Mirror Signal Manoeuvre Routine
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 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 to do.
- 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:
For an example of how to use the MSM/PSL routine watch the video right.
- Moving off
- Changing direction
- Turning left or right
- Changing lanes
- Slowing down or stopping.
MSM/PSL Hazard Routine
A hazard is anything that may cause you to manoeuvre - to change your speed or direction. So, whenever you identify a potential or a 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 to tell other road users of your intentions. If no other road users are present, then no signal is necessary.
- 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:
On Your Driving Test
The driving test examiner will check to see that you use the MSM/PSL routine in good time every time you need to make a driving manoeuvre that calls for the routine to be used, such as changing lanes, making a turn or overtaking.
Failure to use the routine correctly will score you at least one minor fault.
If your incorrect use of the routine causes a dangerous or potentially dangerous situation, for example if you change lanes without checking your mirrors or signalling causing danger to traffic behind, the driving test examiner will score you a dangerous/serious fault and you will fail your driving test.