Driving Lesson MSM Routine

On your first driving lesson, your instructor would have introduced the MSM routine to you as one of the basic DSA standard skills that you need to master while learning to drive a car and prepare for the practical assessment.

MSM stands for Mirrors, Signal, Maneuver. Notice the 'S' in the first M, as I notice that many learners drop it and only check one mirror 20 driving lessons down the road. You always check the interior mirror first (to get a true picture of the distance of the vehicle behind you is as the glass is flat), then the exterior mirror corresponding to the direction you intend to move to. It is important that you don't just make the head or eye movements, but actually take note of what is in the mirrors, and don't stare otherwise you vehicle would drift out of control.

When to use MSM routine

You use MSM well before you change the car speed (slow down or accelerate), change directions (not necessarilly go round junctions) such as overtake a stationary bus, swerve to avoid potholes, change lanes on a dual carriageway, turn at a roundabout or cross road or pulling up on the left to perform a normal stop, basically if you spot a Hazard, then use MSM to deal with it.


The MSM routine is broken down into Mirrors, Signal, Position, Speed and Look when it comes to applying it in practise.

So for example if you were turning right at a roundabout, you would first check the interior mirror, then the external right mirror, followed by signalling right to alert other road users of your intentions, next would be changing the vehicle position to confirm the signal in this case the right hand lane (if available or to the right of the road if wide), next comes the change of speed (REMEMBER brakes to slow down not gears) to suit the conditions and finally look and assess the situation to make sure it is safe to carry out whatever maneuver you need to do (LADA).

The key to using MSM is repeating it until it becomes a driving habit that you don't have to think about, many learner drivers do not put in the extra effort when it comes to using MSM, after all failing to check a mirror is usually only a minor driving error on the test, so I might get away with it (until they fail for missing the car undertaking them at the multi-lane roundabout).

You must continue to use MSPSL during all you lessons, and know that each time you fail to check a mirror, don't signal or fail to time the signal properly, it is a potential serious fault and thus have to work on overcoming this area of weakness, as it could let you down on the day with the DSA examiner watching.

If you require high quality one to one tuition from a very helpful, patient and fully qualified ex-AA driving instructor, then why not call or send me a text message on 07956233032

Thinking about becoming an instructor? Don't just make a decision based on the red driving school TV advertisement, do the proper research and know all the other training options available to you in the UK.

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