Question Topic: Alertness
When moving off, you need to do so safely without creating a hazard for yourself or other road users. To move off safely, your action should not cause other road users to have to change their speed or direction. This is true whether you are behind a parked car or not. However, when parked behind a parked car it is important to be extra vigilant as your view and other roads users’ view of you may be potentially obscured. You will usually be asked to pull up at least once during your driving test to check you can move off safely. To move off safely, you should follow the prepare, observe, and move routine.
What is the prepare, observe, and move routine?
This routine involves three stages:
When preparing to move you should ensure the clutch is pressed all the way to the floor and you are in first gear. With the hand brake still applied you can find the biting point by easing off the clutch and pressing the gas.
Check your interior mirrors and external mirrors to check that the road behind and around you looks clear. You should also check your blind spots – if moving off from the left these will be the front right of your bonnet (obstructed by your windscreen pillar) and over your right shoulder. You must check these blind spots in particular for vulnerable road users such as pedestrians and cyclists who may be harder to see.
When you are sure the road is clear for you to move off without causing anyone to adjust their speed or change direction you should consider signalling if it will benefit other road users. You may then release the handbrake, ease off the clutch and steer into position.
Theory Test Question
Have you answered the theory test question: what should you do when moving off from behind a parked car? Let’s consider each answer in turn to check your understanding.
Give a signal after moving off
Wrong! If you signal after you already move you could cause an accident as other road users will not be able to see your intentions before you have acted on them.
Check both interior and exterior mirrors
Correct! Before moving off, you should always use both your interior and exterior mirrors to check the road is clear. Remember to check your blind spots and signal if necessary for other road users.
Use the exterior mirrors only
Wrong! You will not be able to see clearly enough that the road is clear for you to move-off safely if you only use your exterior mirrors.
Look around after moving off
Wrong! It is important to look around you and at your blind spots before moving off. If you look around to your blind spots after moving off you may cause an accident.
In section 5 of the official DVSA guide to driving, it states:
To prepare to move off
- With your right foot, press the accelerator slightly and hold it steady.
- Slowly and smoothly, let up the clutch pedal until you hear the engine noise change slightly. This change means the clutch is at the biting point (see later in this section). With experience, you’ll be able to feel the biting point.
- Hold the clutch steady in this position.
- Now make your final safety checks, use your mirrors and look over your right shoulder to check the blind spot.
- Decide if a signal is necessary. The timing of any signal is crucial. Avoid waiting with the clutch at biting point.
- If it’s safe to move off, be ready to release the parking brake.
- Look round again if necessary and keep an eye on your mirrors.
- When you’re sure it’s safe and convenient to move off, release the parking brake and at the same time, let the clutch pedal come up a little more. The vehicle will begin to move. Tight clutch control is needed, so keep the clutch pedal just above the biting point.
Rule 159 of the Highway Code states:
- use all mirrors to check the road is clear
- look round to check the blind spots (the areas you are unable to see in the mirrors)
- signal if necessary before moving out
- look round for a final check.
Move off only when it is safe to do so.