Best driving practice-Mirror Signal Manoeuvre

Mirror Signal Manoeuvre is a system to develop best driving practice.

But, it can be a lot to learn for new drivers, especially when it’s broken down into it’s core parts of Mirror, Signal, Manoeuvre, where the manoeuvre element consists of Position-Speed-Look, followed by Assess-Decide and Act, MSPSLADA.

Phew, no wonder most learners feel bamboozled when they first start to learn this sequence.

MSM is a drivers systemised approach to every change needed to be made while driving.

Without correct use of the MSM system, a driver can unknowingly leave a trail of carnage behind them.

In the year ending 2018, there were 26,610 killed or seriously injured casualties in road traffic accidents reported to the police. Source department of transport.

A vehicle in the wrong hands is a deadly instrument. The destruction and devastation that accidents cause has taken the many lives of children and adults, and has decimated many families.

People don’t go out to cause accidents, they happen because of a lack of concentration, planning or awareness.

I sure that every time you or a family member go out on a drive, you never think that you might not return home, after all if that were the case many of us wouldn’t go out at all.

But, most of these accidents could be avoided with just one simple system.

You’ve heard it mentioned so many times, Mirror Signal Manoeuvre, but in simple terms it means Look Before You Do, and Let Others Know What You Intend to Do!

So, how can this simple system called Mirror Signal Manoeuvre save lives?  

Okay let’s look at an example. Let’s say you are travelling on a straight road, with no other vehicles, pedestrians or hazards, and you are travelling at 30mph.

In this situation there would be little requirement to use MSM, because there’s no one around and you don’t intent to change speed or direction.

But if there was a cyclist ahead of you, and vehicles following behind you then things would be different.

So, lets imagine you first you see the cyclist, next you look behind and see the following cars, you signal to tell them that you intend to move out to pass the cyclist, and then if it’s safe to do so you complete the manoeuvre and pass the cyclist.

That’s how MSM works.

So, what do you think could happen if you didn’t use MSM routine and just moved out to pass the cyclist?

Remember we are on a long straight road with following traffic. The driver behind you is travelling faster than you and can see there’s no oncoming vehicles, so decides to overtake you.

He can’t see is the cyclist ahead of you because you are blocking his view.

So, now he’s made a decision to overtake you at the same time you have decided to move out and pass the cyclist, what happens next?

Scenario 1: You move across to the right not realising that you are being overtaken, forcing the driver of the passing vehicle to swerve to avoid you, in doing so the driver panics and loses control of the car, and his vehicle collides into a tree on the right of the carriageway.

What could be the result for the driver of the passing vehicle?

Scenario 2: You move out to pass the cyclist slamming into the side of the passing vehicle, you lose control and swerve and collide into the cyclist.

What could be the result for the cyclist?

Scenario 3: You move out to pass the cyclist, the driver who is passing you sounds his horn, you realise last minute that you are being overtaken but by then its too late and you still hit the cyclist.

Again, what could be the result for the cyclist?

But the mirror and signal are just part of the MSM routine, so looking at the previous example of passing a cyclist, here’s how to implement the manoeuvre part of the sequence.

Manoeuvre is broken down to position, speed and look, so you have seen the cyclist checked the mirrors both centre and right door and see the vehicle passing you.

Manoeuvre: So, you slow down and signal right as the passing vehicle comes alongside you. Signalling here isn’t going to be seen by the passing driver, but it warns others behind that you want to move right.

As soon as the passing vehicle is clear, and the following traffic have seen and obeyed your signal, you can then move out to the right giving plenty of clearance to the cyclist. You might consider increasing your speed to get by the cyclist briskly, especially because you’ve slowed while the overtaking vehicle passed you.

As soon as you are ahead of the cyclist, use your interior and left door mirror to check you are clear and its safe to move back to normal driving position.

MSM it’s such a simple yet very effective routine but easily forgotten, which is why so many accidents occur daily on our roads.

Do you ever stop to think how do we survive on todays crowded roads.

You can only hope and pray that the other drivers sharing the same roads you are travelling on are competent drivers who practice the Mirror – Signal – Manoeuvre routine.

Anticipation: The “What if” part of driving!

Well, there’s another blog dedicated to this subject. But anticipating people performing a manoeuvre without checking the mirror or signalling their intentions, is a skill you’ll also need to get good at if you want to make it home at the end of the day unscathed.

So, make MSM a systemised sequence before you do anything when driving.

So, remember keep it simple and “Look Before You Do”.

Keep Safe.