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How to perform an emergency stop during your driving test

Did you know? The emergency stop occurs in one in three driving tests. Here’s what you need to know to perform one during your practical driving exam.

The process for an emergency stop

Your examiner will instruct you to stop in various locations during your driving test and whenever you’re asked to stop, it should be done in a safe place. Don’t worry, your instructor won’t try to catch you out by asking you to stop somewhere illegally, but will assess your ability to judge what a safe place to stop is.

When performing stop routines, the examiner may ask you to perform an emergency stop and they will indicate to you that they want you to complete the emergency stop manoeuvre.

The examiner will explain the hand signal they will give at the moment they want you to perform an emergency stop, which is usually the right hand raised and pressed onto the windscreen as they say ‘Stop.’

Do I use my mirrors?

The emergency stop is the only occasion in the test that does not require you to use your mirrors. The responsibility for checking the road prior to the manoeuvre being performed lies with your examiner who will have assessed that the road is clear. An examiner will not instruct you to stop should there be a risk of danger to you or other road users.

What next?

When instructed to stop, move your right foot from the accelerator to the brake pedal, smoothly. Apply pressure firmly and judge the correct amount of pressure so that the brakes are on the verge of locking. Maintain this level of pressure on the brake pedal and as the car begins to slow, steadily release the brake.

When braking, be sure to keep two hands on the steering wheel and keep the car in a straight line, remaining alert to any sign of your wheels locking up. Should you go into a skid, ease the pressure on the brake pedal, without removing your foot completely and once you’ve corrected yourself, reapply pressure to the brake.

Everything within you will compel you to apply the clutch at the moment of braking. However, you should avoid applying the clutch until the moment just prior to you stopping. Why? This way you get more braking from the engine.

Once your vehicle has come to a complete standstill and while pressure is still applied to the brake and clutch, engage the handbrake, then put the car in neutral. Upon completing the manoeuvre, your examiner will ask you to continue onwards.

Don’t forget, normal road conditions now apply, so use the mirror-signal-manoeuvre system because you are likely to have come to a stop in the middle of a road. Therefore, make sure you look over your right and left shoulders before moving off.

There you have it, the complete process for performing an emergency stop.

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