Glossary

Found a tricky word or confusing term? We've got the answers.


Navigation:

Click or tap the first letter of the word you want to know the meaning of. You'll be taken to the right place on the page. 

2
2-second rule

A 2 second gap you must have between your vehicle and the vehicle in front when driving in good conditions.

4
4-second rule

To have a 4-second gap between your vehicle and the vehicle in front when driving in bad conditions or when towing a trailer or being tailgated. 

A
Advisory

Something that gives you information.

Alter your senses

Changing the way you see, hear, feel or react to things around you.

Angle parking

Parking spaces that are angled towards the kerb, making it easier to drive into and reverse out of.

Approaching

Getting close to, coming up to something.

Asphalt

A mixture of bitumen and gravel compacted to make a smooth black road surface. 

Authorised vehicle inspection centre

A place that can give your vehicle its warrant of fitness, such as a vehicle testing station or a garage.

Automatic

A vehicle with an automatic transmission (gearbox).

Automatically

When something happens on it's own, without you having to do anything.

B
Blind spot

Any areas around the vehicle that can't be seen by the driver when looking forward or in their mirrors.

Bonnet

Bonnet

A hinged cover that allows access to a car's engine.

Boot

The storage area at the rear of the car.

Brake pedal

The foot pedal used to slow or stop the car.

Breaching

‘Breaching’ your licence conditions means you’re breaking the law by going against the conditions of your licence.

C
Centreline

Laned road 3

The line in the middle of the road (usually painted on) that separates traffic going in different directions.

Child restraint

Child restraint image

A special seat or harness used to keep children safe in the car.

Clearway

A road over which a no-stopping or parking restriction applies. (Signage will indicate the periods during which the clearway restriction applies.)

Compulsory

Something that you have to do.

Concealed

Things that are hard to see or hidden.

Conditions

(driving) The situation on the road that affects how you should drive, including the road surface, weather, amount of traffic or light.

(licence) Rules that apply to your driver licence. For example, on a restricted licence, you can‘t drive alone after 10pm.

Considerate

Thinking about what other people need.

Convenience

Something being easy to use.

Country road

A road that is outside of a city or town.

Courtesy

Good manners, being polite.

Cross-hatching

Part of the road with yellow cross-hatched lines that you must not stop on. (You must not enter this area if your passage is blocked by traffic ahead).

Cross-intersection

1.0 Glossary1 JS 01

The place where two roads meet and form the shape of a cross.

Crossroads

1.0 Glossary1 JS 01

The place where two roads meet and form the shape of a cross.

D
Dead-end street

A street with only one way in or out (also known as a cul-de-sac).

Demerit points

Points against your driver licence when you commit a traffic offence. 100 or more points within two years means you lose your licence for three months. 

Disqualified

If you’re disqualified from driving, you can’t drive or get a licence to drive.

Driving conditions

The situation on the road that affects how you should drive, including the road surface, weather, amount of traffic, and whether it’s dark or light.

Driving dangerously

Driving that puts the public and other road users at risk of injury or could damage their property. 

F
Fire hydrant

fire hydrant option A

A connection point where firefighters can access a water supply.

Fluorescent

A very bright colour that reflects the light.

Flush median strip

A strip marked in the middle of the road with white diagonal lines to provide a safe place for vehicles to wait before turning right or when they have turned right onto the road from a side road or driveway.

G
Give Way rules

Road rules that allow all road users to know who needs to give way and when they can go safely. 

Golden-rule

An important rule that should always be followed.

Gravel

Small, loose stones that are sometimes used as a road surface - particularly on narrow country roads.

Gridlock

Gridlock cropped

When vehicles are bumper to bumper and not moving. This is also known as a traffic jam.

H
Hazard

Anything that could hurt someone or anything a driver could have a collision with when driving.

Hazard lights

Indicator lights that flash at the same time to warn other road users that the vehicle is a temporary hazard. For example, if it has broken down.

I
Illegal

If something is illegal, it‘s against the law. This is the opposite of legal.

Impaired driving

Driving that’s made worse by something, such as drugs, medications or alcohol.

Impounding

Impounding your vehicle means taking it away from you so you can’t drive it.

Indicator

Flashing lights on a vehicle that warn other road users that you're about to change direction. For example, leave or return to the kerb, turn, or change lanes.

Indicator lights

Flashing lights on a vehicle that warn other road users that you're about to change direction. For example, leave or return to the kerb, turn, or change lanes.

Intersection

Where two or more roads join or cross, including where a public entrance or exit joins a road. For example, entrances to and exits from a supermarket.

K
Kerb

Curb

The edge between the footpath and the road.

L
Lane

The part of the road your vehicle travels in, separated from other lanes by painted lines.

Laned

A road divided into lanes.

Legal

Something the law says is OK to do.

Licence conditions

Rules that apply to your driver licence. For example, if you have a restricted licence, you can‘t drive alone after 10pm.

Loading zone

Loading zone

A type of parking space where you can only stop briefly to drop off and pick up people and goods. It‘s marked by yellow painted lines and text on the road, and a sign.

M
Manual

A vehicle with a manual transmission (gearbox).

Median strip

A strip of land or part of the road that separates vehicles travelling in opposite directions. 

Medications

Pills or other medicine that you get from a doctor or chemist.

Merge lanes

Where two lanes come together to form one lane or when one lane ends requiring traffic to merge across into the next lane. For example, motorway onramps. 

Merge like a zip

The recommended way of merging, where a vehicle in the left lane goes, then the vehicle in the right lane goes, and so on (coming together just like a zip). 

Mobility

The ability to move around freely and easily without restriction.

Modification

Changes or adjustments made to a vehicle.

Moped

Moped2

A two-wheeled vehicle with a motor. It has a much smaller body and engine than a motorcycle, and its top speed is 50 km/h.

Multi-laned

A road where two or more lanes are available for use by vehicles travelling in the same direction.

N
Narrow shoulder

The edge of the road to the left of the white road edgeline (the line that marks the far left of the road) that isn't wide enough to drive on. 

O
Obey

To follow orders, do as you're told.

Official

Approved by a council, government or other authority.

Oncoming traffic

0.0 Glossary1 JS 03

Traffic that is coming towards you, rather than going in the same direction.

Open road

A road usually outside of an urban area, where a higher speed limit applies (100 km/h).

P
Parallel

Things being side by side and always the same distance apart.

Patient

OK with having to wait for something, not getting upset if you have to wait.

Pedestrian

A person who is walking on the footpath or road.

Pedestrian crossing

A place on the road (painted with parallel white stripes) for pedestrians to cross the road safely. 

Penalty

A punishment that you get for breaking a rule.

Permanent

Something that lasts for a long time and won't be changed or taken away.

Permit

An official document that allows someone to do something.

Private property

Land owned by a person (or a group of people) for their own use, which the public doesn't have access to.

R
Reckless driving

Driving dangerously, even though you know you might be putting other people in danger.

Reflectors

Material that reflects light (usually glass or metal).

Registered

A vehicle that is driven on the road must be registered. The vehicle will be issued a certificate of registration and have number plates fitted.

Reversing

Moving backwards.

Right angle

An angle of 90 degrees.

Right of way

The myth that you always have the right to go when someone else should have given way. Be prepared to stop, as other drivers do make mistakes. 

Right turning bay

6.3 Using Lanes 1 JS 03

An area marked on the road with painted lines and an arrow, for vehicles to use when turning right or waiting to turn right. 

Road users

Any people who use a road, including drivers, motorcyclists, passengers, cyclists or pedestrians.

Roadside hazards

Things on the roadside that you could crash into if you were to drive off the road. For example, trees, poles, posts, ditches, drains, cliffs or steep banks.

Roadworthy

When a vehicle is in safe enough condition to be driven on the road.

Roundabout

An intersection with a central, circular traffic island that all vehicles must travel around in a clockwise direction. 

S
Sealed edge

The edge of the road to the left of the white road edgeline (the line that marks the far left of the road) - also known as the shoulder. 

Shared zone

A road used by both pedestrians and vehicles. 

Shoulder

The edge of the road to the left of the white road edgeline (the line that marks the far left of the road).

Signal

Signal (verb): indicate, show people what you're going to do. 
Signal (noun): action showing people what you're going to do.

Space-saver tyres

Smaller tyres that should only be used for a short time, to replace a flat or damaged tyre.

Spouse

Another word for a husband or wife.

Studs

Small raised markers attached to the road surface to form a road marking. For example, to mark the centreline.

Suburban

Areas in a town or city where people live or work.

Suspended

A suspended licence isn’t legal any more, and you can’t use it to drive.

T
T-intersection

Where one road joins another at right angles, but doesn't cross it.

Temporary

Something that will only last for a short time.

Towed

When a trailer, caravan or another vehicle is connected to and pulled along by a vehicle. 

Traffic conditions

The amount of traffic on a road and the way it‘s moving.

Traffic island

Traffic island

An area in the middle of the road (using painted lines or raised concrete) for pedestrians to use when crossing the road, or for guiding traffic.

Turning bay

6.3 Using Lanes 1 JS 03

An area marked on the road with painted lines and an arrow for vehicles to use when turning right or waiting to turn right. 

U
Unattended

Without a person in the car who can drive it.

Uncontrolled intersection

0.0 Glossary1 JS 04

An intersection with nothing to control the movement of vehicles. For example, no 'Stop' or 'Give Way' signs, traffic lights or a roundabout.

Unlaned

A road that doesn't have a marked centreline or lane markings. 

Urban

Areas in a town or city where people live or work.

V
Variable

Something that is able to be changed.

Vehicle

Anything that moves on wheels or tracks and is used for transporting people or goods. This includes trucks, cars, motorbikes, mopeds, buses, trains and bicycles.

Visibility

How much you can see and be seen in the driving conditions. For example, weather and level of natural light.

W
Weather conditions

Weather that affects how you should drive. For example rain, snow or ice causing slippery roads; sunlight causing sunstrike; rain, snow or fog reducing visibility.

Your browser is out-of-date!

Update your browser to view this website correctly. Update my browser now

×