Judge speed

Activity: Judge your car's speed

Good drivers can accurately judge how fast they're going, making it easier to obey speed limits and drive safely.

  • Sit in the car where you can see the speedo, or ask the driver to tell you the speed.
  • While the car is moving, look ahead as if you're driving. Look at least to the fifth car ahead of you, or about where you will be in five to ten seconds.
  • Look at the speedo and notice the car’s speed. (Check that the speed you're seeing is the same speed the driver is seeing – the angle from which you view the speedo can make a difference in some cars.)
  • Continue looking between the speedo and then looking ahead. Soon you will begin to guess what the speed is before you glance at the speedo.
  • Every time the driver speeds up a little or slows down, guess the car’s speed and then look at the speedo to test your judgement. Practise this often until you can judge speed accurately.

If your driver is a good driver, you will notice that they never exceed the speed limit and that they match their speed to the situation around them to keep crash avoidance space.


Activity: Judge your car's changing speed

Good drivers can accurately judge how long it will take their car to slow down and speed up.

  • Look at what the driver is doing, regularly glance at the speedo and listen to the car’s engine.
  • When you notice the driver is slowing down or speeding up, ask them to explain why.
  • When the driver begins to slow down, notice the difference between gentle braking and firm braking.
  • Notice how long it takes the car to speed up. Judge what your car’s speed will be at a certain point in the future.
  • Now try working out what to do on your own. If it’s okay with the driver, tell them when to slow down or speed up.


Activity: Judge other cars' speed

Good drivers can accurately judge how fast other vehicles are travelling and roughly
how long it will be before they meet or pass them.

  • First, learn to judge distance using a stopwatch.
  • Select a vehicle that is coming towards you, start the stopwatch immediately and stop it when you meet or pass that vehicle. Don’t look at the stopwatch yet.
  • Guess how many seconds it took the other vehicle to meet or pass you, then check the stopwatch to check how accurate you were.
  • Repeat the activity and choose different types of vehicles including trucks, and motorcycles.
  • Repeat the activity when the car you are in is stopped and waiting to turn into or out of an intersection.
  • Repeat the activity when the other vehicle is stopped or waiting to turn into or out of an intersection.

This is a tough activity because there are so many variables - don’t be surprised if it takes you a while to improve your accuracy. Each time you practise, you're becoming a better driver.

Next activity: Judge crash avoidance space

Keys2drive is an Australian Government-funded program providing learner drivers and their parents/supervisors a free driving lesson with a Keys2drive accredited professional driving instructor