Before you start
Is your handbrake on?
Are you in neutral?
Before you move off, it's worth taking a moment to think about how much of a turn you give your steering wheel to change the direction of travel of your car.
Imagine your steering wheel is a clockface marked out in minutes. You can then think of a complete turn of the wheel as an entire 60-minute revolution of the clock. On this scale a half-turn is 30 minutes, a quarter-turn is 15 minutes, and smaller movements are 5 or 10-minute turns of the clock.
In the instructions that follow, we refer to turns of the steering wheel in terms of minutes on that 60-minute clockface.
Safe parking position
If this is your first time driving on the road, your instructor will have parked the car about a tyre's width away from the kerb. Note where the line of the kerb cuts across the windscreen. You should aim for the same position whenever you come to a stop at the side of the road.
Prepare • Observe • Manoeuvre (POM sequence)
Get into the habit of preparing before you look round. That way all your observations are fresh and relevant. If you look before you sort out the clutch and gears, conditions may have changed by the time you come to move off.
1 Press the clutch to the floor
2 Choose your gear – remember the palming technique [see Controls]
3 Gently press the accelerator – push your foot down by just a single £1-coin-thickness.
4 Raise the clutch slowly to biting point when you hear the tell-tale drop in engine sound (remember those steady £1-coin-thickness steps)
Look into your mirrors to see if anything is coming from behind (pedestrians, animals, other vehicles) that might stop you moving off.
Look for a safe gap in the traffic. That's one in which you can move out without causing any other driver or cyclist to slow down, swerve, or stop (known as the three S's).
When the road is clear or you have your safe gap, do a six-point check of your surroundings. Do the checks in sequential, left-right order:
1 left blind spot
2 left side mirror
4 rear-view mirror
5 right side mirror
6 right blind spot
Signal (only if anyone is around who would find it helpful)
1 Release the parking brake.
2 As the car starts to move, slowly raise the clutch (in those steady £1-coin-thickness steps) while keeping the accelerator steady. Keep the pressure on the accelerator steady. Don't apply any extra pressure until the clutch is fully raised.
3 Steer to the right using 15 and 30-minute turns of the wheel. Then straighten up by steering to the left in 15 and 30-minute turns until the left side of your car is running parallel to the kerb and about a metre away from it.
4 Stay about 1 metre from the left-hand kerb. Note where the line of the kerb cuts across your windscreen. Get used to keeping the kerb in that position.
5 Cancel your signal if it's still ticking.
6 Look into your mirrors to see what's happening behind you.