Sunday, 13 October 2013

Approaching Junctions to Turn Left (Major Road to Minor Road)

Previously, you will have learned about the MSM routine. It is used again here, but is extended to Mirror, Signal, Position, Speed, Look (MSPSL). When approaching a side road on the left to turn into it, do the following:

Mirror – look at the inside and left mirrors
Signal – always signal, even if you can’t see anyone
Position – maintain the normal driving position
Speed – most of the time you will be at 10-15 mph when turning and will therefore be in 2nd gear, but assess each junction as you approach; occasionally, 3rd or 1st will be more appropriate. Make sure your clutch is fully up before you turn. If it is down (coasting) you can’t brake as effectively or accelerate at all and the car may drift wide around the corner.
Look – as you reach the corner, check the inside and left mirrors again, look ahead for vehicles turning in front of you (it’s your priority but folks can be cheeky) and into the side road for any hazards.

After entering the new road, have another look in the inside mirror to see what has followed you into it.

Common Faults

The speed should reduce gradually on approach rather than braking harshly at the last moment or too early so that you have to accelerate a bit to reach the side road.

Leaving the clutch down as you turn can feel safer but, as you are not in control of the car when it is down, it is anything but. 

If you find you are turning too much or not enough, it may be that you are looking just ahead of you a few metres in front of the car. Try looking further down the road at where you want the car to be.

Sunday, 6 October 2013

Use of Signals

The main factor in deciding whether to signal or not is to ask yourself “Is there anyone around who can benefit from a signal?” when approaching a junction, a signal should always be given in case there is someone unseen who then appears that needs to know what you are about to do, otherwise use your own judgement. 

The whole point of a signal is to help other road users so be careful about the timing of signals. If you signal one second before hitting the brakes, others won’t have time to respond and plan their own actions, but if you signal a long time before taking any action, no-one will know what you are doing. Similarly, don’t signal to stop before a junction if you are stopping after it

Common Faults

Most of the time, the signal will cancel itself, but there are occasions when there is not enough opposite lock to trigger the cancellation e.g. leaving a roundabout. It’s always worth checking that it has been switched off.

It’s very easy to signal only if you see someone behind as most signals are applied immediately after looking in the mirrors. However, we need to signal to any road user who may be helped by it so don’t forget to consider those ahead and to the side of you.