Lesson Plans

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The cockpit drill and controls

The Cockpit Drill

You must adopt a suitable driving position before you can use the controls of the car

This is known as the cockpit drill, this is designed to keep you, your passengers, and other road users safe

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Doors

It is the drivers responsibility to make sure all doors are shut correctly

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Seat

You must make sure that the seat is adjusted to suit you. Most driving seats can be adjusted for

  • Rake
  • Position – the seat will move forwards or backwards
  • Sometimes the seat will also adjust for height
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Steering

Check for a suitable grip on the steering wheel, your arms should be relaxed and not restricted at the elbows
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Seat belt

Adjust the seat belt properly. Place the lap belt as low as possible over the hips. Ensure the shoulder belt lies on the chest and over the shoulder.

The driver is responsible for persons 14 and under for the wearing of seat belts
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Mirrors

Using the mirrors has to be part of the basic Mirror-Signal- Manoeuvre routine. You must always know how you’re driving is likely to affect traffic behind you

The Controls

You must be able to reach and use each control easily and comfortably

The foot controls

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Accelerator

The accelerator or gas pedal is operated by the right foot and is positioned on the extreme right of the group of three pedals The accelerator controls the rate at which the mixture of fuel and air is supplied to the engine The name ‘gas pedal’ is commonly used by driving instructors
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Footbrake

The right foot operates the footbrake as well as the accelerator. You shouldn’t need to use both controls at the same time. The footbrake is the middle pedal of the group of three pedals, so the right foot can travel smoothly and quickly from one to the other The footbrake is to slow down or stop the vehicle
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Clutch

The clutch is operated by the left foot and is on the left of the group of three pedals. The clutch is the connection between the engine and the gearbox. It’s a connection over which the driver has control, but which requires practise in its use.
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Handbrake

Sometimes the parking brake is referred to as the handbrake.

The parking brake holds the vehicle still when it is stopped

In most modern cars the parking brake operates on the rear wheels only. If it is applied while the vehicle is moving, there’s a real danger of locking the braked wheels and skidding
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Gears

The gear lever is normally to the left of the driving seat, either on the floor or on a raised console.

The gear lever enables you to change from one gear to another
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Steering wheel

The steering wheel should normally be controlled with both hands

The steering wheel controls the direction in which you want the vehicle to travel
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Indicators

The direction indicator switch is usually on a stalk which may be on either side of the steering column.

The direction indicators enable you to show other road users which direction you intend to take
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Windscreen washers and wipers

The windscreen washer and wiper are usually on the same stalk mounted on the steering column.

Both are essential in bad weather.

The windscreen washers and wipers are to keep the windscreen clear of rain, spray, snow or fog.
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Ignition switch

Usually positioned on the steering column Before starting make sure that

  • The parking brake is on
  • The gear lever is in neutral

Moving off and stopping

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Preparing the car to move

Set the ‘Gas’

Find the ‘ clutch bite’

If on flat road, dip the clutch the thickness of a pound coin to prevent lurching forwards when the handbrake is released

Observation before moving off

Carryout a the 6 point check looking for other road users and pedestrians, and then consider a signal

Manoeuvre

Hand brake down, lift the clutch the thickness of a pound coin at a time to move away under control, steer out to about a metre from the kerb. Once straight check mirrors, ensure signal is cancelled.
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Driving line

Continue on the driving line, about a metre from the kerb.

This keeps pedestrians safe if they are close to the kerb.

Keep looking to the far distance this will help you steer the car in the right direction
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Stopping

Use the MSM Routine to pull up

Mirrors, Check main and left mirror

Signal, Consider a signal if it is necessary

Manoeuvre, Any change of position or speed

Position, About 6-8 inches from the kerb

Speed, Brake first, clutch down at the last moment

Look, Check to see in a safe, convenient, and legal place

Approaching to turn left

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Advanced Information

Look for information about the junction ahead, and the level of difficulty, such as

  • The type of junction
  • The amount of traffic
  • Warning signs
  • Road markings
  • Direction signs
  • ‘Give way’ and ‘stop’ signs
  • Traffic lights
  • A break in the line of buildings
  • Changes in road surface
  • At every junction use the MSM routine
At every junction use the MSM routine
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Mirrors

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When turning left check your mirrors particularly for cyclists and motorcyclists, they are less easy to see
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Signal

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Signal clearly and in good time
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Manoeuvre, Position-Speed-Look

Position your vehicle about 1 metre from the kerb and in good time. Early positioning lets other road users know what you are going to do

If the road has lane markings, use the correct lane for the direction you intend to take, and move into it as soon as you can
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Speed

Left turns into minor roads are often sharper than right turns.

  • Slow down sufficiently
  • Select the correct gear
Or you could swing wide of the corner and finish up on the wrong side of the road
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Look

Look for other traffic when you reach a point from which you can see.

  • Assess the situation
  • Decide to go or wait
  • Act accordingly
Look for pedestrians already crossing, they have priority.

Keep a special look out for cyclists coming up on your left, hold back and allow the cyclist to clear the junction

Take special care when crossing a cycle or bus lane
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After the turn

Check your mirrors so you know what’s following you on the new road

Make sure your signal has cancelled

If it’s safe to do so, speed up as you leave the junction

Approaching to turn right

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Advanced Information

Look for information about the junction ahead, and the level of difficulty, such as

  • The type of junction
  • The amount of traffic
  • Warning signs
  • Road markings
  • Direction signs
  • ‘Give way’ and ‘stop’ signs
  • Traffic lights
  • A break in the line of buildings
  • Changes in road surface
  • At every junction use the MSM routine
At every junction use the MSM routine
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Mirrors

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Check in your mirrors to assess the speed and position of the vehicles behind

 

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Signal

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Signal clearly and in good time

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Position

Move into position early when turning right, it helps other road users

Position yourself as close to the centre of the road as is safe, so that vehicles can pass on your left if there’s room In a one –way street move to the right side of the road when appropriate

If the road has lane markings, use the correct lane for the direction you intend to take, and move into it as soon as you can
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Speed

  • Adjust your speed as necessary
  • Approach at safe speed
  • Select appropriate gear
  • Watch out for oncoming traffic, especially motorcycles and cycles which are less easily seen.
  • Watch particularly for vehicles overtaking oncoming vehicles
  • Stop before you turn if you have any doubt about being able to turn safely

Turning

Check your mirrors for overtaking traffic one final time before you turn. Don’t

  • Cut the corner
  • Accelerate fiercely. Your engine should be just pulling as you turn
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Look

Look for other traffic when you reach a point from which you can see.

  • Assess the situation
  • Decide to go or wait
  • Act accordingly
Look for pedestrians already crossing, they have priority.

Watch for vehicles waiting to emerge from the minor road

Look carefully for anything that could prevent you entering the minor road safely and leave you exposed on the wrong side of the road, risking a serious incident.

You must not cross to the other side of the centre line until you are sure you can enter the minor road safely.
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After the turn

Check your mirrors so you know what’s following you on the new road

Make sure your signal has cancelled

If it’s safe to do so, speed up as you leave the junction

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