Essential Driving Skills



Get into the Habit of using the MSM routine early when approaching junctions. You will use your mirrors to assess what is behind you, signal left or right as appropriate, for the manoeuvre you will position your car correctly in other words either approximately 1metre from the kerb (if safe) when turning left into the major road and as close to the centre of the road as is safe when turning right. There will be occasions when you will want to go straight ahead at the junction in which case you should consider adopting the position as for turning left unless the road markings otherwise dictate You will reduce your speed and be prepared to stop if necessary and then look in all directions at the earliest point from which you can see clearly and keep looking as you slow down or stop.While carrying out the junction routine you must keep a constant look-out for other road users. Doing this will help to ensure that you have all the information you need to make the correct decisions about your intended actions.

As you approach the junction, your zone of vision (or what you can actually see) improves and this will depend on surrounding buildings, the layout of the road, parked vehicles and of course weather conditions. Remember, at all times that the junction is one of the biggest potential hazards a driver can face which is why it is extremely important that your speed on approach is such that you will be able to comfortably stop on approach to give way, important also because pedestrians might cross without checking to see if it is safe to do so, they might also be obscured by parked cars. Watch out for other drivers who may be cutting corners. Be prepared to hold back for them.

Once you have stopped at the junction you will select 1st gear and consider applying the handbrake. Sometimes your visions might be obscured in which case, and if appropriate to do so, you will have to inch carefully forward to see more and remember, if another pedestrian or vehicle is not in your zone of vision, you’re not usually in theirs. When assessing whether or not it is safe to emerge it is important to look all around you and in particular to the left and right, assess the overall situation, decide whether it is safe to emerge and act decisively once the decision is made. Remember that any subsequent looks help you to judge speed and position of approaching vehicles. Do not assume that a vehicle approaching on your right will turn in just because it’s left signal is on. You must be sure it is safe before you proceed. The only time you can be certain the other vehicle is going to turn left is when you see it start to do so.

Keep a special look-out for cyclists or motorbikes travelling along close to the kerb.

When turning left consider is there enough time to merge with the traffic without forcing the traffic approaching from the right to slow down?, You must watch out for pedestrians crossing the road into which you are turning, if they have started to cross they have priority and you must therefore give way to them Make sure that the traffic hasn’t come to a halt.

Once you have decided to emerge into the major road remember to act positively and that if you suddenly stop you risk becoming a hazard to any vehicle that is behind you. After turning and when straight look in your mirrors to assess the situation behind you and adjust your speed accordingly.


The Driving Test

The examiner on the driving test will expect you to:-

1. Use the MSM routine in good time
2. Brake gently and in good time
3. Position your vehicle correctly - Choose the correct lane where there are lane markings and in a one-way street
4. Look for obstructions, traffic and pedestrians
5. Read Stop signs, Give Way signs, etc, accurately
6. Assess the speed of traffic.