Decision Making Skills at intersections are one of the most complex tasks for many drivers. But, for learner drivers, it’s probably one of the most difficult skills to master. Intersections can be difficult for drivers to navigate for a number of reasons. These can include multiple directions of traffic, traffic signals and signs, who has right of way, distracted driving or negligent driving. According to the Transport for NSW’s Road Traffic Casualty Crashes, around half of all crashes on NSW roads happen at intersections.

Let’s first look at why some drivers find intersections challenging then we’ll discuss the decision making process.

Why Intersections can be Challenging

Probably one of the most challenging tasks for drivers at any intersection, is who gives way to who? You may have been in a situation yourself where you have had the right of way but the other driver is ‘waving’ you through. Other times, it’s like a standoff where you have drivers waving one another through then they move off together. Knowing the road rules and who gives way at intersections, is crucial.

Here are two common scenarios for giving way at intersections in NSW

  • Turning right across oncoming traffic: The vehicle turning right across oncoming traffic must give way and only turn when it’s safe to do so. .
  • 4-way intersections: If you approach a 4-way intersection at the same time as a vehicle to your left and who appears to be travelling straight ahead or turning left or right, they give way to you. This generally applies when vehicles approach the STOP sign or line at the same time. Whichever vehicle approached first, they generally have the right of way.

It is important for drivers to take their time and ensure it’s safe to proceed when navigating intersections, whether or not they have to stop or give way. Drivers should also remember, that almost half of the road crashes in NSW occur at intersections. If drivers are not familiar with the give way rules, it is a good idea to do some research so that they understand who has the right of way at intersections

Understanding the Decision Making Process

Before we dive into the strategies to improve your decision making on the road, it is crucial to understand the decision making process itself. Because, nearly 90% of driving decisions are rooted in three key factors: observation, interpretation, and action.

Observation: The Foundation of Good Decision Making

Good observation skills play a vital role in making informed decisions while driving. By carefully observing your surroundings, you can gather crucial information about the road, traffic, and potential hazards. For novice drivers, this skill requires on-going practice to become second nature. In driving, the problem could be anything from a pedestrian crossing the road to a car suddenly stopping in front of you.

Interpretation & Evaluation: Making Sense of What You Observe

Once you have observed your surroundings, the next step is to interpret the information you have gathered accurately. This involves analysing the current situation, anticipating potential risks, and making judgements based on the available data. You need to assess the situation so that you can determine the best course of action.

Action: Executing the Right Decision

The final step in the decision making process is taking appropriate action based on your observations and interpretations. This requires a combination of knowledge, skill, and confidence.

Improving Your Decision Making Skills: 3 Actionable Steps

Now that you understand the decision making process, let us explore three actionable steps to enhance your decision making when driving:

1. Anticipate and Plan Ahead

One of the most effective ways to improve your decision making skills is by anticipating potential scenarios and planning ahead. This involves scanning the road ahead, identifying potential hazards, and mentally preparing for different situations. By developing this proactive mindset, you will be better equipped to make split-second decisions in critical situations.

2. Practice Defensive Driving

Defensive driving is a key component of sound decision making on the road. It focuses on anticipating and responding to potential hazards before they escalate into dangerous situations. Our Learn Drive Survive® Safer Drivers Course emphasizes defensive driving techniques that will enhance your decision making skills and promote a safer driving experience.

3. Refine Your Observation Skills

As mentioned earlier, observation is the foundation technique of good decision making. Sharpening your observation skills will enable you to pick up on subtle cues and potential dangers that might go unnoticed by less attentive drivers.

Unlock Your Potential with Learn Drive Survive®

At Learn Drive Survive®, we are passionate about empowering learner drivers to become safe, confident and responsible drivers. The NSW Safer Drivers Course with Learn Drive Survive® goes beyond traditional driving lessons, focusing on building essential decision making skills that are crucial for a lifetime of safe driving. The Safer Drivers Course with Learn Drive Survive® is an excellent opportunity for young learner drivers in NSW to learn and  develop foundation techniques.

If you’re looking for a quality driving instructor, our qualified and experienced driver educators are committed to providing the best driving education. We understand the importance of personalised attention and guidance, which is why Learn Drive Survive® stands out from the rest. Developing a keen sense of interpretation takes time and experience, but with our comprehensive driver training, you will gain valuable insights to expedite your learning process. Learn Drive Survive® will teach you the necessary techniques to execute decisions effectively and safely.

To learn more about how Learn Drive Survive® can help you improve your decision making skills and other defensive driving techniques, contact us today. We offer a range of driving lessons tailored to your needs, ensuring you receive the most effective guidance on your journey to becoming a confident and skilled driver.

Learn Drive Survive® Safer Drivers Course

How to Book a Course

To complete the Safer Drivers Course, you must be under 25 years of age and hold a current NSW Learner Licence. You must at least 50 actual hours recorded which don’t include any bonus hours. The cost of the course is $140 and only learners from NSW are eligible.

To book a course, simply visit our website at and select your preferred location. Choose a suitable date and complete the registration. Alternatively, you can call our friendly team on 1800 898 969 to assist you in booking a course.