Get it right on roundabouts.

Roundabouts have been in Australia for about 30 years, and their introduction has caused some confusion for many drivers.

Over the years there have been many interpretations of the ‘rules’ on roundabout, and no matter who you talk to there seems to be many variations on the road rules.

Let’s help clear it up:

Indicating on the roundabouts:

Left and right turns a driver must have their indicator on at least 30 – 60 metres before the roundabout to give sufficient warning of their intentions.

Turning left: Indicate to the left before you get to the roundabout and leave your indicator on until you are off the roundabout.

Turning right: Indicate to the right before you get to the roundabout and leave your right indicator on until you get to the exit before your exit, then turn on your left indicator to signal off the roundabout.

Straight ahead: This is the one that doesn’t seem to make sense to drivers, however, there is NO indicator to enter the roundabout, when you get just past the halfway point indicate left to signal you are leaving the roundabout where practical.

U Turn: Proceed the same as a right turn, and change to the left indicator at the exit before your exit.

Who has right of way?

The person already on the roundabout. This does NOT mean a driver can speed into a roundabout to be the first one on. We must approach the roundabout with caution and most importantly – be polite and safe.

Cyclists MUST be treated as a vehicle and have the same right of way as a car. LOOK for cyclists before entering.

To enter the roundabout:

When approaching the roundabout slow your speed in the last 30 metres to approximately 25 km/ hr, this will give you sufficient time to assess the dangers on your right side which is where the imminent danger is.  Once you have sufficient clearance enter the roundabout taking care to assess the left side of any drivers entering in front of you. If a driver does enter by mistake in front of you slow and take caution to avoid a collision. All drivers have the responsibility under the road rules to avoid a collision where possible. Common-sense must prevail, do not risk your life to assert your right of way if someone is entering in a dangerous manner.

More and more we see drivers approach the roundabouts at high speed and not look at their right or left side and go through at a dangerous pace. To make these work all drivers need to understand the road rules and slow down. Be courteous to other drivers and understand that an accident at low speed on a roundabout will cause major injuries and possible death. Our behaviour and attitude to these traffic situations must change to reduce the risk to other road users.

Not indicating on a roundabout incurs a penalty and loss of points. The current fine is $ 173 and 2 demerit points.

But rather than focus on the penalties as drivers let’s focus on keeping everyone safe and alive.

To see an animated video of how to indicate on a roundabout go to

A downloadable brochure is available from the RMS website.

As of 1st August the restricted car list for P1 and P2 drivers has changed allowing more V8, turbo and supercharged cars on the list around 6500 more models are now allowed. Go to the website to check if your car complies
Highlands Drive Safe have worked in collaboration with Red Car Driver Training to present the RMS Safer Drivers Course for learners in the Southern Highlands. The course allows learners aged 16 - 25 years old to complete a 5 hour training session and receive a 20 hour credit in their log books.

To be eligible for this course and credits learners must have a minimum of 50 hours in their logbooks, these are actual hours so any driving instructor hours counted as 3 hours can only be counted as 1 hour in the total.

The course is in two separate modules - Module one covers three hours of safer driver behavior and Module two is a two hour in car session looking at low risk driving strategies.

The course is fun and interactive and costs $140. The course is held every month in Bowral and limited spaces apply. To book call us on 0428844473.

Driving with Asperger’s.

Asperger’s is a condition diagnosed within the autism spectrum and is increasing in prevalence within the community. Asperger’s can often be misunderstood; individuals with Asperger’s have a wide range of symptoms although they share many similar symptoms. The main areas of concern are impaired communication, difficulties with social interaction, restricted and/or repetitive interests or behaviors and often sensory sensitivities.

For a person with Asperger’s driving is a complex, multi task that requires a lot of focus and concentration. Where a person that does not have Asperger’s may cope with multi tasking and are often referred to as multi channeled, a person with Asperger’s finds it difficult to cope with this wide range of tasks and sensory overload.

Once a diagnosis has been confirmed there are many things that can be introduced to help these people learn to drive and to develop management strategies for driving. Areas that need to be developed and introduced are problem solving skills, multi tasking and being able to read the multitude of social cues that we take for granted when driving. For example a driver may flash their high beam at another driver, this could mean a few things to a driver: police ahead, an accident ahead or “please turn your high beams off your blinding me!!”. To a driver with Aspergers it would be difficult to read these cues and they may not realize what the other driver is trying to say to them.

It is important if you are taking lessons to learn how to drive, let the instructor know you have Asperger’s. A trained instructor can incorporate teaching skills to help make the learning process easier and more fun.

Some simple things parents can do to help the training process are:

* Have an exercise book to communicate with your instructor. Problems or issues can be easily and quickly resolved.

* Collect resources, brochures and online support from car dealers, RMS or car magazines, go through them with the driver and teach them all aspects of driving a car.

* Start driving in quiet areas and build up over time, it may take a little longer to build up the skills but a driver with Asperger’s if taught patiently and correctly will follow all the safety rules and road rules consistently.

* Predicting and sequencing skills are often difficult for drivers with Asperger’s and when drivers around them become unpredictable it becomes difficult to ‘read’ the other driver.  Sitting down with road maps and discussing issues within that area help these drivers learn predicting skills.

* Sitting at the side of the road watching traffic and discussing what’s about to happen next , can help them understand the unpredictable nature of drivers and how they can read the cues or body language of other drivers.

People living with Asperger’s are highly intelligent individuals that require a tailor made training plan to help them achieve their goal of being an independent, safe driver.

For more information on Asperger’s see the following web pages.

For information on driver training contact us at Highlands Drive Safe ,

Recently there  has been many questions asked about the new changes to learner conditions and requirements.
As it is at the moment the Roads Minister Duncan Gay announced that as of the 1st July 2013 all learners will be able to travel at 90 km/h in posted areas rather than their current 80km/h limit.
Other changes included the hours learners had to complete if under 25 yrs.

Option 1 : Do 120 hrs including 20 night hours in your log book
Option 2 :  Do 100 hrs including 20 night hours, as well as 10 hrs with a driving instructor and have a total of 30 hrs included in your log book - these are called structured lessons and are written in the back of your log book for accreditation.
Option 3 : Do 80 hrs including 20 night hours and complete 10 lessons equivalent to 30 hrs as well as a one day Safer Driver Course which will give you 20 additional hours.
Option 4 : Do 100 hours in your log book including 20 night and complete the Safer Driving course to have 20 hours added to your log book.

The Safer Driver Course is still being developed and is not yet available, the structured lessons with a driving instructor have been available for more than a year and can be done at any time.

Speed limit and the safer Driver course changes do not come into effect until 1 July 2013.
All four options add up to 120 hours total
Driving 20 hours of actual night hours is required for all NSW learners. These night hours must be logged in your log book in the night column.  Remember a night hour is counted as anytime between sunset and sunrise. If you are unsure check the sunset/sunrise table for your area by searching google. If you attend a night lesson with a driving instructor the actual hour can only be placed in the night column, a driving instructor cannot allocate 3:1 for night hours in the night column. Difficulties when driving at night include dealing with glare from other cars headlights, both in front of you and behind. For learners it can help by starting the night lesson at dusk and gradually progressing into the darkness.
Filling in your NSW logbook - Learner driver Filling in your logbook is an important part of gaining a NSW license. Currently  you are required to complete 120 hours of driving practice on road with a licensed supervisor. It is compulsory that 20 of these hours are  completed at night. A night hour is between sunset and sunrise. These times are well published and are not when you think it is dark. Search your area on google and search for sunset/ sunrise times and the year you would like to search, i.e 2012 Southern highlands sunset sunrise times.
The logbook is a legal contract between you and the RTA. You and your supervisor are declaring that you did complete the required hours, fraud is a serious offense and can incur serious penalties and suspensions from driving.
Always fill the log book in pen, not pencil. Never use liquid paper, show errors with a line through it. Never loose the front cover of the logbook as this is the contract part with your signature and shows ownership of the logbook. Look after your logbook by putting it in a zip lock pouch. Always take digital photos of the pages as you complete them, in case you loose the logbook you will have a record of hours already done.