Before you can even think about setting off you’re going to need to make sure the vehicle is prepared and ready for operation this can easily be remembered by using the abbreviation (POM) prepare, observe, manoeuvre .
Preparing to drive
Starting with the doors, make sure they are secured – you should hear feedback in the form of a click when they shut; otherwise a notification on the dashboard will display to show they haven’t closed properly. It pays to be wary each time before you open the door in case of nearby traffic or pedestrians on the foot pat. Spending time adjusting the seat, front and side mirrors is fundamentally important in ensuring you have a good view of the road so it is worthwhile tweaking all of these until you are optimally positioned. The mirrors will contribute to a full 360 degree of your surroundings when combined with what you can already see by turning your head. The central, front mirror should be almost parallel with the road, tilted a little towards the driver’s seat.
The seat can be brought back and forth by using a lever usually to the right hand side and moved up and down using a pump found in a similar place. The front mirror is adjusted manually by hand and the side mirrors should have interior controls found close to the dashboard.
Make sure the headrest is supportive if you lean your head back and adjust the steering wheel until you can reach it without strain in the arms but also without too much bend in the elbows.
Put your seatbelt on; it’s the law but do it because it could protect you from injury.
Mirror. Signal. Manoeuvre. (M.S.M.)
This simple routine should be followed whenever it is necessary to significantly change your road position which is usually very frequently on an average journey which makes it all the more indispensable.
- Look into all mirrors applicable to the direction you are about to go in
- Check each one carefully for activity which could pose hazardous to your moving off
- If the way is clear and there is ample opportunity to move off then immediately apply a signal relevant to your intended direction
- Move off
Moving off and stopping
The objective here is to join the road in good time without causing any of its users to slow down due to your speed and road position so it is important that you get your timing just right. This manoeuvre can be broken down into three stages, preparation (1), observation (2) and movement (3).
1) by pushing the clutch and get into first gear
- Set the gas by depressing the accelerator by a few pennies’ width
- Gradually raise the clutch until you reach biting point and freeze feet
- Look into mirrors; front interior then right exterior (if moving off from left hand side of road)
- Look over shoulder to right hand blind spot
- Make sure the way is clear and that your movement won’t interfere with oncoming traffic
- If you are in view of pedestrians or traffic use a signal to make your intentions clear
- Release the handbrake
- Gradually lift your foot off the clutch whilst remaining on the gas
- Steer until you are in the correct road position
- Cancel your signal
Once you’re off and away you are going to need to be able to safely stop the vehicle. This should only be done somewhere safe, legal and convenient. First of all, apply the M.S.M routine and choose a space to park which won’t obstruct the path of other road users. Avoid anywhere where the road narrows or on bends, hills or too close to junctions. Steer towards the road side until you are approximately a grid’s width away then take the steering off and gradually apply pressure to the brake pedal until you slow to a complete stop.