Stopping Normally

To Stop Normally

Legal, Safe, Convenient?
Before stopping, you will have to find a place that is Legal, Safe, and Convenient. The Highway Code setion 238 “Waiting and Parking” lists many places to avoid, such as where there are yellow lines at the side of the road during their period of restriction. Some places are obvious, like in the Clyde Tunnel or on the Kingston Bridge!

Mirror, Signal, Manoeuvre.

Once you have located a safe place, you will need to apply the Mirror, Signal, Manoeuvre (or M.S.M.) routine to park safely. M.S.M. is the key to negotiating all procedures and hazards safely. Your “Really Good” instructor will guide you expertly through using this routine.


The mirrors effectively will not only help you decide if it is safe to manoeuvre, but also if a signal is required. On sighting a safe place on the left to park, firstly look in the interior mirror and then the left door mirror (mirrors in pairs) to see if there are any other road users about. If there is clearly no-one around (or ahead) a signal may not be required. If there is something or someone around, where they are positioned, and what speed they are travelling at will help you decide not only on giving a signal, but also when to begin signallling and braking. For instance, if there is a vehicle travelling very close behind – like a cyclist to your left rear, it may be necessary to give a left signal much earlier than normal. Also, you may have to slow the car down much more gradually by gentle and early use of the footbrake.


Again, based upon the information gathered you can decide whether a left signal is needed. In a driving test situation, if there is no other road user around and you give the signal, it will not result in a driving test error. Please be very careful though, if there is a road or opening to the left before where you wish to park. A signal given before passing the road could lead to someone in the side road assuming you will be turning left, and this could lead to them pulling out in front of you….!


The manoeuvre procedure breaks down into three subsections, known as Position, Speed, and Look.


If your vehicle is in the “normal driving” position – about 1metre from the kerb – it will need to be guided closer to the kerb to achieve a parking position – about 6) inches (15cm.) from the kerb. Try to bring the car in at a smooth easy line. Often this will require less than a “quarter turn” of steering to the left. As the front of the car reaches the “reference point” your “Really Good” instructor will have described, you then need to steer past “centre” to the right by a similar amount that you steered to the left to get the car parallel. When the car is almost parallel to the kerb return the steering to “centre.” The vehicle should now move straight and parallel, just before stopping.


If the car has been moving above “jogging” speed, it will be necessary to lose speed before getting close to the kerb. To do this you would normally have to apply the footbrake in a “progressive” manner – light to begin, then start to apply firmer pressure, and, as the vehicle almost stops, release the pressure again till almost no pressure remains. This will ensure a really smooth stop. Remember to depress the clutch pedal just before stopping – about jogging pace – to prevent the engine from stalling.
After stopping, apply the handbrake then select neutral.


All through the parking manoeuvre keep looking for any changes in conditions e.g. pedestrians stepping off the kerb, or parked vehicles reversing towards you.

Well Done!

Again, this procedure needs to be practiced until it becomes “second nature.” As long as we follow the routine carefully we will soon be stopping smoothly, without yourself or the contents of your car flying through the air!.