Moving Off and Stopping

Stopping a vehicle involves more than just pressing the brake pedal and bringing the vehicle to a halt. When stopping a vehicle at the side of the road, you should aim to pull up close and parallel to the kerb (side of road).

 When stopping your vehicle, you will need to ensure that you stop somewhere safe, legal and convenient. Just as there is a routine for moving off, there is also a routine for stopping. In fact, the method for stopping uses a routine that will be at the heart of almost everything you do when you are behind the wheels  – The ‘Mirrors, Signal, Manoeuvre’ routine.

 When stopping your vehicle, do not park where you will create a hazard to other road users i.e. on or near a bend, a brow of a hill, too close to junctions etc. 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.


1.   Apply the ‘Mirrors, Signal, Manoeuvre’ (M-S-M) routine for stopping your vehicle. Check your interior mirror and right door mirror to ensure it is safe to stop.

2.   Decide whether you need to signal your intention to stop, signal if it will benefit other road users.

3.   Looking well ahead, select a safe, legal and convenient place on the right hand side to stop your vehicle.

 4.   Take your right foot ‘off gas’ (accelerator) pedal, the engine will slow down, and pivoting your right foot on its hill, immediately ‘cover’ the brake pedal, lift your left foot and ‘cover’ the clutch pedal.


5.   Turn the steering wheel from 12 o’clock to 1o’clock until the kerb lines up with our reference point (the mid-point of your dashboard), then turn the steering wheel to 11 o’clock and back straight to 12 o’clock.

6.   Apply light pressure to the brake pedal with your right foot to slow the vehicle and then more firmly.

 7.   With your left foot depress the clutch fully to the floor just before the vehicle stops, disengaging the engine from the driving wheels and to ensure that you don’t stall.


8.   Ease the pressure off the footbrake just as the vehicle stops.


9.   Finally, make the car safe by applying the handbrake to secure the vehicle, to ensure that the vehicle does not move, then ensure that you put the gear lever into neutral, cancel your signal if you applied one, and then remove both feet from the pedals.

 In next week’s article we shall be discussing approaching junctions to turn right using the Mirror, Signal, Position, Speed and Look routine (M-S-P-S-L routine). For further explanations or clarification on the articles in the Essential Skills of Driving column, consult the author.


Stephen K. Dieseruvwe

Director General, Delta State Traffic Management Authority (DESTMA)

**Driver Trainer and Road Safety Consultant


**Tel: +2348167814928

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