Basic driving techniques

The key to good driving technique is smoothness, and the secret to smoothness is good preparation.

Driving posture

When you first get a car take the time to adjust the seat and controls to suit your height and build. Correct driving posture reduces fatigue, improves your control and allows the safety features of the vehicle to operate effectively.


For seatbelts to work effectively they should be adjusted ‘low, flat and firm’.

  • Low – placed below your hips to fully secure your body weight
  • Flat – no twists, turns or folds
  • Firm – about every 15 minutes when you drive pull the belt firm to remove any slack.


Airbags are a supplementary restraining system (SRS) designed to be used in conjunction with seatbelts. To get the most benefit from the driver’s airbag the steering wheel should be adjusted low, facing the driver’s chest rather than the face.

Braking technique

Correct braking is done in two stages, first put light pressure on the brake pedal and pause (set up the brakes), then progressively apply the necessary braking pressure (squeeze).

Two-stage braking (set up and squeeze) improves braking effectiveness, reduces the likelihood of skidding and provides better control.

Harsh or excessive braking pressure may cause skidding and a loss of control, particularly on wet or gravel roads.

Steering technique

There are two main steering techniques, ‘push/pull’ and ‘hand over hand’. Regardless of which method is used some general rules apply:

  • Steering must be smooth and progressive
  • Reduce speed before steering and wait until the vehicle begins to straighten before accelerating
  • When steering keep both hands on the outside of the steering wheel and
    thumbs along the rim.

Electronic driver assist systems

Antilock braking system (ABS)

Antilock braking systems control braking force to prevent the tyres from skidding under heavy braking or when braking in slippery conditions. Some ABS systems cause the brake pedal to pulse or shudder when activated and although this may feel disconcerting, braking effort must be maintained if the situation requires a quick stop.

Traction control systems (TCS)

Traction control systems stop the driving wheels spinning by reducing engine power or temporarily applying the brakes. This allows the car to accelerate smoothly, even on slippery surfaces.

Electronic stability control (ESC)

Electronic stability control detects if a vehicle is not responding correctly to driver steering input. The system selectively applies the brakes to individual wheels or changing engine power, ESC helps the driver to maintain their intended direction.

Emergency brake assist (EBA)

Emergency brake assist detects an emergency brake application. It provides emergency braking assistance and automatically increases the force being applied to the brakes to minimise the stopping distance. It is also known as “Brake Assist System” (BAS).

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