Moving Off and Stopping From The Side of The Road
In this article
Moving off and stopping on your driving test
The driving test will assess your ability to move off safely from the side of the road. The driving examiner will ask you to pull up on the left-hand side and then move off again once it’s safe. You’ll need to do this several times during your test.
To pass your test, you need to be able to move off on level ground, a slope or from behind a parked car. When stopping, you need to choose an appropriate place to pull up and stop without inconveniencing or endangering other road users. Finally, always ensure your vehicle is relatively close to the pavement when pulling up.
Why is it important?
You need to move off in full control without endangering other road users. Observe all around your vehicle before you make progress, and act on what you see. Only move off when you’re sure it’s safe.
The same is true when pulling up on the side of the road. Always use the MSM routine when moving over to the left. Slow down in good time and signal if you spot following or oncoming traffic.
What does the driving examiner expect from you when moving off?
- All-around observation before moving off.
- Join the new road without making another road user slow down, swerve or stop.
- Give adequate clearance to any parked vehicles nearby.
- Join the new road when you spot a suitable gap in the flow of traffic.
Common faults when moving off
- Moving off without checking your blind spot.
- Failing to check your right mirror after you have started moving.
- Moving off with the handbrake on.
- Moving off into the path of oncoming traffic.
- Moving off into the path of approaching traffic.
- Moving off in third gear instead of first.
- Getting too close to a parked vehicle when moving off.
- Stalling repeatedly.
Tips when moving off
- If there’s a parked car on the other side of the road, an oncoming vehicle could use your lane to go around the obstruction.
- You could force the oncoming vehicle to slow down if you move off as they approach the parked car. If this happens, your test will come to an end.
- To avoid this situation, look out for oncoming traffic and only move off when there’s a safe gap in both directions.
- Assess the type of road you are on before moving off. For example, if the road is narrow with traffic flowing in the opposite direction, make sure there is a suitable gap in both directions before moving off.
- On narrow roads, you must consider the size of oncoming vehicles and the speed they travel when deciding when to move off. For example, a large vehicle may use some of your lane as it passes your vehicle. Moving off as they approach could cause the vehicle to stop, leading to a failed test.
- Only move off when you are sure it is safe to do so. Always look ahead and check your mirrors and blind spots for danger.
- Check your blind spot by looking over your right shoulder before moving off.
- Take one last look over your right shoulder just before you move off. This observation is known as a lifesaver check.
- Keep checking your mirrors as you move off, just in case you’ve missed a vehicle, motorcyclist or cyclist coming up behind you.
- Control your speed using clutch control. Keep the clutch pedal just above the biting point as you move off. Controlling your speed can prevent you from getting too close to a parked vehicle in front.
- Controlling your speed can also prevent you from finishing on the other side of the road, which could cause an oncoming vehicle to take evasive action.
- Make sure you release the handbrake before moving off. If you realise you have moved off with the handbrake on, continue making progress and release the handbrake once it’s safe.
- Avoid suddenly stopping your vehicle if you realise you have moved off with the handbrake on. Stopping at this point could leave you in the path of oncoming traffic.
- Make sure you select the correct gear before you move off. You could pick up a serious fault if your vehicle stalls because you’re in the wrong gear. Please read our guide on how to stop your car from stalling.
What does the driving examiner expect from you when pulling up?
- Use of the MSM routine when pulling up.
- Pull up in an appropriate place.
- Stop without inconveniencing other road users.
Common faults when pulling up
- Stopping without signalling, when a signal would have benefited another road user.
- Mistiming your signal and signalling too early.
- Mistiming your signal and signalling too late.
- Slowing down or stopping without giving other road users enough time to react.
- Mounting the pavement when pulling up.
- Stopping in front of a driveway or entrance to a property.
Tips when pulling up
- When pulling up behind a vehicle on the left, leave a 1m gap between you and the vehicle in front. Doing so will allow you to move off again without getting too close to the other vehicle.
- Use the MSM routine when pulling up on the left-hand side. Always check your mirrors first before acting.
- Be aware of following cyclists that could attempt to filter up the left-hand side of your vehicle.
- Decide whether you need to apply a signal when pulling up. For example, you can pull up without signalling if no road users nearby would benefit from one.
- Remember, pedestrians are also road users, so signal if you spot a pedestrian nearby.
- Signal before pulling up if you spot any nearby road users.
- Identify where you intend to stop before you start the MSM routine.
- Once you have identified where you intend to stop, check your mirrors, apply a signal in good time and slow down progressively. To do so, press the brakes lightly at first and then add more pressure as the vehicle begins to slow down.
- If you spot a vehicle or cyclist in your mirror, consider signalling a bit earlier to give the driver or rider more time to react. Avoid slamming the brakes as this could cause the individual behind you to take evasive action.
- If there’s following traffic and you drive past a junction while indicating, it will be considered a misleading signal and you will fail your driving test.
- Look out for junctions and sideroads when looking for a place to pull up. If you notice a junction just before where you’d like to stop, slow down in good time, and signal just after you pass the junction.
- Remember to signal left if you are pulling up on the left. If you signal incorrectly (a right signal in this case) and there’s following traffic, you could cause an accident or collision. As a result, an incorrect signal when there’s following traffic will lead to a failed test.
- Unless the driving examiner directs you otherwise when looking for a place to pull up, avoid stopping on dropped kerbs or driveways,
- Look to pull up in a parking bay or alongside a raised kerb with no yellow or red lines painted on it.
- Avoid climbing the kerb when you pull up. A slight brush with the kerb is unlikely to lead to a failed test, but you will fail your driving test if you mount the pavement.
- To avoid climbing the kerb or mounting the pavement, slow down in good time and use a reference point to identify when your vehicle is close enough to the kerb.
- Your reference point will typically be the point at which the kerb intersects with your dashboard when your vehicle is stationary on the side of the road. Try to familiarise yourself with this point before the start of your test.
- Be wary of stopping opposite an obstruction on the other side of the road. You could fail your driving test if the position you choose inconveniences oncoming traffic.