Lesson 1, Topic 1
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Meeting, Passing and Clearance

In this lesson you will learn about Meeting Passing and Adequate clearance.

When you approach any of these situations, you will use the skills you have already developed.

You will use the M S P S L routine, as you have done in all of the topics in the learn to drive syllabus.


  • Mirrors
  • Signal
  • Position
  • Speed
  • Look 

Meeting means when there is a car approaching you but you there is not enough space for both of you to pass by at the same time. This could be because the road is too narrow or because there is obstructions like parked cars in the road.

Passing means to pass by parked vehicles

Adequate clearance means the gap you need to leave between your car and the vehicles or hazards that you are passing.

I will also cover passing cyclists and horse riders in this lesson.


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Priorities for Meeting

Obstruction on your side of the road = oncoming vehicles have priority

Obstruction on other side of the road = you will have priority

Obstructions on both sides of the road = nobody has priority

You must slow down and try to work out who will go first

YOU MUST be prepared to give up your priority if you’re not sure what the oncoming drivers are doing.


Approaching a Meeting Situation

You must respond to meeting situations in good time.

Use the M S P S L routine

  • Mirrors – check your mirrors well before changing speed or direction
  • Signal – you will not normally signal to go past parked cars. Your road position, speed, brake lights give other road users a signal of your intentions
  • Position – move towards the right of your lane, if it’s safe to do so
  • Speed – approach slowly enough to be safe
  • Look – at the oncoming vehicle to plan when you can proceed

Holdback Position

When you are at any meeting situation your aim is to keep moving.

You should approach at a speed in which you can slow right down, allow the approaching vehicle to pass by, and then drive on again, if possible.

This situation would be called rolling holdback. You are holding back to let the oncoming vehicle pass by but you’re keeping the car moving.

If you can’t keep the car moving, and have to stop your car, you should aim for the holdback position. This is to stop your car to the right of your lane and about 2 car lengths away from the parked vehicle. 

This position:

  • shows other road users what you’re doing
  • makes it easy for you to see down the road
  • makes it easy to steer when you drive away

PLEASE NOTE: If you pull up too close to the parked vehicle, other people behind may think you’ve pulled up and try to pass you.

Before Moving Away

Check your middle and right door mirror. You need to know if anyone is overtaking you beef you move your car out in the road.

Glance towards any junctions and driveways nearby in case anybody decides to emerge and go in front of you


Passing the Parked  Vehicle

As you pass parked cars you should give a one metre clearance if possible.

This is about the width of a car door.

Learning one metre clearance means:

  • you’ll have space if someone opens car door as you’re driving past.
  • you’ll have space if someone steps out from in front of the parked car

If you can’t give one metre clearance then you should drive past slower, (the closer you need to pass the parked vehicle, the slower you should be driving)


Passing parked cars too closely is referred to as ‘shaving’ and will be a fault on your driving test.

To help with judging your position, focus your eyes on the gap between the curb and the parked car! Look at what you want your car to hit!


On roads with parked cars all the way along, you should always be looking ahead for oncoming vehicles, and always be looking for the next gap.

Clearance from Cyclists

You should leave at least 1.5 metres between your car and a cyclist when you drive past.

This should be more if you are driving faster than 30mph or in poor weather.

Cyclists have as much right to be on the road as a car driver. They need plenty of room because they are much more vulnerable. They might:

  • be carrying heavy objects which affects their balance
  • wobble or stop on a steep hill
  • swerve around potholes or puddles
  • be affected by strong winds

Be especially cautious if the cyclist is a child

Clearance from Horse Rider

As a driver you should:

  • look out for horses being led all ridden on the road
  • take extra care and keep your speed down at left hand bands especially on a narrow country road
  • slow down when you see a horse rider on the road
  • never sound your horn or rev your engine.  Horses can be easily scared by noise and may panic around fast moving vehicles
  • look out for signals given by riders that may request you slow down or stop

Always pass horses slowly given them plenty of room


Flashing Lights and Beckoning

You must never flash your lights or beckon any other road user to proceed. You could be beckoning them into danger.

If someone flashes their lights at you, you need to first be sure that they are  talking to you.

Check it’s safe to proceed.

Keep an eye on the driver so you are sure about his/her intentions.

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