So you are late for work, you jump in the car , it’s early no traffic in your road , you start the car , select 1st gear go to move off and then look in the drivers side mirror ….Bang ! Too late you’ve started to move off without sufficient observation and Fred on his bike was riding his bicycle in your blind spot ! He’s now laying in the road next to his bike and not best pleased !
So what’s the correct procedure ?
Remember the cockpit drill ?
Doors check they are secure , by looking along the sides of the car in the side mirrors . Give your drivers door a tug .
Seat check your seat position is good and comfortable . Is the head restraint in the best position for you ( top should be level with top of your head).
Steering if adjustable check it’s at the correct position for you, check it’s secure.
Seat belt check it works? Give it a tug ( it should lock up under pressure). Are there any cuts or frays ( if so it needs replacing ). Check it isn’t twisted as you put it on . If it’s adjustable on the door pillar is the belt in the correct position for you. Never tuck the belt under your arm unless you want lots of broken ribs and a punctured lung in a collision .
Mirrors Are they adjusted correctly . It’s too late once you are on the slip road or turning left when you go to use a side mirror and you realise someone has knocked it out of position .
Remember take a head check , how do you feel , note how rushing affected the scenario above . Have you considered weather, road and traffic conditions and how they may affect your driving and journey.
Now you can do the mechanics …get the car ready to go , check for warning lights and there’s enough fuel for the journey.
All this has probably taken you less than a minute or two and could potentially prevent injury/ damage to you or another road user and reduce the risk of an unexpected break down .
So back to moving off . Ensure you are ready to move off . Can you see ahead ? It may be necessary to reverse first to increase your vision ahead around other parked vehicles . If so ensure you include physically looking behind before and during reversing in addition to the following .
Check the left or right blindspots as you complete a mirror look (sweep ) from left to centre to right or right to centre to left depending on which side of the road you are on . If it appears to be clear do not move off until you have checked over your shoulder looking where the most danger is …..the way you are moving out, so left shoulder moving away from the right side of the road, right shoulder for moving away from the left .
WHY ? You must cover the blindspot . This will stop you from hitting Fred ( presuming you look and see) . If it’s safe off you go . If you can’t go then re do the routine . If it’s a wide road or you are having to edge around another vehicle do further looks as you move out . Once on the move check your centre mirror for an update of what’s behind
The mirrors don’t see everything !
A further ‘danger’ would be road users crossing / turning within/ into the blindspots.
Moving off straight ahead in traffic / traffic light junctions , keep aware of your surroundings , who could be next to you or approaching ? Cyclists, pedestrians, mopeds , so use side mirror checks . You don’t want any surprises !