Commentary driving

Giving a commentary during your drive, whilst not mandatory for the advanced test, assists you to concentrate more fully on your driving, increasing awareness, assisting you to anticipate hazards earlier, giving you more time to react to the situation. It also enables your tutor (or the examiner) to understand what you are doing, when you are doing it and why you are doing it.
We will encourage you to do so and your tutor will help you become acquainted with commentary driving as it always appears daunting at first.

Suggested commentary for the starting drill
 
“I have carried out a Pre Drive Check and visual examination of the exterior of the vehicle (see “pre drive and roadworthiness checks”…..(Give some detail here, such as tyre pressures and that oil and water have been checked and are correct, and you have refuelled for the journey if appropriate,) and I am now ready to enter the vehicle”
 
On entering the vehicle insert the ignition key.
The following is then stated:
 
“Checking my handbrake for tension”
 
“Now checking my door for security using the pull push method would you now please check your door?”
 
“Checking my seat for accessibility to hand and foot controls, I am also checking my headrest for safety adjustment. Would you please check yours?”
 
“Now depressing the clutch and bringing the gear lever to neutral, and with the clutch still depressed starting the engine. Now slowly releasing the clutch to ensure no break in the linkage.”
 
“Checking instrument panel, I have sufficient fuel for the journey, the water temperature is normal and there are now only two warning lights illuminated, the handbrake and seat belt warning lights. These should be extinguished on securing the seat belt and releasing the handbrake” (this may be modified to suit your particular vehicle)
 
“Selecting minor auxiliaries.”
 
“Checking all three mirrors ensuring I have a good view to the rear and along both sides of the vehicle”
 
“Now carrying out a static brake test. There is pressure in the system.”
 
“Selecting major auxiliaries.”
 
“Ensuring that all windows are closed.”
 
“Now locating, fitting and securing my seat belt, would you please fit your seatbelt? This is released by pressing the red button and giving a sharp tug can check tension. As anticipated the seat belt warning light has gone out”.

“I am now ready to move off".

"Checking all three mirrors, it is safe to select a moving off gear". (Second for downhill).

"Giving a right/left signal". (whichever is necessary and as may be required).
     
"Deep left/right shoulder check. (order dependent on area of most danger).
     
"As my eyes come to the front synchronising the release of the handbrake and clutch and pressing the accelerator to move off smoothly".

"As anticipated the handbrake warning light has gone out”


Suggested Commentary for the moving brake test
 
“My first consideration is to carry out a moving brake test. This is done, by bringing the speed of the vehicle up to 20mph in second gear, and with one firm application of the foot brake, whilst disengaging the clutch but without the use of the handbrake, reduce the speed by 10 mph”
 
“The road is clear to the front, a mirror check reveals it is clear to the rear, stand by for a moving brake test”
 
“BRAKING NOW !!!.”
 
“I can report that the brakes are pulling firmly and evenly on all four road wheels and it is safe to continue with my journey”
 
(Alternatively when it is not safe)
“It is inappropriate to carry out the test due to…. (traffic, parked vehicles, condition of the road, pedestrians etc). I am therefore delaying the test until the first appropriate hazard or on the open road at a speed not in excess of 50 mph”
 

The Drive Commentary

 
At the start of every drive it is advisable to give this short resume. 
However this first section below is optional but very useful, as it encompasses and relates to the aims, and methodology as stated in “Roadcraft”
 
“Today as all days, I will drive my car according to the system of car control, which is a way of approaching and negotiating hazards that is methodical, safe and leaves nothing to chance”.
 
“To do this will require me to apply concentration and alertness in order to drive my car safely, smoothly progressively and well”.
 
“I will formulate my driving plan on three things; what I can see, what I cannot see and what I might reasonably expect to occur”.

“By driving my car to the system of car control, I will at all times observe, plan and anticipate to ensure maximum vehicle stability, in response to all road and traffic conditions”.
 



“Today I am driving a (state vehicle and engine size) with (state the number of passengers) on board. I am driving in (state location) travelling on a (state the type of carriageway examples are two-way undivided, single track, dual), the surface is (wet/ dry), in a (good / poor) state of repair and affords (good / reasonable / poor) tyre adhesion in relation to braking, steering and acceleration”.
 
“Looking outwards I see that it is (state weather conditions), and I (expect / do not expect) the weather conditions to continue during my journey”.
 
“Looking to the front I have (…..preceding or no preceding) vehicles and (…..opposing or, no opposing) vehicles and a mirror check reveals I( have,…. or have no) following vehicles”.
 
“I will check my mirrors frequently so that I am aware of the traffic situation at all times”.
 
“In the far distance I have” (state) or “I have no appreciable far distance”.
 
“In the middle distance, I have” (state from the 9 o'clock through to the 3 o'clock position where 12 o’clock is ahead”).
 
“In the nearer foreground my road is coming back from”…………... 

How the commentary continues is determined by your drive, the road type and the hazards encountered, but will usually include Left turns, Right Turns, Junctions, Pedestrian Crossings, Roundabouts, Traffic Lights, Speed Limit Signs, Pedestrians on footways, Overtaking, Parked vehicles etc. along with any observation links which can be made, and the driving plans formulated in response to all of  these.
Examples of the suggested “system commentary” and actions to be taken on approach to various hazards are contained in the following section.
Guidance and demonstration of these examples and their use will be given by your tutor. 


                            

System Commentary for Common Hazards


It is important to remember that the Information phase is used throughout  “the system” and every time a new hazard is found, phases 2 through 5 (Position, Speed, Gear, Acceleration) should be revisited.
Signals can be given (if there is anyone present or anticipated, who will benefit) at any point within the system, but should always be preceded by a mirror check.
Unless otherwise stated the roads contained are generally undivided two way carriageways or normal streets.
 
 
Junctions and Roundabouts
 
Left Turn from a Main Road with signal (due to other road users)
·         “Mirror, nearside mirror, signalling left”
·         “My position will be nearside/central” (state which) 
·         “Reducing speed by deceleration (and/or) now by braking”
·         “My gear is 2” 
·         “Mirror, nearside mirror” “Applying a light degree of acceleration to negotiate the hazard safely” 
·         “Mirror offside mirror my position is central/safety” (state which)  “Speedometer check”
·          “Firming up acceleration away from the hazard
 
Right Turn from a Main Road with signal (due to other road users) but no oncoming traffic
·         “Mirror, offside mirror, signalling right”
·         “My position will be offside/central” (state which)
·         “Reducing speed by deceleration (and/or) now by braking”
·         “My gear is 2”
·         “Mirror, offside mirror” “Applying a light degree of acceleration to negotiate the hazard safely” 
·         “Mirror offside mirror my position is central/safety” (state which)
·         “Speedometer check”
·          “Firming up acceleration away from the hazard”
 
 
Left Turn onto a Main Road with signal and requiring a stop due to traffic on the main carriageway.
·         “Mirror, nearside mirror, signalling left”
·         “My position will be nearside/central”  (state which)
·         “Reducing speed initially by deceleration and now by braking, bringing the vehicle to a halt”
·         “My gear is 1”
·         “Checking all 3 mirrors” “Applying a light degree of acceleration to negotiate the hazard safely” 
·         “Mirror offside mirror my position is central/safety” (state which)
·         “Speedometer check”
·          “Firming up acceleration away from the hazard”
 
Right Turn onto a Main Road with signal and requiring a stop due to traffic on the main carriageway.
·         “Mirror, offside mirror, signalling right”
·         “My position will be offside/central” (state which)
·         “Reducing speed initially by deceleration and now by braking, bringing the vehicle to a halt”
·         “My gear is 1”
·         “Checking all 3 mirrors” “Applying a light degree of acceleration to negotiate the hazard safely” 
·         “Mirror offside mirror my position is central/safety” (state which)
·         “Speedometer check”
·         “Firming up acceleration away from the hazard”
 
Straight Ahead at a Crossroads requiring a stop (nearside position)
·         “Mirror, nearside mirror”
·         “My position will be nearside/central” (state which)
·         “Reducing speed initially by deceleration and now by braking, bringing the vehicle to a halt”
·         “My gear is 1”
·         “Checking all 3 mirrors” “Applying a light degree of acceleration to negotiate the hazard safely” 
·         “Mirror offside mirror my position is central/safety” (state which)
·         “Speedometer check”
·         “Firming up acceleration away from the hazard”
 
Straight Ahead at a Crossroads, stopping not required (Offside position)
·         “Mirror, offside mirror”
·         “my position will be offside/central” (state which)
·         “Reducing speed initially by deceleration and now by braking,”
·         “My gear is 2”
·         “Mirror, nearside mirror” “Applying a light degree of acceleration to leave the hazard safely” 
·         “Mirror nearside mirror my position is central/safety” (state which)
·         “Speedometer check”
·         “Firming up acceleration away from the hazard”


Left Turn at a Roundabout, other road users present.
·         “Mirror, nearside mirror, signalling left”
·         “My position will be nearside/central” (state which)
·         “Reducing speed initially by deceleration (and/or) now by braking”
·         “Looking for a gap”  I have a gap”
·         “my gear is 2”
·         “Mirror, nearside mirror”
·         “Applying a light degree of acceleration to enter into and clear of  the hazard safely” 
·         “Mirror offside mirror my position is central/safety” (state which)
·         “Speedometer check”
·         “Firming up acceleration away from the hazard”
 
Straight Ahead at a Roundabout, other road users present.
·         “Mirror, nearside mirror”
·         “my position will be nearside/central” (state which) 
·         “Reducing speed initially by deceleration (and/or) now by braking”
·         “Looking for a gap” I have a gap”
·         “my gear is 2”
·         “Mirror, nearside mirror”
·         “Accelerating to the rim of the roundabout”
·         (When passing the exit prior to your exit) “Nearside mirror”, supplementary left turn signal”
·         “Applying a light degree of acceleration to negotiate the hazard safely” 
·         “Mirror offside mirror my position is central/safety” (state which)
·         “Speedometer check”
·         “Firming up acceleration away from the hazard”

Right Turn at a Roundabout, other road users present.
·         “Mirror, offside mirror, signalling right” “my position will be to the offside/central” (state which)
·         “Reducing speed initially by deceleration (and/or) now by braking”
·         “Looking for a gap” I have a gap” “my gear is 2”
·         “Mirror, nearside mirror”
·         “Accelerating to the rim of the roundabout”
·         (When passing the exit prior to your exit) “Nearside mirror”, supplementary left turn signal” (left shoulder check if required)
·         “Applying a light degree of acceleration to negotiate the hazard safely” 
·         “Mirror offside mirror my position is central/safety” (state which)
·         “Speedometer check”
·         “Firming up acceleration away from the hazard”

Left Turn at a Roundabout on a Dual Carriageway, other road users present.
·         “Mirror, nearside mirror, signalling left”
·         “My position is nearside lane/ lane 1”
·         “Reducing speed initially by deceleration (and/or) now by braking”
·         “Looking for a gap” I have a gap”
·         “My gear is 2” “Mirror, nearside mirror” “Applying a light degree of acceleration to enter into and clear of  the hazard safely” 
·         “Mirror offside mirror my position is central/safety” (state which)
·         “Speedometer check”
·         “Firming up acceleration away from the hazard”
 
Straight Ahead at a Roundabout on a Dual Carriageway, no other road users present.
·         “Mirror, nearside mirror”
·         “My position will be nearside lane/lane 1” 
·         “Reducing speed initially by deceleration (and/or) now by braking”
·         “Looking for a gap” I have a gap” “my gear is 2”
·         “Mirror, nearside mirror”
·         “Accelerating to the rim of the roundabout”
·         (When passing the exit prior to your exit) “Nearside mirror, supplementary left turn signal”
·         “Applying a light degree of acceleration to negotiate the hazard safely” 
·         “Mirror offside mirror my position is central/safety” (state which)
·         “Speedometer check”
·         “Firming up acceleration away from the hazard”
 
 
Right Turn at a Roundabout, on a Dual Carriageway, other road users present.
·         “Mirror, offside mirror, signalling right” “my position will be to the offside lane/lane2”
·         “Reducing speed initially by deceleration (and/or) now by braking”
·         “Looking for a gap” I have a gap” “my gear is 2”
·         “Mirror, nearside  mirror”
·         “Accelerating to the hub of the roundabout”
·         (When passing the exit prior to your exit) “Nearside mirror”, supplementary left turn signal” (left shoulder check if required)
·         “Applying a light degree of acceleration to negotiate the hazard safely” 
·         “Mirror offside mirror my position is central/safety” (state which)
·         “Speedometer check”
·         “Firming up acceleration away from the hazard”
 
        
Pedestrian Crossings
 
Zebra Crossing.  no pedestrians
·         “Mirror, nearside mirror” “my position is nearside/safety” (state which)
·         “Scanning the crossing left to right, right to left”
·         “The crossing is clear, it is safe to proceed
 
Zebra Crossing.  Pedestrians near and or approaching.
·         “Mirror, nearside mirror” “my position is nearside/safety” (state which)
·         “Reducing my speed by deceleration”
·         “Scanning the crossing left to right, right to left”
·         “Ready to stop, prepared to go”
·         “The crossing is clear, it is safe to proceed”
 
Zebra Crossing. Pedestrians at or on.
·         “Mirror, nearside mirror” “my position is nearside/safety” (state which)
·         “Reducing my speed and bringing my vehicle to a halt at the stop line/behind the preceding vehicle” (state which)
·         "Pedestrians are clear of / about to clear (state which) the crossing”
·         “My gear is 1” “Checking all three mirrors”
·         “accelerating clear of the hazard”
 
Pedestrian Controlled Crossing.  No pedestrians, lights green.
·         “Mirror, nearside mirror” “my position is nearside/safety” (state which)
·         “Scanning the crossing left to right, right to left”
·         “The crossing is clear, lights at green  it is safe to proceed”
 
Pedestrian Controlled Crossing.  Pedestrians near or approaching, lights green.
·         “Mirror, nearside mirror” “my position is nearside/safety” (state which)
·         “Reducing my speed by deceleration”
·         “Scanning the crossing left to right, right to left”
·         “Ready to stop, prepared to go”
·         “The crossing is still clear, lights at green, it is safe to proceed”
 
Pedestrian Controlled Crossing.  pedestrians near or approaching, lights are red or changing to red.
·         “Mirror, nearside mirror” “my position is nearside/safety” (state which)
·         “ Reducing my speed and bringing my vehicle to a halt at the stop line/behind the preceding vehicle” (state which)
·         “Lights are about to/have changed (state which) and the crossing is clear
·         “My gear is 1,checking all three mirrors and accelerating from the hazard”

 
Corners and Bends on the Open Road 
 
The following guidance should NOT be applied when there are Hazards to the nearside or the offside.
Position should always be sacrificed for safety reasons.

The Following commentaries make reference to the “LIMIT POINT”

Limit Point
This is the furthest point along the road to which you have an uninterrupted view of the road surface.
On a level stretch of road this will be where the right hand side of the road appears to intersect or meet with the left hand side of the road.
As you approach a corner or bend, at first the limit point may seem to be stationary, before appearing to move away at a constant speed and then finally accelerating away.
You should match your speed of approach to the corner, to the limit point movement, providing that you can stop within the distance you can see to be clear.
Whilst cornering you should maintain a constant speed which matches the speed of the limit point, only accelerating when the limit point moves quickly away from you.
If the limit point appears to remain stationary, or indeed moves towards you, then you should reduce your approach speed accordingly.
 
 
Left hand bends. Speed and gear are correct on the approach
·         “Mirror, offside mirror my position will be to offside/central” (state which)
·         “Watching the limit point, the limit point is moving at a constant speed”
·         “My speed is correct, my gear is ….”(state what)
·         Maintaining a constant speed by light throttle application to negotiate the bend/corner”
·         “Mirror, offside mirror, my position is central and accelerating away from the hazard”
 
Left hand bends. Speed and gear are incorrect on the approach
·         “Mirror, offside mirror my position will be to offside/central.” (state which)
·         “Watching the limit point.”
·         “The limit point is not moving/ is moving towards me.” (state which)
·         “Reducing my speed by acceleration sense/braking.” (state which)
·         “The limit point is now moving at a constant speed therefore my speed is now correct.”
·         “Selecting … (state which)...gear.”
·         Maintaining a constant speed by light throttle application to negotiate the bend/corner.”
·         “Mirror, offside mirror, my position is central and accelerating away from the hazard.”

 
Right hand bends. Speed and gear are correct on the approach
·         “Mirror, nearside mirror my position will be to nearside/central.” (state which)
·         “Watching the limit point, the limit point is moving at a constant speed.”
·         “My speed is correct, my gear is ….”(state what)
·         Maintaining a constant speed by light throttle application to negotiate the bend/corner.”
·         “Mirror, offside mirror, my position is central and accelerating away from the hazard”
 
 
 
Right hand bends. Speed and gear are incorrect on the approach
·         “Mirror, nearside mirror my position will be to nearside/central.” (state which)
·         “Watching the limit point.”
·         “The limit point is not moving/ is moving towards me.” (state which)
·         “Reducing speed by acceleration sense/braking.” (state which)
·         “The limit point is now moving at a constant speed therefore my speed is now correct.”
·         “Selecting … (state which) ..gear.”
·         Maintaining a constant speed by light throttle application to negotiate the bend/corner.”
·         “Mirror, offside mirror, my position is central and accelerating away from the hazard.”
 
 
 
 
 
Overtaking
  
Overtaking no hazards present
·         “I have both views along each side of the preceding vehicle”
·         “Mirror, offside mirror, signalling (if necessary)
·         “The Overtake is on for ….. (state number of vehicles)
·         “Applying firm acceleration to complete the overtake safely”
·         “Mirror, nearside mirror, returning to a central/safety position” (state which)
 
 
Overtaking with hazards present
·          “Mirror, offside mirror, moving to the overtaking position”
·         “I have a view along the nearside of the preceding vehicle”
·          “Mirror, offside mirror, signalling right, and moving out for a look.
·         “I have both views, the overtake is on for …..(state number of vehicles)
·         “Applying firm acceleration to complete the overtake safely”
·         “Mirror, nearside mirror, returning to a central/safety position” (state which)
 
    Alternatively
·         “Mirror, offside mirror, moving to the overtaking position”
·         “I have a view along the nearside of the preceding vehicle”
·          “Mirror, offside mirror, signalling right, and moving out for a look.
·         “I have both views, the overtake is NOT on”
·         “Mirror, nearside mirror, returning to a central/safety position” (state which)
·         “Reducing speed by light application of the brakes and falling back to a following position”
 
 
 
Speed Limits
 
Sign with a higher limit than current speed
·          “Mirror, I am/am not (state which) being followed”
·         “Offside mirror, I am not being overtaken”
·         “Firming up on acceleration as my vehicle passes between the signs”
 
Sign with a lower limit than current speed
·         “Mirror, offside mirror my position is central and a speedometer check shows I need tom loose... (State) …..mph.
·         “Losing speed by deceleration/braking (state which) to enter the limit at the correct speed”


 
Approach to nearside hazards

This can include parked cars, driveways and entrances, physical obstructions, pedestrians etc. and should be modified accordingly as to the actions anticipated.

·         “Mirror , offside mirror”,
·         “Moving to an offside safety position to avoid the hazard by early and gradual deviation, which eliminates the need for a signal”
·         “Anticipating…Doors opening/ Vehicles pulling out/ Pedestrians, especially younger children stepping out/running from 
           between   vehicles” (state any or all as applicable)
·         “I have passed the hazard”
·         “Mirror, nearside mirror, returning to central/safety position.”



Suggested Commentary for The Stopping Drill
 
On completion of your journey or if breaking your journey you should complete a stopping drill.
 
“Mirror, nearside mirror, left turn signal (if required), selecting a safe place to pull in and stop, braking gently to a halt, cancelling signal, applying the hand brake, moving the gear lever into neutral feet clear of the pedals”.
 
“Switching off all major and/or minor auxiliaries, switching off the engine, selecting a low parking gear"

"Checking all three mirrors, it is now safe to release and stow away seat belts.".

"Deep left shoulder check, deep right shoulder check (or other way round if parked on the right or in another area where the danger may be from the left) it is safe for me to leave the vehicle".

"However, please check over your shoulder before leaving the vehicle.”

If you are facing downhill ensure that your front wheels are turned kerbwards, or if facing uphill then the wheels should be turned out.
A suitable parking gear is 1st on the level or if you are facing uphill, and reverse if you are facing downhill.