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The Cockpit Drill - The Checks You Should Make Before Driving

Before you start the engine or drive off you should go through safety checks that will make the journey more comfortable and safe. These are known as the cockpit drill.

Security

1. Make sure that the boot and all of the doors are closed properly.

Positioning

2. Make sure the seat and steering wheel are in the correct driving position for you.

Headrest

3. Check the headrest is in the correct position, this will prevent wiplash so make sure it is positioned correctly. the base of the headrest should be at the base of your head and should be about an inch away from your head whilst driving.

Mirrors

4. Check your left, centre and right mirrors are correctly aligned, so that you can quickly see what's happening behind you with a glance, without having to move your head unnecessarily.

Handbreak & Gear Box

5. Make sure the handbrake is engaged and that the gear stick is in neutral or park or neutral if driving an automatic. If the car is in gear when you start the engine the car will lunge forward or backwards if in reverse.

Seatbelt

6. Put your seatbelt on. Remember the laws states that whilst driving a car you must wear your seatbelt at all times, except when performing a reversing manoeuvre or if you have a medical exemption certificate. For comfort and safety you should adjust the height of the seatbelt so that the belt gives a firm pressure over the top of your right shoulder, with no gap between the belt and the front of your shoulder.

General

7. It is also vital that you make sure your sitting position is as comfortable as possible. Finding the right driving position is essential. You need to feel comfortable whilst being able to reach all the controls without having to stretch. Driving whilst sitting in a poor position can put your back under strain and cause injury. It is also important not to sit too close to the steering wheel, as this can be dangerous in a collision.

8. Find a comfortable driving position. Raise the seat as high as you can without your head touching the roof. Move the seat forwards until you can engage the clutch pedal and accelerator fully.

9. Recline the seat back to the point where your shoulders and upper back are resting comfortably on the seat and your arms are slightly bent when you hold the steering wheel. Adjust the height and reach of the steering wheel so that your hands whilst holding the steering wheel rest slightly lower than your shoulders. Make sure the wheel or your hands obstruct your view of the instrument panel.

Important

10. On Your Driving Test. Do these checks in the right order. The driving test examiner will watch to make sure you perform all the checks, in the right order, before you start the engine.

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