmission. Use this when stationary. Some cars require
stepping on the brake pedal before you can push into another gear.
R - REVERSE. To make the car go backward.
N - Neutral. No gear. This can be selected when stationary at an intersection / traffic
lights but make sure you have your foot on the brake because in this
position the car can roll forwards or backwards if you are on a slope.
D - Drive. To make the car go forward.
1 - First Gear. The car is locked in 1st gear. Used for when you need high rev driving.
In sand, mud, going up or down steep hills. Bad weather conditions.
2 - Second Gear . The car will move between 1st and 2nd gear. Used for when you need
more power. E.G. Use when over taking a car. Bad weather conditions
like snow.
Starting the car.
Make sure you follow this procedure or else the car will more likely take off without warning. “We don’t want any mishaps yet because at this stage we are doing well”.
- Make sure the gear shift is in “P”
- Make sure the hand brake is fully on.
- Foot on the brake pedal.
- Turn the ignition key clockwise.
- As soon as the engine revs up let the key go. (The key will spring back in to position.)
Congratulations! you have now started the car.
Make sure the gear shift is still in “P” and hand brake is on; relax for a minute or two. The car should be idling along (there is no hurry).

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