You can choose any of these systems to help you learn to drive and pass your driving test: you simply need to apply the system while driving and it will make you a better, safer driver. If you have a driving instructor, give them this list and ask them which ones they recommend. They may have a preferred system that they like to use. They can also help you with situations where you can apply different systems.
POM: Prepare, Observe, Move
This is one of the most simple systems and is an excellent one to start with when you are learning to drive as it can be applied when you are stationary and parked next to a kerb and you want to join the traffic.
- Prepare: is your car on, are you signalling, are you in the right gear, is the handbrake off, are you ready to go?
- Observe: have you checked your mirrors and blind spots (shoulder check), is there an appropriate gap to move into, are there any dangers ahead like pedestrians crossing the road or cars stopped at a junction?
- Move: once it’s safe, get up-to-speed quickly
IPSGA: Information, Position, Speed, Gear, Acceleration
This one is used by the Institute of Advanced Motorists and police drivers. Don’t be confused by the final point (acceleration) – we’ll explain why.
- Information: you’ll be taking in information by scanning the road ahead and in your mirrors, and you’ll be giving information by using your indicators, road position and speed. Everything else follows from here as information is something you do all the time.
- Position: move your car to the most appropriate position to achieve your objective. If you are turning left then (assuming it’s safe) you will move to the left of the lane; if you are turning right then you’ll move to the right of the lane. Changing your position gives drivers a clue about what you are doing.
- Speed: slowing down indicates to people you’re preparing to turn or stop, while speeding up in a manoeuvre could mean you are about to overtake or to join faster traffic on an on-ramp
- Gear: In the case of the Speed part of IPSGA, if you are slowing down you could be changing down gears. If you were speeding up you may need to put the Gear phase before Speed so that you have enough acceleration, but Gear could also occur after Speed, too, once you’ve settled on your new, higher speed.
- Acceleration: once you have completed the manoeuvre you will either be accelerating again (e.g. after turning a corner), slowing down (negative acceleration) or maintaining the new speed.
MSPSL: Mirror, Signal, Position, Speed, Look
Years ago driving instructors used to teach mirror, signal, manoeuvre. This has been superseded by MSPSL.
- Mirror: check your mirrors and blind spots
- Signal: use your indicators to let other drivers know what you intend to do
- Position: adjust your road position (if necessary)
- Speed: alter your speed, depending on the manoeuvre
- Look: a quick head check or glance in the mirror before making the manoeuvre
CMSBGA: Course, Mirrors, Signal, Brake, Gear, Accelerate
- Course: scan ahead for a safe and legal path.
- Mirrors: check your left door mirror, rear-view mirror and right door mirror and in your blind spots, as necessary
- Signal: give at least 3 seconds of indication if you are going to change lanes, turn or stop on the side of the road
- Brake: adjust your speed, as required
- Gears: change down a gear, if necessary
- Accelerate: when it’s safe to go again, match your speed to that of the traffic, or accelerate enough to overtake.
LADA: Look, Assess, Decide, Act
This is a similar system to MSPSL.
- Look: Scan ahead and behind
- Assess: take in information about what is required
- Decide: decide on what you will do
- Act: do it.
POWDER: Petrol, Oil, Water, Damage, Electrics, Rubber
This is a basic vehicle safety check
- Petrol (fuel): Do you have enough for your journey?
- Oil: Is there enough oil?
- Water: Do the washer bottle and battery have enough water?
- Damage: Is there anything on the car that might cause a problem or make it not roadworthy?
- Electrics: Are all the lights and wipers working?
- Rubber: Are the tyres in good shape (sufficient tread and no sidewall damage) and are they the correct pressure?