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Adequate Clearance – What is it?

Your Driving Licence Is Waiting For You

Don’t forget MSPSL

You need good anticipation skills for the manoeuvres that follow. Always follow the MSPSL routine:

Mirror – Signal – Position – Speed – Look
with the ‘Look’ element broken down into its LADA constituents:
Look – Assess – Decide – Act


Clearance to the sides

Keep a metre away from parked cars. A metre is roughly the width of an open car door. It’s also enough space to give yourself reaction time if someone steps out from between parked cars.

Narrow roads
If the road is too narrow for you to spare a full metre, slow down. As a rough guide, cut your speed by 10mph for every third of a metre that you lose in clearance.

  • ? of a metre clearance (roughly 65cm): slow to 20mph
  • ? of a metre clearance (roughly 35cm): slow to 10mph

Never go closer than one-third of a metre because you’re likely to clip wing mirrors.


Clearance to the back

Don’t speed up

If the car behind is too close (known as ‘tailgating’), don’t speed up to increase the distance between you. Remember that adequate clearance means creating a protective bubble to front and sides as well as the back. If another car is compromising your bubble from behind, you can compensate by gently slowing down to increase the clearance to the front.

By giving yourself more room in front, you give yourself more space for braking, which helps prevent multiple car pile-ups.


Clearance to the back

When you stop behind other vehicles in traffic (at traffic lights or a junction, for example), always leave adequate clearance between you and the car in front. You should be able to see the point where the tyres of the vehicle in front touch the tarmac.

  • If the vehicle in front breaks down, you’ll still have enough room to get your car out.
  • If an emergency vehicle needs to get past, you’ll have room to let it through.
  • If the vehicle in front rolls back, you’ll have given its driver more time to react.