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Learning to drive involves mastering several key skills, of which moving off and stopping is fundamental. These skills are not only essential for passing the driving test but are crucial for safe driving practices throughout a driver's life. This article will guide you through the processes involved in both moving off and stopping a car, including the Preparation, Observation, and Manoeuvre (POM) routine for moving off and the Mirror, Signal, Position, Speed, Look (MSPSL) routine for stopping. It will answer key questions related to these driving techniques. 

Moving off and Stopping: 

Moving Off: 


Before moving off, a driver should ensure the car is ready to be driven. This involves checking the vehicle's gear is in neutral (for manual cars), starting the engine, and then preparing to move. In a manual car, this means pressing the clutch down fully, selecting first gear, and gently pressing the accelerator to reach the biting point where the engine starts to engage with the gearbox. For automatic cars, this preparation involves shifting the gear selector to 'D' (Drive) while holding the brake pedal down. 


Observation is critical before moving off. Drivers must perform a thorough check of their surroundings, including all mirrors and blind spots. A clockwise check starting from the left shoulder blind spot, progressing to the left mirror, rear-view mirror, right mirror, and finishing with the right shoulder blind spot ensures no cyclists, pedestrians, or other vehicles are in immediate proximity. 


Moving off requires a smooth coordination of releasing the handbrake while gradually releasing the clutch (in a manual car) and gently applying the accelerator. The car should move off smoothly without jerking or stalling. For automatic cars, this involves releasing the brake and gently pressing the accelerator. 

Do you signal when moving off? 

Yes, if moving off could affect other road users, signalling is necessary to indicate your intention. This is especially important when moving off from behind a parked car, where visibility might be limited for both you and other road users. 

How do you move off in first gear? How do you pull away in a manual car? 

In first gear, slowly release the clutch until you find the biting point, then gently apply the accelerator. As the car begins to move, continue to release the clutch fully and increase the accelerator pressure to move off smoothly. 

What is POM routine in driving? 

POM stands for Prepare, Observe, Manoeuvre. It's a routine that emphasizes preparing the vehicle, observing your surroundings, and then executing the manoeuvre to move off safely. 


What routine should I use when stopping my car? How do I stop smoothly? 

The MSPSL routine (Mirror, Signal, Position, Speed, Look) should be used. To stop smoothly, begin by checking your mirrors, then signal if necessary. Choose your stopping position carefully, reduce speed gradually, and keep looking around for any changes. Use both the brake and the clutch (in a manual car) appropriately to ensure a smooth stop. 


Checking your mirrors is the first step in the stopping process. You need to be aware of the traffic behind and around you to make informed decisions about when and where to stop. 


Signalling your intention to stop is vital if it will affect other road users. This helps maintain safety and smooth traffic flow. 


Choose a safe, legal, and convenient place to stop, away from junctions, bends, or any other potentially hazardous spots. 


Reduce your speed gradually. If in a manual car, downshift through the gears as you slow down to aid with braking. 


Always keep looking around for hazards or changes in the traffic situation as you prepare to stop. 

How do you brake properly in a car? Do you brake first then clutch? 

Proper braking involves a smooth, gradual application of the brake pedal. In a manual car, you should brake first to reduce speed and then press the clutch down fully to prevent stalling just before the car comes to a complete stop. 
In summary, mastering the POM and MSPSL routines will not only help you pass your driving test but will also contribute to safer driving practices. These routines ensure that you're always prepared, aware of your surroundings, and capable of executing smooth manoeuvres and stops. 
If this all sounds overwhelming, join our online theory test course today to get ready for success. 
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