Moving Away and Stopping

Every time you drive you will need to move away and stop your car. So it is very important that you can do this safely for your safety and that of other road users.
To understand how to move off and stop your car safely, to understand how to park your car safely.
  • To understand the importance of the Mirror, Signal, Manoeuvre routine
  • To understand blind spots and how to check them
  • To assist you to understand suitable stopping places
  • To know where you cannot park your car
  • To be able to park on a road
  • To be able to park on a hill

There is a view that driving is all about how we solve the problems of getting from A to B.

This section will have some of the routines to safely help you solve these problems.

They are all about being safe.

Prepare, Observe, Manoeuvre (POM) Routine:

This is our routine for moving away from a stand still.

We need to be able to do this at an angle from behind a car or some obstruction and on a hill.


  • This will normally involve selecting our gear, first if going forward and reverse if moving backwards.
  • Set the gas and find the bite.
  • Prepare the handbrake by holding up with the button in.


We need to look to ensure it is safe to move off. We should look:

  • Forward to see it is clear
  • Behind to make sure we are not going to drive into the path of another car
  • Blind spot to take care of the unexpected


  • Having looked to see it is safe, we manoeuvre to go:
  • Feet still
  • Release hand brake
  • Steer out smoothly releasing the clutch

Signal as necessary.

A novice driver should signal on releasing the handbrake as they will not be moving out into traffic.

A more experienced driver may be signalling to tell the traffic that they want to move out. And they are capable of taking the opportunities other drivers give them.

Mirror, Signal, Manoeuvre (MSM) Routine:

MSM checking mirrors

One of the most important routines in driving is the Mirror, Signal, Manoeuvre. This is sometimes referred to as MSM.

Mirrors, Signal, Manoeuvre (MSM).

  • Mirrors to check around your car
  • Signal to show others what you intend to do
  • Manoeuvre is a change of position or speed

Manoeuvre can then be broken down further into,

Position, Speed, Look (PSL).

  • Position, so your car must always be in the right position for your manoeuvre to take place
  • Speed, so you are going at the right speed for your manoeuvre
  • Look, so you can see if what you want to do is safe

Look in turn can be broken down to,

Look, assess, decide and act (LADA).

  • Look, what you can see
  • Assess, what are your options
  • Decide, choose the best option after looking
  • Act, do what’s best

Always use the Mirror, Signal, Manoeuvre routine before any change of speed or direction. In general they should be used when:

  • moving off
  • Signalling
  • Changing direction
  • Turning left or right
  • Overtaking or changing lanes
  • Slowing down or stopping

When using Mirror, Signal, Manoeuvre remember it’s your way of communicating with the other drivers and road users.

Using your mirrors tells you if someone is to close or trying to get round you. If you were driving along, knowing there was a big lorry on your tail would affect how you deal with what’s in front of you. Also if you were about to turn in, knowing you had a bicycle on the inside should make you wait.

Signals tell everyone around you what you are going to do. Just because you have signalled doesn’t mean you can do what you want. You have to make sure it’s safe. Signalling is really useful and help to draw attention to what people want to do.

Blind Spots:

Checking blind spot

Blind spots are areas that cannot be seen using your mirrors or cannot be seen during normal forward vision.

Different cars may have larger blind spots than others. The bodywork of the vehicle may cause blind spots in the mirrors of your car.

Before moving off always look over your right shoulder to check the blind spot (as well as using your mirrors.)

When opening your car door always look behind you, do not rely entirely on you mirrors. A cyclist or pedestrian could be hidden from view.

Where Can You Park:

Bad parking

Always ensure you stop your car in a suitable place, where it is legally stopped and does not cause an obstruction or danger to other road users or pedestrians.

Do not stop your car:

  • On a bend/corner
  • Not too close to a junction on the left of the road
  • Not opposite a junction on the right side of the road
  • On double yellow lines
  • In a parking prohibited zone like a disabled space
  • Over someone’s driveway
  • Anywhere it may cause a danger or obstruction

When parking your car (particularly on the side of the road) always ask yourself the following questions:

  • Is it a safe place to park
  • Is this a legal place to park
  • Is this convenient and practical

The safe question has two parts to it. Your personal safety. Is there good lighting if you will be coming back to your car after dark. Will your car cause a possible obstruction or danger to others. Will you be safe getting in and out of your car here.

For the legal part if it is illegal it is probably unsafe as well. Make sure you know your signs and lines.

For practical and convenient this means for other people as well.

There are certain places where you must not park your car these include:

  • On the approach to pedestrian crossings
  • School entrances
  • Near junctions (either opposite or within 10 metres)
  • On double yellow lines
  • On a bend
  • Anywhere that might prevent access for the emergency services
  • Anywhere restricted (always remember that different restrictions may apply at different times of day, look for signs for more information.)
Parking On The Road:

Parking at side of road

Always use your Mirror, Signal, Manoeuvre routine before you park your car.

Try to park close to the kerb, but avoid touching the kerb with your tyres as this can damage them.

Do not park very close to other vehicles, as this may make it difficult for you or them to get out of the parking space.

Once parked turn off your engine and headlights. Before leaving your car make sure that it’s in gear and your parking brake is applied.

Never leave your car in any location where it could cause an obstruction.

When parking your car on a road at night time, you must not park facing the direction of traffic flow. This is unless you are in a recognised parking space.

When parking your car always:

  • Plan your parking
  • Manoeuvre slowly
  • Look out for pedestrians and cyclists
  • Be careful when opening your door to exit the car, look for motorcycles and cyclists.
Parking On a Hill:

Parking on a hill

Parking on a hill can be more difficult than parking on flat roads. When parking always leave a bigger gap to help you and other vehicles manoeuvre.

Parking facing uphill.

  • Park your car as close as you can to the near side kerb
  • Leave your steering wheel turned to the right – if your car does roll backwards the kerb will stop the front wheels
  • If there is no kerb leave your steering wheel turned to the left
  • Leave your car in first gear with the parking brake firmly applied

Parking facing downhill.

  • Leave your steering wheel turned to the left – if your car does roll forward the kerb will stop the front wheels
  • Leave your vehicle in reverse gear with the parking brake firmly applied
You should know:

  • What MSM means and how to apply it
  • Where to look to check your blind spot
  • How to choose a safe place to stop
  • What is not a safe place to stop
  • How to park on a hill
Further Reading:
The Highway Code Rule(s): 103,159-161, 238-252

Driving The Essential Skills: Section(s) 5


What’s in the driving syllabus?

Click on a topic below to get started.
Please note this syllabus should be used with a professional driving instructor.

Cockpit Drill

Safety Checks

Controls and Instruments
Moving Away and Stopping
Safe Position
Mirrors Vision and Use
Anticipation and Planning
Use of Speed
Other Traffic
Dual Carriageway
Motorway Driving
Country Roads
Pedestrian Crossings
Turning the Vehicle Around
Emergency Stop
Independent Drive
Fuel-Efficient Driving
Passengers and Loads