ESSENTIAL SKILLS ARTICLE
ByÂ Stephen Dieseruvwe
There are simple routines to help you in every aspect of driving. Moving a vehicle from a stationary position demands careful co-ordination of clutch and accelerator pedals. To move off safely, you must do so without creating a hazard to other road users, therefore when moving off you must avoid causing anyone to change their speed or direction because of your actions. To move off safely, follow the Prepare-Observe-Move routine (P.O.M routine). Each aspect of this routine is explained below and you will need to practice the routine for as long as necessary to ensure that each aspect becomes second nature.
Prepare (Preparing the car)
1. Â Take the safety precautions, checking handbrake is on and gear is in neutral.
2. Â Start the engine.
3. Â Press the clutch down to the floor, as far as it will go and keep it down.
4. Â Select first gear. To select first gear, palm the gear level towards you (driver), hold still and push up.
5. Â Set the gas. Press the accelerator or gas pedal slightly to increase the sound of the engine until you get a lively hum and then hold the pedal absolutely still. This will ensure that the vehicle has enough power to move without stalling once the handbrake is released and the clutch pedal comes up.
6. Â Slowly bring the clutch up until the sound of the engine drops slightly and then keep both feet absolutely still; this is called the â€˜biting pointâ€™.
Â Observe (Mirrors and Signal)
Before you move, make sure that it is absolutely safe to do so, by checking your interior mirror, door mirrors and looking around to check your blind spots.
1. Â Make all-round observation by completing a â€˜six-point-check. The six point check is an easy way to remind yourself of the areas that you need to check to ensure that it is safe to move. The areas to check are:
-Â Â Â Â Your right shoulder (right blind spot)
-Â Â Â Â The right (nearside) door mirror
-Â Â Â Â The interior or rear view mirror
-Â Â Â Â The road ahead
-Â Â Â Â The left (offside) door mirror
-Â Â Â Â Your left shoulder (left blind spot)
By checking the points above you will know what is happening all around your vehicle.
2. Â Signal, if anyone will benefit and return your hand to the handbrake.Â
1. Â When you are sure it is safe to move, look over your left shoulder again to check your left blind spot and release the handbrake and at the same time, let the clutch pedal come up a little more.
2. Â As you start to increase speed, turn the steering wheel slightly to the left to take up a safe driving position in the road, approximately one metre or one door length from the kerb (or side of the road). To achieve the safe driving position, turn the steering wheel from 12 oâ€™clock to the left to 11 oâ€™clock, when you are approximately a metre away from the kerb one car door length), turn the steering wheel to the right to 1 oâ€™clock and then straighten the steering wheel to 12 oâ€™clock.
3. Â Gently increase the pressure on the accelerator or gas pedal for more speed, then bring the clutch fully up gently and smoothly and rest your left foot on the floor
4. Â Cancel your signal, if you applied one.
5. Â Press the gas pedal to pick up speed and look well ahead as you change through your gears.
Stephen K. Dieseruvwe
Director General, Delta State Traffic Management Authority (DESTMA)
**Driver Trainer and Road Safety Consultant