Generally every time you change direction or speed then you will need to look in your mirrors. If you are changing direction, use the main mirror first followed by the side mirror of the direction you intend to go. If you are slowing down or stopping, look in the main mirror to establish how close the car behind is. The reason being, if the car behind is very close to you, then you may slow down earlier and over a longer distance to give the car behind more time to react.

'Using Your Mirrors

When driving,you should check your mirrors regularly and in good time , frequent quick checks are safer than infrequent long looks in the mirrors

 You should check your mirrors in good time and before changing Direction, Speed and Signalling


Before moving to the right when driving, you should check your centre and right door mirror, this will help you to decide if it is safe to move to the right.

Before moving to the left when driving, you should check your centre and left door mirror, this will allow you to decide if it is safe to move to the left.

The centre mirror will give precise information of the distance and speed of vehicles behind.

The door mirrors will give you an view to the side of the vehicle.

As an example when driving you meet a parked car that you need to go around. You should check your centre and right door mirror and then move to the right to pass the car, providing it is safe to do so.


Before slowing down you should check your centre mirror in good time.

This will inform you of the position, distance and speed of the vehicles behind and allow you to decide how much braking pressure should be applied.

This will activate your brake lights and allow the vehicle behind to react to this and keep well back.Before accelerating check your centre and right door mirror.

The information you will get from checking these mirrors allows you to decide whether it is safe to accelerate.

Why is this required? Well as an example you are driving in a 30mph zone, ahead you see a higher speed limit sign ahead. Before you reach the sign check your centre and right door mirror to establish if it safe to accelerate

As an example let us imagine a motorbike rider following and positioning him/herself to overtake you.

You should decide not to accelerate until the motorbike rider has passed you. The consequences could be very serious if you failed to check your mirrors and just accelerated as the bike rider was overtaking you.


Before signalling right you should check your centre and right door mirrors.

Before signalling left you should check your centre and left door mirrors.



 Indicators: These are used to signal an intention to move out or change direction. Indicators should be used in a way that gives plenty of time for other road users to respond safely to the signal. If a road user doesn't seem to be reacting correctly to your signal, don't continue the manoeuvre until you are sure they have seen you. Avoid using your indicators to give ambiguous signals. For instance, you intend to stop at the side of the road just after a left turn, you shouldn't indicate until you are past the left turning or other road users may think you intend to turn left. You do not need to signal if no other road users are in your vicinity. Ensure the indicator is cancelled once you have finished the manoeuvre. Failure to do so could mislead other road users.

The Horn: Use the horn to alert another road user who you think may not have noticed that you are there. You should not use it aggressively or to tell off another road user. Remember it is illegal to use your horn when you are stationary or in a built-up area between 11.30pm and 7.00am except when another moving vehicle poses a danger to you.

Brake Signal: Each time you press the brake pedal the rear, red warning lights are activated, giving a signal to other road users behind that you are slowing down. You can also engage the brake pedal to warn other road users that you intend to slow for a hazard which they may not yet seen.

Headlamp Flash: This signal has only one official meaning, to alert another road user to your presence and should be used in circumstances where a horn may not be heard such as when travelling at speed on a motorway or at night when using the horn is prohibited. Never flash your headlights to show aggression or anger. You may know what you mean but the other driver may not which can have potentially dangerous consequences. If a driver flashes their head lights at you never assume it is an invitation to drive on.

Reversing Signal: When you put your car into reverse gear white reversing lights come on at the back of the car.

Hazard Warning Lights: These warn other road users of a hazard. You should only use them when your car has broken down, when your car is temporarily obstructing traffic or when driving on a motorway or dual carriageway to warn other road users of a hazard ahead.


Mirror - Signal - Manoeuvre

Regardless of your driving experience you must make the

Mirror - Signal - Manoeuvre routine an integral part of your driving.

Mirrors - check the speed and position of traffic behind you.

SIGNAL - consider whether a signal is necessary.

If it is, signal your intention to change course or slow down in good time.

 Manoeuvre - a manoeuvre is any change of speed or position.

This is broken down into Position - Speed - Look


Your vehicle must always be in the correct position for the manoeuvre.

when a change of direction is required, move into position in good time.


Ensure that the vehicle is travelling at the appropriate speed

and in a suitable gear to complete the manoeuvre safely.


The 'look' phrase consists of four elements


What can you see?


What are your options?


Depending on what you see.


Either continue or wait.


Use the MSM routine before:

Moving off.


Changing direction turning left or right , overtaking or changing lanes.

Slowing down or stopping


Signal without checking mirrors first.

Rely solely on mirrors when you're reversing. Keep looking around to check for

other road users.

Assume that, because you have signalled, you can carry out the intended

manoeuvre safely. Check to be sure.