Cockpit drill – making sure everything’s right before you start
Before you open a car door, check that the road or pavement is clear. If not, wait till pedestrians or other vehicles have passed.
When you sit down, pull the door shut behind you. Use your left hand to check that you’ve shut it tight. Your left hand is better because it has less reach.
Look around at the doors next to each of your passengers. Check that all are closed. If you have a ‘doors open’ dashboard indicator, check that too.
Check the position of your seat by depressing the left pedal with your left foot. The pedal should go all the way down with a slight bend of the knee. You’re too close if your knee is knocking the steering wheel, and too far if you have to stretch out your leg.
Adjust the seat position using the bar beneath your seat. Check again by depressing the pedal. Repeat until the movement is comfortable.
Put your hands together at 12 o’clock on the steering wheel. You’re at the right distance when your elbows are slightly bent. Adjust the backrest to bring you forwards or backwards. Check your hands against the steering wheel again. Repeat until the reach is comfortable.
Raise or lower your head restraint until the middle of the rest aligns with the middle of the back of your head.
Adjust the rear-view mirror by hand until you can comfortably see out the back window without moving your head. You’ve got the right position when the mirror frames all four corners of the back window, and you can see the edge of your head restraint in the lower right-hand corner.
Avoid putting fingerprints on the mirror surface; hold the mirror by its edges when you adjust it.
Use your car’s manual or electric controls to adjust the left and right side-view mirrors. Aim to get the line of the horizon about halfway down the mirror. Sky, trees, and houses should be in the upper half of the image; the road, pavements, and nearby fields should be in the lower half.
Adjust also so that the side of the car is just visible on the extreme left-hand edge of the right mirror and on the extreme right-hand edge of the left mirror.
Keep adjusting the mirrors until you can see their images comfortably without straining your head or neck.
Pull down your seat belt. Check that there are no twists, then fasten securely. Tug at the fastening to make sure.
Check that your passengers have fastened their seat belts too. As the driver, you are responsible for making sure that anyone under the age of 14 is wearing a seat belt.