When you're out on the road you will always be dealing with traffic in some form or other. During your practical test you will be assessed not only on practical aspects such as use of signals, use of speed and your behaviour when meeting traffic, crossing traffic or overtaking, but also on your anticipation of these situations.

For information regarding traffic in various road layouts, such as roundabouts, see Traffic Management.


Your signals alert to other drivers what your intentions are before you perform any movement with your vehicle. There are certain situations where signaling isn't required (such as at a junction that is a left only), but where there are no consequences for indicating in these situations, it's imperative that you indicate for all other manoeuvres.

How to Practice:

You're wanting to drive in locations where there are short roads with many junctions. Things like housing estates and residential areas. It's also good to practice in shopping centre or retail park car parks. Quiet areas like these, even if there is not anyone around to signal to, let you get in lots of turns and lots of signaling. This will develop your habit and familiarise you with the indicator controls.


Your anticipation of potential hazards and situations ahead, as well as your planning and preparation ahead of these situations puts you, as the driver, in great stead.

This may be the case of spotting a cyclist ahead of you on the road and reacting by observing and moving out closer to the middle of the road, ahead of an overtaking manoeuvre.

This also applies to when your driving instructor or importantly, your examiner asks you to perhaps perform a turn. You see the turn and start to anticipate the situation ahead.

How to Practice:

Driving in residential areas and taking instructions on what turn to take from your passenger and good ways to build in some inpredictability to your drive and allow you to deal with different situations.

Use of Speed

You will be critically assessed on your use of speed during your test. Speed is a critical factor in managing your control of a vehicle, as well as keeping you and other road users safe.

How to Practice:

Take a drive around a route that covers multiple speed limits in quick succession. Quiet streets can go from 20-30MPH, on to wider 40MPH roads perhaps on to 60MPH before dropping back down. Glance at your speedometer to ensure you're sticking within the limits.

Meeting Traffic

How you react to traffic ahead of you is a key demonstration of your observation, anticipation, planning and execution. Meeting traffic tends to boil down to who has priority on the road and whether there is enough room for you to manoeuvre at the same time as other road users, if it's required for you to hang back.

A simple example of this is the previously mentioned cyclist. You've spotted them and are fully aware of the situation, except there is not enough room to safely pass them, as you would need to cross into the other lane and traffic is there. In this case you hang back, behind the cyclist.

How to Practice:

Looking at illustrations online or in apps are good ways to see different road situations and identify where priority and hazards on the road are.

Crossing Traffic

Crossing traffic is where you are stopped at a junction where the traffic in either direction has priority over you and you need to safely judge when it is safe to cross.

How to Practice:

Any crossroads are good places to practice crossing traffic. You want to position yourself where you do not have priority, taking your time to plan and execute the crossing when safe to do so.


Overtaking is a core skill, as situations will arise where you need to pass a slow moving vehicle. The key parts are observing and spotting slow moving vehicles early, as they are a hazard, giving you plenty of time to adjust your speed and position in the road, preparing in advance for an overtaking manoeuvre when it is safe.

Getting stuck behind a slow moving vehicle, especially when there is traffic behind you can be a stressful situation. You may feel like the queue of other road users are frustrated behind you. They may well be, but what's of the utmost importance is that you overtake only when you feel it is safe to do so.

How to Practice:

When your driving instructor thinks you're ready for dual carriageways, this is a great location to practice overtaking. It's common to find vehicles in the left lane driving well below the speed limit, allowing you to assess the situation, making use of your fundamental skills and safety checks like mirrors, signal, manoeuvre, to pass other vehicles confidently and successfully.