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3 Essential Driving Routines You Should Know – Part 3

 In Driving Lessons, Driving Test, News, Road Safety

In the first two parts of this blog we have discussed the importance of setting the car up correctly before setting off, the D.S.S.S.M.
routine and the essential order of how to set of on a journey, the P.O.M. routine. In the final part of the blog we discuss the M.S.M. routine.

The M.S.M. routine is used for all other manoeuvres we do in a car; whether changing lanes, or turning around corners or indeed even driving down a road in a straight line when varying our speed for example.

M.S.M. stands for Mirrors. Signal. Manoeuvre.

Let’s start with the mirrors:


When talking about mirrors we are in effect talking about effective observation and the understanding of what we are seeing. Mirrors are usually used in pairs. It is essential to check our surroundings BEFORE we aim to change speed, direction or course of our vehicle. For example if we wish to slow down we MUST check our centre mirror first to see whats behind us. We don’t want to brake at the last second without knowing what’s behind us as the vehicle behind will go into the back of us. We must check the mirror early enough to assess whether a vehicle is right behind us and if there is one we would need to slow down more gently giving the vehicle behind us time to react.

If we wish to turn left then you must check the centre mirror then left mirror before slowing down or turning. Centre mirror again to see the position of the vehicle following us and the left mirror to see whats coming up alongside us. We don’t want to squash a cyclist for example who’s on our left. Remember the side mirrors are convex in shape so vehicles may appear further away than they really are. If we are turning right then its the centre and right mirrors for the same reasons as above, paying particular interest to motorbikes or indeed any vehicle that may be overtaking us.


Once we have checked our mirrors and are aware of our surroundings we need to consider a signal to help others around us to know what we INTEND to do. Remember at this stage we haven’t changed the speed or direction of our vehicle as yet. There are 8 different signals we may wish to give in a car: direction indicators, hand signals, horn, hazard warning lights, fog lights, break lights, flashing headlights or position of car. In fact we often give more than one signal in a car to help others know what we are doing. To turn right for example we may indicate, then use our brake lights, then position the car towards the centre line in the road.


The manoeuvre part of the routine we break down into 3 elements: position of the car, speed and look (P.SL.)

Once we have checked our mirrors and appropriately signalled we need to position the car correctly. Once we have done this we need to change our speed to get the appropriate speed and gear to do what we wish to do. Finally we need to observe again to see if our way is clear, for turning for example we need to know if there is an obstruction in the new road.

This routine may seem quite complicated but it will become natural. Your driving instructor will help you practice this over and over again. Practice makes perfect! Just remember everything in a car has an order so that we can keep ourselves and all other road users safe.

Happy, safe driving everybody.

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