Street Survival - Advanced Defensive Driving

Lane (Positioning)

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When it comes to lanes, look at the practical points below to make the best choice on which lane to choose in a given scenario, and then, once in that lane, how to select the best positioning within that lane.

💡 Tips:

Defensive Positioning Lane

Multiple Lane Choice

  • Generally speaking, drive in the slow lane. Use the fast lane only for overtaking before moving back to the slow lane.

  • Try not to travel in the middle lane/s as you then have to keep track of vehicles from lanes on either side.

  • When approaching an intersection, select the lane that is furthest from the center of the intersection. This gives you more time to respond to oncoming vehicles turning across the intersection.

  • If there is a very slow congested lane of traffic, choose a lane that is furthest from that lane as inevitably there will be someone pulling out from that lane.


  • Wherever there is a merging lane, choose a lane that is not adjacent to that merging lane, but at least one lane separated from the merging lane.

  • Travel at a speed that is at least equal to or faster than the vehicles in the lane to be merged with.

  • If merging from the shoulder of the road, it is best to first build up speed on the shoulder so that you are traveling at same speed or faster than the vehicles in the lane that you are wanting to merge with BEFORE you merge.


  • It is best not to travel at the same speed alongside another vehicle in the adjacent lane, especially if you are slightly behind that vehicle in the blind spot. Make sure your vehicles don't overlap.

  • When a vehicle comes up close behind yours before changing lane, move to the side of your lane in order to make it easier for the driver behind to pass you and also minimizes the chance that the back corner of your vehicle will be clipped.

  • If you are traveling in the lane next to the fast lane, drive slightly to side of your lane further away from the fast lane.

  • If you see something on the side of the road, move slightly to the side of the lane furthest from that object.

  • Keep an eye out for any cyclists or motorcyclists that are lane splitting and ensure that you are positioned in the lane to allow more space for them to pass.

  • When traveling down your lane next to a row of parked vehicles, move to the side of your lane furthest from the parked vehicles, just in case a vehicle pulls out from the parking space or a pedestrian emerges from between the cars.

  • In a single lane intersection, move to the side of the lane furthest from the center of the intersection.

  • Try not to get wedged in-between other vehicles, especially heavy vehicles, either on the sides or in the front and back as this will limit your escape routes.

  • It is safest to travel in the slow lane as you have an escape route on the shoulder of the road where there is less likely to be traffic. However, do not assume that this will be the case, always still be aware of what is happening behind you, even on the shoulder side of the road.

Front and Back

  • When arriving at an intersection do not stop:

  •       Too far from the intersection, which will make it more                difficult to see what is happening in the intersection.

  •       Too close to the intersection which will leave you                          vulnerable should a vehicle be diverted in the intersection        due to an accident or swerving to avoid one.

  • Do not stop beyond the line:

  •       This will expose you to impact from the side.

  •       Will irritate pedestrians if you block their path.

💡 How to ensure I stay in my lane while driving?

Staying within your lane is crucial for safe driving and maintaining smooth traffic flow. Here are some tips to help ensure you stay in your lane while driving:

  • Properly Adjust Side Mirrors: Ensure your side mirrors are properly adjusted to cover blind spots. This helps you monitor adjacent lanes and maintain awareness of your vehicle's position.

  • Stay Centered in Your Seat: Position yourself in the center of your seat. This will give you a better perspective on the road, helping you judge the distance between your car and the lane markings.

  • Use Reference Points on the Car: Identify reference points on your vehicle, such as the center of the hood or the side mirrors. Use these points to gauge your position within the lane.

  • Keep an Eye on Lane Markings: Pay close attention to lane markings on the road. Regularly check that your vehicle is aligned with the center of the lane, especially in curves or on roads with varying lane widths.

  • Use the Center of the Hood: Keep the center of your hood aligned with the center of the lane. This visual reference can help you stay centered within the lane.

  • Avoid Distractions: Minimize distractions while driving. Stay focused on the road, and avoid activities that take your attention away from maintaining your lane position.

  • Drive at a Reasonable Speed: Adjust your speed according to road conditions. Driving at a reasonable speed allows you to better control your vehicle and maintain your lane.

  • Be Mindful of Curves and Turns: Slow down and be extra cautious when navigating curves or turns. Follow the curvature of the road and stay centered within your lane.

  • Check Your Blind Spots: Regularly check your blind spots before changing lanes. This ensures you are aware of the surrounding traffic and can make lane changes safely.

  • Avoid Overcorrection: If you find yourself drifting slightly out of your lane, avoid overreacting. Make smooth and gradual corrections to bring your vehicle back into the center of the lane.

  • Use Lane Departure Warning Systems (If Available): Some vehicles come equipped with lane departure warning systems that provide alerts if you unintentionally drift out of your lane. Familiarize yourself with these systems if your vehicle has them.

  • Stay Well-Rested: Fatigue can impact your ability to stay in your lane. Ensure you are well-rested before driving for an extended period.

  • Practice Defensive Driving: Adopt a defensive driving mindset. Be aware of the actions of other drivers and anticipate potential lane changes or movements.

  • Take a Defensive Driving Course: Consider taking a defensive driving course to enhance your skills and knowledge. Defensive driving courses often provide valuable insights into safe lane management.

  • Keep Your Vehicle Aligned: Regularly check and maintain your vehicle's alignment. An aligned vehicle is easier to control and stays more predictably within its lane.

Remember that staying in your lane is a fundamental aspect of safe driving. Practice these tips consistently to develop good habits and enhance your ability to maintain proper lane position.

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Street Survival - Advanced Defensive Driving