Apologies for this article being so long in coming. I have plans to be far more active on this site, i just need to schedule a website day into my diary.
These codes tell the examiner which aspects of the students driving they are to mark at each direction. If the student satisfactorily completes all the criterion listed for that line then they will get a mark in the YES column on the record sheet which we looked at in the last article. If you haven’t already done so you can read the second article here.
If the student doesn’t satisfactorily complete all the criterion then the examiner will record the corresponding letter in the NO column.
If the examiner is unable to assess the criteria for any reason they will record that in the N/A column. This will then be removed from the calculation for the overall mark.
M: This stands for mirrors. This relates to the students use of the mirrors prior to carrying out any manoeuvre, for example turning or slowing down. The centre mirror must be checked, as a minimum, to satisfy this criterion, along with an exterior mirror if appropriate. The mirror must be checked before giving a signal or slowing down, not at the same time or after. The mirror check must be performed no earlier than 5 seconds prior to the signal.
S: This stands for signal. This relates to the student’s use of the change of direction signals. They must be given correctly, at the correct time and not be misleading. This criterion is almost always combined with the mirror criteria so should be carried out in the correct sequence, which is after the mirror check not at the same time or before.
A: This stands for approach. This relates to the student’s approach to a turn or other hazard. Is the speed of approach appropriate for the circumstances? Is the course the student decides to use on the approach appropriate for the situation?
Q: Although this code does not appear on the route directions sheet, it is used on the mark sheet to indicate that one of the above was performed out of sequence, most usually activating the signal before checking the mirror.
P: This stands for position. Is the student waiting to turn in an appropriate position on the road? Is the student driving in the correct position on the road, for example as close to the left as practicable on an unlaned road?
T: This stands for Turn. Did the student turn appropriately at an intersection? Staying in lane for instance or entering on the correct side of the new road. Be careful because cutting a corner or turning wide could lead to an immediate fail for breach of road law, depending on the situation.
O: This stands for observation. Observation does not include use of mirrors as that is marked with its own code. Observation covers things such as performing blind spot checks when diverging or changing lanes, or scanning intersections prior to crossing them.
J: This one is for Judgement. Did the student take safe gaps? Or did they hesitate unnecessarily when emerging? Take care because this one can turn into an immediate fail for failing to give way or obstruction depending on the situation.
The next four codes are used once only per section of the test route (there are three sections to each route)
SPEC: This is for special situations that may occur during the test, for example a child running into the road in front of you. If nothing out of the ordinary happens in that section of the route this is marked in the N/A column, hence is excluded from the final calculation of the score.
MARG: This one is all about your collision avoidance space, both when driving and stationary. Was the student following too closely behind other cars? Again, this can result in immediate fail for driving dangerously if you are too close. Did the student leave adequate space in front when stopping in traffic? Did the student pass too close to parked cars?
PROG: This stands for progress. Did the student make adequate use of the speed limit when safe to do so? If you drive too slowly you will get a fault marked under this category. Again though, be careful, if someone is behind you and you are travelling too slowly and there is no opportunity for them to overtake you then this will become obstruction – an immediate fail item. Too slow is generally taken to mean that if it is safe to be travelling at the speed limit of the road and you are going slower than 5k below the speed limit then you are not making adequate progress.
V.CON: This one is all about your general control of your vehicle. Use of gears, if applicable, vehicle sympathy, kerb strikes (If you mount a kerb that is an immediate fail) and such like.