LADA Driving Routine

The LADA driving routine Look Assess Decide Act is a follow on for the MSPSL routine. The MSPSL routine ends with Look and this is where the LADA routine carries on from.

Upon arriving at a junction or roundabout of some type, it can be difficult for learner drivers to assess the situation and decide what to do. The LADA driving routine is specifically designed for this purpose. Assuming you either understand the MSPSL routine or have already read the tutorial, this tutorial will follow on from the MSPSL routine explaining LADA.

The LADA driving routine is used when closely approaching a traffic system such as a roundabout or junction after the MSPSL routine has been completed. Due to your car being very close to traffic systems, it’s important that the LADA routine is conducted confidently and that safe decisive actions are taken. At this point, having a high level of car control including clutch control if driving a manual transmission car, will significantly increase confidence and ability.

LADA driving routine
LADA driving routine

A good understanding of the LADA routine and car control will enable a learner driver to decide on an appropriate action when met with conditions that require quick decisive actions. Driving test examiners can often mark minors for being too hesitant and can potentially fail a driving test if continuously hesitant.

On the opposite end, a learner can easily fail a test for being too aggressive or judging a situation incorrectly. Learning a fine and safe balance of the LADA routine is important as it is probably the hardest routine to master when learning to drive.


Although the Look part of the LADA routine starts at the end of the MSPSL routine, looking should start from the earliest possible time. At this point, you are trying to predict what will happen before you get there and as a learner driver, this is difficult.

Initially you are looking well ahead for road signs that may suggest what is up ahead such as a roundabout or junction and also signs that may tell you to stop, give way or what lane you need to access. As you get closer, look for road markings that may also provide information such as lanes, directions, bus lanes or cycles lanes. Keep a keen eye on traffic lights. If they have been a certain colour for some time, they may change.

You should at this point be approaching the traffic system at a suitable speed for the circumstances. The Speed in the MSPSL covers this. Speed is dependent on what you can see. Junctions and roundabouts can be open or closed, speed needs to be based on this, other traffic, pedestrians and cyclists.

At this point where the LADA routine starts, for junctions or crossroads keep looking briskly left and right but also don’t forget to look ahead. Speed is very important at this stage. Going too fast will often result in the need to stop, often unnecessarily as you will not have time to assess the situation correctly.

Approaching a junction slower will enable much more effective observation and to continue without the need to stop unless traffic dictates otherwise. Approaching a junction slower often makes journeys faster and more fuel efficient as there is less stopping involves.

If approaching roundabouts, learner drivers tend to focus to the right too much as this is the direction the traffic is coming from. Frequent and quick looks to the right and the direction you are travelling in is critical to lane discipline. Unnecessarily stopping at roundabouts can be dangerous for vehicles behind as they may not be expecting you to stop if it is clear. Approaching slowly will provide you with more time to observe and assess if it is safe to continue or stop.


Assess the situation is a combination of speed and look. At a T-junction for example, Is the junction closed? Is there vehicles approaching? If so, what is the speed limit of the road and what speed are they approaching. As a guide, if you are turning right at a T-junction, imagine yourself as a pedestrian crossing the road from where you are in your car. If it is safe for you to slowly walk across the road, it generally a good guide to move off in your car.

Assessing is looking for any hazards. Pedestrians looking like they may cross the road. Cyclists; are you going to overtake them or remain behind? If you’re going to overtake is there enough time before you reach a bend or junction and if there enough room to safely overtake the cyclist. Parked cars are hazards as oncoming vehicles have priority if they are on your side. If pulling out of a junction, parked cars in the new road may conceal oncoming traffic.

Residential areas may involve parked cars near junctions. You will need to assess if you can safely navigate round the parked cars to reach the junction and to look for areas to pull into if other vehicles approach. Remember to keep a eye on pedestrians and cyclists, they can be unpredictable. You may need to asses if a pedestrian is going to stop and let you continue or if you need to give way.


The decision on whether to go or stop is dictated by the speed of your approach, your look (observations) and assess (last moment situations that may occur such as pedestrians or cyclists). It’s important that everything is done correctly as previously mentioned, the incorrect speed (too fast) renders the rest of the routine impossible.


Once you have made a decision based on all the previous elements of the routine, you must act on it. Driving examiners do expect learners to be more hesitant than experienced drivers, although being excessively hesitant may result in problems. A thorough understanding of all the driving routines including the LADA routine and good car control should help to address such problems.


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