Moving the car off for the very first time has to be one of the most exciting and memorable moments for a new learner. Complete attention and concentration on your driving instructor’s advice and instructions is very important for taking the right decisions on time while driving. In this exercise, you will be taken to a quiet road or an oval shaped crescent with few parked vehicles. Instructor will talk you through any traffic situations that can occur and also about turning corners taking care that minimal inconvenience is caused to other road users. Instructor may use the dual controls or take hold of the steering wheel in case of unintentional mistakes that happen using the lesson. You will be explained why a particular action was taken by the instructor so that you can make a note of it while learning to drive.

Moving off is easy provided you follow the POM routine.

Prepare : Getting the car ready to move off.

Observe : Making sure it is safe to move off.

Move : Co-ordinating the controls properly.

The ‘Safety line’: This is the correct road position. Decide the safest distance to be from the kerb, or what clearance must be given to obstructions in the road, such as parked vehicles.

When moving off the most important places to look are all the mirrors (interior rear view mirror, exterior mirrors), the offside blindspot and the direction of travel. A nearside blindspot check is also necessary. Dry runs meaning running through the first attempt of the routines with the engine switched off. The change of gears can be initially practised without the engine switched on. Emphasis must be given on co-ordinating use of the clutch (biting point) with the accelerator (gas) correctly especially taking care of not rolling back on an uphill start.

Moving Away Safely M-S-M

  • Check mirrors well before
  • Signalling
  • Changing Direction
  • Changing speed
  • Overtaking
  • Mirrors Visions and Use
  • Offside blindspot 

Moving Away Under Control

  • Pre Starting Checks
  • Level road - Up and downhill starts
  • Angle starts - Steering
  • Gear Changing 

Stopping Normally (M-S-M)

  • Pull up in a safe position with proper use of the controls

When moving off the most important places to look are all the mirrors (interior rear view mirror, exterior mirrors), the offside blindspot and the direction of travel. A nearside blindspot check is also necessary. Dry runs meaning running through the first attempt of the routines with the engine switched off. The change of gears can be initially practised without the engine switched on. Emphasis must be given on co-ordinating use of the clutch (biting point) with the accelerator (gas) correctly especially taking care of not rolling back on an uphill start.

Moving away and making normal stops:

Pre-start checks and turn on ignition. Press the clutch down and select first gear. Press down slightly on the accelerator and hold your foot steady, there should be enough power to hear the engine rev but not roar. Find the biting point by gradually easing up off the clutch until the car dips slightly and the engine noise drops. Keep your left foot still.

Before you move off, look in your rear view and door mirrors and check over your right shoulder to make sure there is no danger in your blindspot. Think very carefully about whether you need to signal or not. Release the handbrake and let the clutch up slowly, allowing you to move off. Before you prepare to pull over, make sure it is safe to do so.

Check the rear view mirror and then door mirrors. Give a signal if there is traffic close behind you, or let road users ahead know of your intentions and slow your speed by easing your foot off the accelerator.

When pulling over, steer close and parallel to the kerb. Then brake gently, until you have completely stopped, pressing down on the clutch as you do so. Secure the car by applying the handbrake, select neutral and turn off the signal indicator if given. Care should be taking while stopping the vehicle, if you are too far, you could be an obstruction to passing road users but if your tyres scrape or touch the kerb, you are putting the safety of the vehicle’s wheels at risk. Avoid positioning your car where you might cause inconvenience to someone such as parking in front of a driveway or near any kind of crossing or junction.

Below are the steps on securely moving away and stopping:

Stopping Just before/ past the lamp post on the left

  • Prepare
    • Handbrake applied
    • Gear lever in neutral
    • Start engine (release key as soon as it starts)
    • Clutch down (keep it dowm)
    • Left hand on gear lever
    • Select first gear
    • Set gas
  • Observe
    • Check mirrors
    • Check blind spots
    • Check road ahead
    • Check mirrors again
    • Indicate right (if necessary)
  • Manoeuvre
    • Release handbrake (when safe)
    • Slowly cluch up
    • When the car moves - keep your feet still Steering

Safety Line

  • Steer (slightly) right, then
  • Steer (slightly) left to the safety line
  • Slowly clutch up fully
  • Left foot on the floor
  • Check mirrors
  • A little more gas (if safe) 

Starting on a level road

  • Check mirrors
  • Indicate left (if necessary)
  • Cover brake
  • Steer (slightly) left towards the kerb
  • Steer right to a safe parking position
  • Gently brake
  • Clutch down
  • Gently brake to a stop - keep your feet still
  • Apply handbrake
  • Select neutral - rest feet
  • Cancel signal (if given)
  • Switch the engine off

Frequently asked questions

  1. Recap on clutch control to ensure a safe and smooth drive.
    When you press the clutch pedal you disconnect this link and therefore the engine runs freely without any drive. When you move off, you need to learn to bring the clutch into play so that the engine can drive the car. This takes practise and the more you have the better you will become at moving off and gear changing smoothly.
  2. Before starting the engine what safety checks must you make? 
    • Check whether all the doors are closed and particularly whether you have properly closed your door. 
    • Ensure that you can easily and comfortably reach and operate all the main controls of the car (i.e. the steering wheel and each of the foot controls). 
    • Check that you can take clear observations to the front of the car through the windscreen and to the rear of the car via the mirrors. 
    • Checked your mirrors to make sure they are properly adjusted 
    • Fastened your seatbelt and that it is not twisted 
    • Checked the handbrake to see if it is on 
    • Checked the gear lever to see if it is in neutral or if driving an automatic to see if the gear lever is in park (P) or neutral (N) position.

Food for thought – (You should give a think to the below and discuss this with your instructor)

How will you co-ordinate the controls to move away?

Where will you need to look before moving off?

How will you judge the distance from the pavement as you are moving along?

Where will you stop and how far from the kerb should you be?

Lesson no: 
3

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