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  • Writer's pictureSimon Harrison

Moving off is safely and smoothly

Moving off is safely, smoothly and with confidence is a key element to remember, get right and perfect.

Try not to get your clutch control confused with the technique used when changing gear.

It will get easier and stay put in your mind like riding a bike.

Get The Car Ready To Go

It’s very important that before you complete your all round observations and signal to pull away that you’re car is actually ready to go.

If you don’t get the car into first gear and remove the handbrake / Parking brake (keeping your right foot on the brake) then the car is not ready to go and will cause delay and the situation will inevitably change and may no longer be safe to pull out.

Your preparation process:

  1. Put the key in the ignition and turn until you hear the engine start

  2. Push down on the clutch and put the car in first gear

  3. Raise the clutch to the point that the car growls, then push down a bit – about the thickness of a pound coin

  4. Take off your handbrake but use the foot brake if you don’t feel confident enough to keep the car still with the clutch

  5. Hold that clutch!

Is it safe?

When you’re moving off on a road, the most important thing you need to do is check that it’s safe for you to go.

This means observing traffic coming from behind you and towards you, and always keeping an eye out for pedestrians, cyclists and motorbikes.

Don’t worry if it feels like it takes a while for the road to be safe – it’s always better to be a little cautious than a little risky.

Moving off

Keep your clutch exactly where it is, ready to go when it’s safe.

When moving off, you should always use the MSPSL sequence.

Mirror, Signal, Position, Speed, Look

  1. Use your mirrors to check the road is clear

  2. Look round to check your blind spots (anywhere not covered by your mirrors)

  3. Signal your intention

  4. Do a final check that it’s safe to go

  5. Press the accelerator gently and steer carefully to position the car into the centre of the lane on the the correct side of the road.

  6. Release the clutch slowly as you accelerate

  7. Make progress so you’re not a hazard, changing to second gear as soon as possible

  8. Keep Looking around and making regular checks in your mirrors.

During your test, your examiner will probably ask you to pull over several times and then move off again. Follow the same process every time and don’t forget your observation, they tend to look for repeated faults so remember the sequence – MSPSL

Hill starts

Your examiner may also ask you to do a hill start during your test. A hill start might sound harder, but if you use all of the same steps you’ll be just fine.

Remember: your car could take longer to accelerate when you’re doing a hill start, so make sure you’ve got enough time to safely make progress without being a hazard to other drivers.

If you’ve stopped on a hill, hopefully you’ve remembered to use your handbrake / Parking brake. Remember to check you’ve put your car in first gear, then find your biting point.

Next, take care of all of your checks and gently come off your clutch, pushing on your accelerator as you take off the handbrake. You might need to push on your accelerator a bit harder on a hill start than on flat ground, so don’t be scared to give it some oomph! If you are interested in learning to drive then please call Simon at 4front Driving School on 07905657229

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