Mirror Signal Manoeuvre Routine Explained
The MSM/PSL - routine is fundamental to safe driving. It should be used every time you intend to change your speed or position.
You must start the routine sufficiently in advance of your planned manoeuvre to allow yourself plenty of time to act on what you see in your mirrors.
MSL stands for Mirror-Signal-Manoeuvre. The Manoeuvre part is then extended to mean Position-Speed-Look (PSL).
Mirrors - check your mirrors to assess the speed and position of traffic behind you.
Signal - if necessary, you signal to warn other road users what you intend doing, give the correct signal.
Manoeuvre - a manoeuvre is any change in speed or direction.
The Manoeuvre element is broken down into:
Position - take up the correct position for the manoeuvre you are about to undertake.
Speed - select the suitable gear and speed for the manoeuvre you are about to undertake.
Look - look to see if it is safe to continue.
The Look element is further broken down into:
Looking - what can you see?
Assessing - what are your options?
Deciding - depending on what you can see.
Acting - either continue with the manoeuvre or wait
The MSM/PSL routine should always be used when:
Turning left or right
Slowing down or stopping.
MSM/PSL Hazard Routine
A hazard is anything that may cause you to manoeuvre - that is to change your speed or direction. So, whenever you identify a potential or real hazard you must be prepared to use the MSM/PSL routine.
As soon as you become aware of any hazard ahead you must check your mirrors.
Centre mirror - shows you if a vehicle behind is travelling too close to you, if so you will have to signal earlier so that it has time to drop back before you slow down.
Right mirror - shows you if anything is trying to overtake you. If you plan to move right you must check it is safe before you signal.
Left mirror - in slower moving traffic it may be that a cyclists is about to pass you on your left, so if you plan to move left you must check your left mirror before signalling.
Decide whether a signal is necessary. You signal in order to tell other road users of your intentions. If no other road users are present then no signal is necessary. If other road users do need to be warned of your intentions, then now you must signal.
Indicators - use when changing direction
Brake lights - By gently touching the brake pedal, you can light the brake lights without slowing down too much. This can give a driver who is following you too closely behind enough time to brake and drop back before you brake properly.
Road position - this can also be seen as a signal and is particularly useful when overtaking a parked car or other stationary hazard on the side of the road. If you pull out smoothly, well before you need to pass the hazard, you allow any following driver to see the hazard for themselves. As the driver will expect you to go around the hazard you have effectively signalled your intentions.
Signal in good time - whatever the signal you give, you must do so in good time, so that other road users have time to make their own changes to speed or direction smoothly, safely and under control.
Divided into three more phases.
Position - position your car properly in the road. The position you take up will be specific to the manoeuvre you wish to perform. If you plan to turn left, maintain your normal road position, about 1m from the kerb or left-hand side of the road. If you plan to turn right, position your car as close to the centre line as is safe.
Speed - adjust your speed so that it is appropriate for the manoeuvre and select a suitable gear.
Always brake to the speed that you want before changing into the appropriate gear for that speed.
Look - check your mirrors and look where you intend to go. Then, Look, Assess, Decide, Act:
What can you see? Are there pedestrians crossing the road you wish to turn into? Is a cyclist about to overtake you on the left? Is a car speeding towards you? Assess the situation. Decide what you need to do. Continue with the manoeuvre or stop and wait.