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The Hazard Perception Test

Crash patterns of provisional drivers

Four most common crash types for provisional drivers

The majority of all South Australian provisional driver crashes fall within only four crash types:

  • colliding with the rear of another vehicle.
    Rear end collision diagram
  • colliding at right angles.
    Collision diagram while driving across traffic
  • collisions where at least one vehicle is turning right.
    Collision diagram while turning across oncoming traffic
  • running off the road and hitting an object, such as a tree, a pole or a parked vehicle.
    Collision diagram, leaving road and colliding with a tree

Where and when these crashes happen

Most of these crashes occur in daylight in fine weather and on dry roads. They are also more common in built up areas in 60km/hour speed zones.

Comparison with full licence holders

When compared with more experienced full licence holders, provisional drivers have more crashes:

  • on local roads in 60km/h speed zones
  • in darkness, and
  • where their vehicle leaves the road on straight sections or curves and collides with roadside objects such as trees or fences.

Provisional drivers are also more likely to be the driver responsible for the crash.

Why are high numbers of provisional licence holders involved in crashes?

The high number of provisional licence holders involved in crashes seems to be partly due to inexperience because driving is a new skill. When we are new at anything (eg playing tennis or netball) we tend to make mistakes and not be as skilful as those with lots of experience.

However, new drivers also sometimes do things that can increase their risk of crash involvement. These include:

  • travelling too closely behind other vehicles
  • driving too fast for the conditions
  • not looking far enough ahead when driving
  • choosing gaps that are too small when making turns, crossing intersections or overtaking.

Avoiding crashes

It is important to know what driving situations are most dangerous for you. You can then identify the skills you need to practise so you can handle these situations safely. Research shows that one of the most important of these skills is good hazard perception.



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