Driving Lessons

Cowley’s School of Motoring

Meeting Traffic

Our Meeting Traffic tutorial will help you learn when you have priority and when to give way.

We will also look at positioning, speed and mirrors when dealing with oncoming vehicles.

On your next driving lesson, you will be learning about Meeting Traffic, the key points you will cover are;


Who has priority

Positioning when dealing with oncoming vehicles


We will apply the M.S.P.S.L routine when dealing with obstructions and meeting traffic.


Check your mirrors to assess if your actions will affect the vehicles behind as you approach the obstruction or need to give way.


We don’t tend to indicate around obstructions, as our road positioning should be enough of signal. We will discuss a few exceptions later.


Position the car so we are a safe distance from the obstruction and so that it signals your intention to go around the obstruction.


Your speed will vary depending the amount of space available.


Observations ahead and behind at all times will help you decide on the correct action.

Who has priority?

When dealing with an obstruction, we must decide who has priority.

Generally, when the obstruction is on our side of the road the other driver has priority. If you think it about this makes sense as we will be going onto their side of the road.

We should give way to vehicles in these situations, however, don’t assume other cars will do the same. If you have priority the majority of the time vehicles will give way to you, but you should always be warey that they may have not seen you or have reacted incorrectly. Try to assess the other car’s “body language”, for example if the car doesn’t seem to be slowing down then you should slow down and be ready to give way.

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Meeting traffic 7

Hold back point.

When we are giving way to other cars, we need to consider our hold back point. Our hold back point is the position where we will stop to give way. We have a few things to consider when deciding where to stop;

  • Space – How much space does the other car need to get past us? We need to leave enough room but we don’t want to be so far over to the left that we look like we’re parked.
  • Signal – Our road position is a great signal to other drivers. We want to leave the car slightly angled to the right and sticking out around the parked car or obstruction, so any oncoming cars can see us and cars behind us know we’re waiting to move off and not parked.
  • Moving off – We need to consider that the next thing we will do is move off and continue our journey. We should stop far enough back from the obstacle that we have an easy move off, also stopping slightly out from the obstacle will give you a better view to decide when to go.
hold back point
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Moving off again

The first thing we need to consider here is do we need to stop in the first place? We should always be planning and trying to keep continuous motion, (read more about this in our No Stopping Lesson) so if we can drop our speed and allow time for the other car to pass whilst continuing then great. Note that in doing this don’t allow yourself to get too close to the parked car, always stop once you get to your hold back point.

Once we have stopped and the road is clear for us to move off again, we need to follow our P.O.M routine. (Prepare Observe Move)

  • Prepare – Prepare the car as you would for any normal move off. (See Moving Off and Stopping if you’re not sure.)
  • Observe – Check ahead to see if its clear to move away. Check your mirrors for any vehicles that may be confused by you being stationary. Could it look like you’re parked?
  • Move – As we move away, we need to decide if we need to use an indicator. Indicating isn’t always necessary as our road position and situation could be enough for cars to know what’s happening. For example, if we’ve been driving down a road with lots of parked cars and the car behind has been following us. If he has seen us pull in to give way, he will be expecting us to move off again, so no signal needed.

On the other hand, if the car behind hasn’t seen us pull in to give way and maybe we are a little slow to move off, he may assume we’re parked and move to go around us. An indicator in this situation may be helpful.

Each situation is unique, so you will have decide at the time if the indicator is beneficial and won’t confuse other drivers.

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Meeting traffic 7

Car’s on both sides, who has priority?

Nobody has priority in these situations. We need to assess the other car’s actions and each individual situation differently. Some things to take into consideration are;

  • Speed of the oncoming vehicle. Does it look like they are giving way?
  • Position of the oncoming vehicle. Are they pulling in or positioning towards the centre?
  • Who has the best gap? In some situations one side will have a much bigger gap, normally this would be the side that should give way. Although as always you can never assume a car will give way to you.
  • If you’re not sure the other car is giving way to you then slow down and be prepared to give way to them.

Traffic Calming Measures

Sometimes traffic calming measures can cause ‘meeting traffic’ situations. In these situations, we follow the same rules as we would if it was a parked car or other obstruction.

You will also come across situations where the road marking and signposts tell you who has priority. As with all meeting traffic decisions don’t assume an oncoming vehcile will give way just because they are meant to. Always be cautious and assess their speed and position before committing.

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meeting traffic 1

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Moving Off and Stopping



Penn Inn Roundabout

Meeting Traffic

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Pedestrian Crossing