3 Essential Driving Routines You Should Know – Part1
When learning to drive there are 3 essential routines you are taught which will enable you to start to become a safe driver. In fact, all experienced drivers probably use these routines subconsciously without realising that they are doing so.
Part 1 of this blog details the D.S.S.S.M. routine.
The first routine is in fact the first thing you should have been taught on your 1st driving lesson. This is the routine to get you set up correctly into the correct driving position. Some instructors don’t teach this but I feel this is essential, not only because it puts you in the safest position, but it sets the scene whilst driving that if you do things correctly in the correct order then you will be a safe driver
Routine 1, the D.S.S.S.M routine
In short, this is the order that you should set yourself up in any car, especially those cars that you don’t usually drive (which should already be set up correctly for you).
D is for Doors.
When you first enter the car its important to ensure all doors are correctly shut and that your handbrake is on. To check the doors are shut just give them a rattle, or have a look in your side mirrors to see they are in line with the rest of the car.
S is for Seat.
First set the seat height, then distance from the pedals, then the rake (or seat back position). The height is so you can sufficiently see through the front window (eye line in the centre of the window). Distance from the pedals can be checked by depressing the clutch fully. You should be able to this without overstretching with a slight bend in the leg. The rake is to make sure you can reach the steering wheel whilst supporting your back. Many a driver has a bad back because this isn’t set correctly.
The final part of the seat which is vital to adjust is the head restraint. This should be set so when you are sitting normally the centre part of the head restraints should be in line with your eyes or the top of your ears. This gives you maximum protection from neck injuries such as whiplash in the event of a crash. Neck injuries in a car are common and easy to avoid, so don’t forget this adjustment.
S is for Steering Wheel.
All steering wheels are adjustable (many people don’t know this) so you should make sure that when your hands are set to the ten-to-two position you should have a slight bend in your arms. Also being able to touch the top of the wheel with straight arms without having to lean forward is important. The lever to adjust this is usually found under the steering wheel column.
S is for Seat Belt.
Now its time to put your seat belt on. It should be on without any twists as you want it to protect you in the event of a carcrash and also be comfortable. It is a legal requirement to wear a seat belt whilst driving and it infuriates me that around a quarter of all deaths on UK roads are still attributed to the seatbelt either not being on correctly or not being on at all!
Now your seat belt is on you can do the final part of this routine…
M is for Mirrors.
Your seat belt being on will keep you in the correct driving position to enable you to now adjust your mirrors without moving around in your seat. I personally adjust the centre mirror first, using just my left hand. Using this hand also keeps you in your driving position whilst adjusting it. You want to frame the rear window in this mirror. It shouldn’t be set so that you can monitor your kids in the back seat! The side mirrors are set so that you can see the door handle in the bottom corner of the mirror.
This will ensure you can see a slither of the back of the car whilst keeping the horizon in the centre of the mirror. Be aware the side mirrors are convex so that they don’t give you an accurate image of distance of anything following you. The centre mirror is a flat mirror so that it gives you an accurate image of whats behind you ie if the car behind you looks like he’s 40m away doing the same speed as you, he is!
This routine might seem tedious to do but is in fact essential to drive safely. How can you be a safe driver if you cant press the pedals properly for example? We also set the car up in this order to save us doing things twice ie if you set the mirrors first then adjust the seating position then you will have to adjust the mirrors again!
Part 2 will start to deal with the routines for actually driving the car safely.