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Driving Lesson Routines and Procedures

When taking driving lessons your instructor will be using routines to make important procedures easier to remember. Good command and understanding of these routines should make these points easier to remember and stop many basic errors and therefore keep your driving safe.

D.S.S.S.M – Cockpit Drill
The cockpit drill or D triple S.M is to be done before starting the engine. Make sure all the cars doors are closed properly, set the seat correctly so you can operate the pedals and steering wheel, seat belt on and then set mirrors.

M.S.M
The Mirror Signal Manoeuvre (M.S.M) is the routine to be used whenever a change in speed or direction is needed and is key to negotiating hazards safely and therefore being successful on your test. When moving around a parked car check mirrors centre and right, then signal if necessary, then check the left wing mirror to move back over. Pulling up at the side of the road, check mirrors centre and left, signal if someone will benefit and the pull up on the left. At junctions this is expanded to the MSPSL, mirrors, signal, position, speed (and gears) and look. A more in depth MSPSL page can be found by clicking here. A good command of the M.S.M and MSPSL routines are the key to achieving productive driving lessons, passing the driving test and your goal of safe driving for life.

P.O.M
The POM (prepare, observe, move) routine is used to move off in a car. With the hand brake on.
Prepare – push the clutch pedal down, select first gear, set the gas pedal and bring the clutch pedal up to find bite point, when the clutch bites keep the clutch pedal still.
Observe – a full 360ยบ all round check is needed starting kerb side and finishing roadside. Remember you have two blind spots on a car.
Move – if clear enough release the handbrake, signalling if someone will benefit. Don’t move off if another road user will have to change speed or direction for you.
This routine is also used when moving off in reverse and whilst carrying out manoeuvres.

S.C.A.L.P
Safe, convenient, and legal position. These need to be considered when finding a place to pull up or park your vehicle.
Safe – avoid creating a hazard by stopping on blind bends, the brow of a hill or near roadworks, this could mean forcing other road users into a potentially dangerous situation.
Convenient – avoid double parking, blocking or opposite driveways. Also consider that your passengers will need to get out safely.
Legal – It is illegal to park or stop within 10 metres of a junction, this also includes being opposite a t-junction. Road markings and signs to comply with include: clear ways, double and single yellow lines, disabled car parking bays, areas reserved for loading and zig-zag markings, both the yellow ones near schools and white ones found at pedestrian crossings.
Position – close to the kerb, don’t try getting so close that you scrape your tyres as this will damage the tyre walls and effect safety performance, but be close enough that another road user will think you’re parked and not just stopped in the middle of the road. A few inches from the kerb will be fine.

Walk Across Drive Across Rule
The walk across, drive across rule is used when crossing the path of other traffic. It can be used for taking right turns from major roads into minor roads, where you give way to oncoming traffic or going straight at a crossroads where you are giving way. Using the MSPSL routine after breaking to a safe approach speed and selecting an appropriate gear we need to make a sound decision on whether we can cross the path of an oncoming vehicle. This needs to be done safely, under control and without making anyone change speed and direction in the road we give way to. If you could walk across comfortably then you will be able to drive across. Years of crossing roads as a pedestrian has given you the judgement of whether to step out or to hold back and wait for a bigger gap, this also can be used as a driver.

Tyres And Tarmac – Rubber And Road
When in a traffic queue or waiting behind other vehicles at junctions we need to allow a safe gap from the car in front. Leaving enough space so you can see the car in fronts rear tyres and a little of the road will give you about half a cars space. Doing this will mean if the car in front was to break down you should have enough space to move around and drive away, if you don’t and the car behind is too close to you you’d have to wait for the car behind further back to reverse and therefore you’d have created a problem. Another thing to consider is if the car behind was to collide into your rear end you shouldn’t hit the car in front. Using tyres and Tarmac routine will also mean you won’t brake at the very last moment and will give your passengers a smoother ride and avoid jerky stops.

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