Before getting into your vehicle check that there are no obstructions nearby which you would be unable to see when seated. In particular check that there are no children near the vehicle. Pay particular attention to the blind spots at the rear.

Once seated ensure that all doors, including your passenger doors, are securely shut and that child safety locks on doors, where fitted, are secured when children are in the vehicle, and that seat belts are being worn.

If you are going to drive an unfamiliar vehicle make sure you know where the various controls are and also any difference in the way they operate.

If there is an animal in your vehicle, keep it under control and ensure that it cannot disturb you while driving. You must not let a dog out of a vehicle onto the road unless it is under control.

Make sure no passenger or load obstructs your movement or vision.

Blind spots

Blind spots

The grey areas are blind spots, areas a driver cannot see. Outside mirrors help to reduce blind spots.

Blind spots

A driver of a large vehicle, such as a bus or lorry, may not normally have the use of an inside mirror. The blind spots will be larger, particularly to the rear.

Pre-start routine
Doors Are all the doors properly closed?
Driving Seat Is your driving seat in the right position?
Mirrors Are the mirrors clean and properly adjusted?
Seat Belts Have you, and your passengers, put on seat belts?

A safe system for driving

Well before you carry out any manoeuvre - moving off, turning left, turning right, changing lanes, slowing down, stopping, reversing, overtaking or performing any other movement - always carry out the following routine:

Think - you should think carefully what you want to do in good time.

Look - you should check if it is safe to do it by looking ahead, by looking behind in your mirror and looking all around.

Signal - when it is safe, signal what you intend to do. This signal must be correct, clear and given in plenty of time.

Look again - check that it is still safe to carry out or complete your manoeuvre.

Always use the think - look - signal- look again routine well in advance of every manoeuvre.