Sunday, 1 December 2013

Emerging Left (Minor Road to Major Road)

The MSPSL routine comes into play again here. This time, there is a greater possibility of having to give way to traffic as the traffic on the major road has priority over you.

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 – the approach speed will depend on the view you have as you approach the junction so you help yourself a lot if you start looking as you start braking. If the view is good, you may be able to stay in 2nd gear if there is no-one to give way to. If the view is bad or the road is busy, you will need 1st gear. The less you can see the slower you will have to go as the stopping distance will be shorter.
Look – as mentioned above, you help yourself a lot if you start looking as you start braking. You may not see much at first, but you will build up a gradual picture as you get closer, seeing each hazard one at a time. You will be able to make an informed, unhurried decision. If you wait until the last minute to look, you will see everything all at once and will be forced to make a rushed decision and only have a short amount of time to act on it. If you decide to use 1st, make sure your speed is just under 10mph when you change and bring the clutch to bite after changing. You can then creep safely forwards under clutch control to get a better view while being able to stop quickly but safely if you spot another vehicle. 

Common Faults
It is very tempting to only look left as that is perceived to be the only place where trouble could come from. However, this will prevent you seeing any hazards on the left, such as a parked car or someone crossing the road. It is also more difficult to steer accurately if you are not looking where you are going :-0 The result? An unexpected excursion on to the other side of the road as you turn.

The timing of the gear change is important. Changing too early into 1st will mean crawling up to the junction at a snail’s pace. Changing too late will make turning more difficult. Wait until you have a rough idea which gear you will need before changing rather than making an assumption. If you are not sure which gear to use, ask yourself this question as you approach the junction; “Can I make my decision (to stop or go) yet?” The answer to this question will tell you which gear you need.