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Moving off and stopping safely are both abilities which learner drivers learn really early on in their driving lessons. It’s a skill that you’ll quickly get the hang of, understanding the right procedure is essential as you will be tested on your capability to move off and stop securely in your driving test.

Learning how to move off and stop securely isn’t simply a case of having the ability to move and stop the car. You need to make sure you do so in a safe and controlled manner, whilst making the right checks. Moving off and stopping are 2 of the first things your driving trainer will teach you, but here we run through the stages to assist you make sure you understand exactly what to do when moving off and stopping.

 

Moving off – on the flat

To get your vehicle and yourself ready to move, and to make sure it is safe to begin it is an excellent idea to follow a set routine. Here we will describe a routine called Prepare, Observe, Manoeuvre (POM) which you can utilise each time you prepare to start to move off in the vehicle.

Prepare

The first thing you need to do is get the car ready to move, and this is done through reaching the biting point. To do this, follow these basic actions:

Clutch down: using your left foot, press down on the clutch pedal until it touches the floor.

First Gear: next, put the vehicle in first gear.

Engage the accelerator: gently press the accelerator pedal with your right foot till you hear a slight humming sound, keeping the gas at that level by stagnating your foot (it is much easier to stay in this position if you rest your heel on the floor).

Reach the biting point: it is now time to slowly launch the clutch with your left foot making sure you are listening to the engine to hear it reaching the biting point. You can spot this by a modification in the noise of the engine or you might see the front of the vehicle lift – detecting the biting point will soon end up being familiar.

Observe

You now have the vehicle ready to move, now you need to make sure that the environments are safe for you to move off into. In the observe phase of the routine, you are checking for other vehicles, pedestrians or even animals that might be also using the roads and whom you need to be knowledgeable about. You will also be required to look for things that don’t move – such as parked cars, bollards, and dustbins.

A great routine to do as part of the observe stage is the six point check (this list refers to if you are parked on the left and are emerging to the right, do these in reverse if you are parked on the right):.

Blind spot – examine your left shoulder and through the side-back window.
Left door mirror.
Front window ahead.
Rear view mirror.
Right door mirror.
Blind spot – out of your driver’s side window.

Throughout your observations, you might notice that a vehicle is about to move near you, or you have actually found an individual approaching your car. In these cases, it is an excellent idea to wait until the coast is clear so you can move off with no disruptions.

Once your observations are complete and you have chosen it is safe to move off choose whether or not you need to signal your movement – either with a left or right indication depending upon which direction you are going. You only  need to signify if other drivers or pedestrians would benefit, and keep in mind to just indicate when you are ready to move off to prevent confusion to other road users.

Manoeuvre.

Having prepared and observed, you are now all set to manoeuvre. Here is how its done:

Handbrake off – release the handbrake all the way.

Clutch up – you are at the biting point and in very first gear, so to get the car moving you need to gradually raise your clutch feeling the car slowly moving up until you come off it entirely. If you take your foot off the clutch too quickly the car will stall. Keep in mind– practice makes perfect!

Accelerator – now you are moving, carefully use pressure to the accelerator to increase your speed. The key to this is being mild as you do not wish to move off too quick.

Position – ensure that you are in the typical driving position (NDP) on the road by guiding somewhat right. You need to be around a metre from the kerb, or a metre from any obstructions parked in the road (such as cars and trucks, etc).

 

Moving off – uphill & downhill

Uphill

Moving off uphill is a little trickier but you will quickly get the hang of it. The secret is to use more pressure to the accelerator and to let your foot off the clutch much slower in order to make the car move. It can be simple to worry if you roll in reverse on an uphill start but all you need to do is to bring up the clutch and your car will remain stable, and after that raise the clutch to get the vehicle going.

Downhill

The regimen is comparable to that above & throughout the ‘prepare’ stage you need to engage the brake, rather than using the biting point, to prepare the car for moving off. When you are prepared, move your right foot from the foot brake to the accelerator – you will feel the vehicle slowly move forward. Slowly bring up the clutch pedal as the car starts moving – if the hill is steep you need to bring the clutch up quicker.

Stopping

Now you know how to move off, you need to know how to stop. The key to stopping securely is planning ahead and determining a safe, practical and legal location to stop. Apart from when performing an emergency stop, you should constantly utilise the Mirrors Signal Manoeuvre (MSM) regular when stopping.

When stopping at the side of the road you need to practice the SCALP regime – this stands for Safe Convenient and Legal Position. This is to show consideration to other motorists and to keep yourself and others safe – so only stop where it is safe, practical and legal to do so.

Here we will go through what you must do to safely stop in a typical driving circumstance.

Mirrors

Depending upon whether you are stopping on the left or the right you need to inspect both the interior mirror and the corresponding wing mirror.

Signal

It might not constantly be essential to indicate when stopping – so ensure you inspect if there are any other vehicles or pedestrians that would take advantage of a signal. If there is a car behind you then you will need to show to them that you are stopping and pulling over, so use your indicator to signify to them what you mean to do.

Take care not to show too early otherwise, this may be confusing to other drivers and pedestrians (for example, if there is a road approaching and you are intending to stop after this road make sure you indicate as soon as you are past this junction).

Manoeuvre

You have found a safe place to stop, examined your mirrors and indicated if you needed to – now it is time to stop. Follow these actions for smooth and safe stopping:

Remove your foot from the accelerator
Carefully brake – practice progressive braking, that is where you brake carefully at first and after that more strongly when you need to come to a total stop (this will prevent a severe and jolting stop).

Steer to the left – when pulling over to the left-hand side you can steer gently towards the left (if there are no parked cars and trucks) so that you can pull over at a slight angle and after that tidy. If there are cars and trucks in the road you will need to change your steering and pull over at more of an angle.

Clutch down – as you will stop press the clutch pedal all the way down to stop you stalling.

Come to a stop – apply the brake securely to come to a complete stop.

Handbrake – when the car has actually come to a total stop apply the handbrake and put the car into neutral position.

Take feet off the pedals – you can now take your feet off the pedals as the handbrake is holding the car in position and the car is no longer in gear so you do not need the clutch.

Stop signal – if you were indicating make sure you stop this signal at this point.

 

Summary

You are now fully clued up on the safest way to move off and stop. Here is a quick summary to remember what you have learnt:

 

Move off = POM

  • Prepare: biting point
  • Observe: check all mirrors and blind spots and signal if you need to
  • Manoeuvre: move off smoothly and find the normal driving position

Stopping = MSM

  • Mirrors: check the interior mirror and the corresponding wing mirror of the direction you are moving towards
  • Signal: do you need to signal? If you do so put your indicator on
  • Manoeuvre: pull over in a safe, convenient and legal place