National standard for driving cars and light vans

Role 3: Use the road in accordance with The Highway Code

What you must be able to do and understand to follow The Highway Code.

Unit 3.1: Negotiate the road correctly

There are 4 elements in this unit:


Element 3.1.1: Maintain a suitable position on the road

Performance standards

You must be able to:

  • select and maintain a suitable position on the road
  • change lanes safely and responsibly
  • overtake other road users legally, safely and responsibly

Knowledge and understanding requirements

You must know and understand:

  • how to select a suitable position on the road
  • where you may not drive, for example on the pavement, hard shoulder or in cycle lanes
  • what lane discipline is and why it is important
  • that your position on the road may be affected by a range of factors including weather, road and traffic conditions
  • the importance of:
    • scanning the road ahead for reasons to change your position, such as roadworks
    • taking timely action to reposition yourself
  • how to use a safe and systematic way to change position safely and responsibly in time
  • how the performance and handling of your vehicle will affect your ability to overtake safely and responsibly
  • where you may and may not overtake

Element 3.1.2: Negotiate bends

Performance standards

You must be able to:

  • assess bends correctly on approach
  • select a safe position and speed to enter a bend
  • maintain safe speed and control throughout a bend
  • exit bends safely

Knowledge and understanding requirements

You must know and understand:

  • how to use various methods such as ‘limit point analysis’ to judge the severity of a bend
  • that when deciding on the line to take and the speed at which it is possible to negotiate a bend safely you should take into account factors such as:
    • adverse camber
    • banking
    • uneven or slippery surfaces
    • weather conditions
    • visibility
    • road junctions
    • other road users
    • that different vehicles will perform and handle differently through bends
  • the importance of coordinating the use of gears, accelerator, brakes and steering to negotiate a bend safely and responsibly
  • how the use of a safe and systematic way to negotiate bends safely
  • the effect that loads and passengers may have on the handling of the vehicle through bends

Element 3.1.3: Negotiate all types of junctions, including roundabouts, and all types of crossings

Performance standards

You must be able to:

  • apply a safe and systematic way to negotiate all types of junctions, roundabouts and crossings safely and responsibly
  • actively scan for more vulnerable road users at junctions, roundabouts and crossings ‘ for example cyclists and motorcyclists
  • turn left and right and go ahead safely and responsibly
  • emerge safely and responsibly into streams of traffic
  • cross the path of traffic safely when turning right

Knowledge and understanding requirements

You must know and understand:

  • the rules that apply to particular junctions and roundabouts, such as priority rules
  • how to turn left and right safely and responsibly
  • the issues that apply to turning right at crossroads
  • the rules that apply to:
    • merging into a stream of traffic
    • crossing the path of an approaching stream of traffic
    • all types of pedestrian crossing
    • train and tram crossings
  • the meaning of warning lights used at pedestrian and train and tram crossings and how to respond correctly
  • how the use of a safe, systematic routine, including effective observations, will support the safe negotiation of junctions, roundabouts and crossings
  • the rules that apply to other road users, particularly drivers of large vehicles or vulnerable road users such as cyclists and motorcyclists, and the position that they may select on the road as a result

Element 3.1.4: Drive on motorways and dual carriageways

Performance standards

You must be able to:

  • join a motorway or dual carriageway safely and responsibly from the left or the right
  • leave a motorway or dual carriageway safely and responsibly to the left or the right
  • drive in the most suitable lane
  • allow for other road users joining or leaving the motorway or dual carriageway
  • change lanes safely and responsibly

Knowledge and understanding requirements

You must know and understand:

  • how to join a motorway or dual carriageway, safely and responsibly, from traffic light controlled or uncontrolled slip roads
  • how to leave a motorway or dual carriageway safely and responsibly, including the need to position yourself well in advance to allow other road users enough time to react
  • how to join or leave a motorway or dual carriageway safely in a safe way systematic way
  • that you may not stop on a motorway except in an emergency
  • when and for what purposes you are allowed to use the hard-shoulder
  • that you mustn’t pick up or set down anybody, or walk on a motorway, except in an emergency
  • that you mustn’t cross the central reservation, or drive against the traffic flow on a motorway or dual carriageway, unless directed to do so by an authorised person or traffic signs
  • the rules that apply when using a motorway or dual carriageway
  • that some stretches of motorway may have local, active traffic management (also known as smart motorways or managed motorways) control systems installed, which will change speed limits or the direction of flow in particular lanes, and that it is vital to obey the instructions given by such systems
  • the need to scan well ahead on the approach to junctions to make sure you are aware of:
    • other road users joining or leaving
    • queuing traffic
  • the correct use of hazard warning lights
  • the risks posed by drivers of left-hand-drive vehicles, in particular large goods vehicles

Unit 3.2: Comply with signals, signs and road markings

There is one element in this unit - comply with signals, signs and road markings.


Element 3.2.1: Comply with signals, signs and road markings

Performance standards

You must be able to:

  • respond correctly to all permanent and temporary traffic signals, signs and road markings
  • respond correctly to signals given by authorised persons
  • respond safely and responsibly to signals given by other road users

Knowledge and understanding requirements

You must know and understand:

  • the meaning of, and how to respond to:
    • mandatory traffic signs
    • warning signs
    • road markings
  • how to work out the speed limit when you can’t see speed limit signs
  • the meaning of, and how to respond correctly to, signals given by:
    • police officers
    • crossing patrols
    • others authorised to control traffic
  • who is authorised to control traffic
  • signals that other road users are likely to use and how to respond safely and responsibly to them