Pulling up on the left and moving off

Pulling Up on the Left

Although this is one of the first things you do when learning to drive

(Moving Off and stopping) - You will be tested on this on your driving test.

When they ask you to pull over safely, they'll be carefully assessing how aware you are of your surroundings and how safe your chosen place truly is. Throughout the manoeuvre, they'll be keeping a close eye on your control over the clutch and brake pedals, until the very moment you stop the car, apply the handbrake and switch to neutral.


Pulling Up and Moving Off

Their main focus will be on the following aspects:

  • Awareness and planning: as you prepare to pull over, you will need to use the Mirror, Signal and Manoeuvre (MSM) routine and show an awareness of other road users. You will also need to demonstrate patience and plan ahead when picking a safe place.

  • Judgement: you need to show sound judgement when picking a safe place to pull over, ensuring that it is legal, convenient and doesn't infringe on other road users. You'll also need to make your intentions clear to other road users.

  • Use of mirrors: when pulling over and moving off, you will need to use all of your car mirrors to ensure it's safe. You will also need to check your blindspots carefully for any road users or potential hazards.

  • Accuracy: as you pull over, you will need to demonstrate accuracy when positioning your vehicle parallel to the kerb. You will need to be close to the kerb, without blocking the road for oncoming traffic.

Look and Assess - Safe? Legal? Convenient?

Is it safe?

 This means that you need to stay clear of junctions and bends. You'll also want to avoid parking opposite a bus stop or another parked vehicle, as it will make it difficult for other motorists to move past you.

Is it legal?

When picking a spot, you need to also make sure that it's legal. For instance, you can't park your car within 10 metres of a junction. You also can't park next to a bus stop, in a cycle lane or on double yellows. If you're driving near a school, you'll want to be even more careful with your choice.

Is it convenient?

whether or not it is convenient for other road users. If you park in front of someone's driveway, for example, you could end up blocking them in or out—making it incredibly inconvenient for them.

Always think about how your decision might affect you, your passengers and other road users.


Once you've looked and found a safe, legal and convenient place to pull up, you need to start the MSPSGL routine.

Mirrors - Centre and left - Make sure that no cycles, scooters, e-bike or e-scooters are trying to come up at the left hand side of you

Signal Left - As soon as your signal goes on, any vehicle behind will start to drop back expecting you to pull up or turn.

Position - Bringing it level with and reasonably close to the kerb, by using your focal point (Where the kerb meets the dashboard) and with your wheels straight rather than at an angle.

Speed - Slowing down gradually to a gentle stop rather than just slamming the brake on and doing an emergency stop.

Gears - Usually there is no need to change gear as you are slowing down - However you don't want to put the clutch down early and in effect coast to a stop.

Look - Make sure that you are stopping in the place you intended and not going to far down the road with the left signal on. This would be classed as a confusing signal.


Moving Off

Once you've pulled over safely and stopped, the examiner will tell you to move off when its safe to.

In most cases, they'll say this almost immediately after you've stopped.

You need to be careful here.

This is the part where many learners start to panic and rush, eventually leading them to stalling the car.

Take your time.- They are not saying GO NOW! - But when its safe too.

Moving Off - Preparation

Once you've been asked to move on, take a deep breath, relax and think, lets prepare the car.

So make sure that the car is in 1st gear or in D if you are driving an automatic.

Have your hand on the handbrake ready to release it

Then start the MSPSGL routine

Moving off safely - MSPSGL

Mirrors - Centre - whats coming from behind and how quickly

Right mirror - Is anyone already going past you

Right Shoulder Blindspot - Is anything in the area that your mirrors don't cover?

Signal - Up for right, to let everyone know that you are getting ready to move off

Position - Move across into the centre of your lane

Speed - Try and build the speed up quickly to match the flow of the traffic and the speed limit of the road.

Gears - As you build up speed remember to pick the most appropriate gear for it

Look - Check the mirrors just to make sure no one is trying to overtake as you build up your speed.

Moving Off From Behind A Parked Car

With your view ahead restricted, The main difference is that you're going to have to be even more on the ball with your control over the vehicle. As long as you've left a sizable gap between your vehicle and the one parked in front of you, you should have enough space to manoeuvre out.

Once the examiner has told you to move off, you need to check your mirrors and blindspots before signalling your intention to move.

Then slowly edge out until you can see if its clear and safe to continue

Try to maintain a door's distance from the parked vehicle, all the while keeping an eye on oncoming traffic and your mirrors.

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