It is extremely important that you carry out the cockpit drill every time you enter the car and sit behind the driver’s wheel, it is equally important to check before walking into the road and opening the driver’s door. Opening a door carelessly can put you and others in danger and it may force them to brake or swerve and could cause an accident. Although not part of the cockpit drill it is also important that you check the ‘blindspot’ by looking over your right shoulder before opening your door to exit the car.
DOORS: Make sure that all the doors are firmly shut. Make sure that any passengers have closed theirs. You are responsible for the safety of your passengers. A door not properly shut may fly open as you drive along.
HANDBRAKE/GEARS: Check that the handbrake is on correctly and the gear lever is in neutral. You do not want the car moving from the weight of getting in the car or the car stalling if in a gear.
SEAT AND HEAD RESTAINT: Adjust the base of your seat so that you can operate the foot pedals easily. Ensure that you can fully depress the clutch pedal while not over stretching your left leg. If the base of the seat can be raised up and down adjust it until you can get a good view of the road ahead. Adjust the backrest of your seat so that you can reach all of the steering wheel with your arms slightly bent. Don’t get too close or you may find it awkward to lift the pedal up and you could knock your knee on the steering wheel. When adjusting the back of your seat, make sure that the ‘head restraint’ is adjusted correctly to protect your neck.
SEATBELTS: Fasten your seatbelt and make sure that your passengers fasten theirs. The law requires that all passengers wear seatbelts where fitted, unless they have an exemption certificate. It is the driver’s responsibility that children under 14 have the seat belt fastened.
MIRRORS: Adjust all of your mirrors so that you can obtain a clear view of the road behind and to the side of your vehicle, try to reduce the ‘blindspots’ to the side. When adjusting the interior mirror be careful not to touch the surface of the mirrors with your fingers.
The Driving Test
On your driving test the examiner will know you have driven to the test centre so you will not have to adjust your seat or mirrors but check the following:
- Make sure all the doors are closed.
- Ensure your handbrake is on and the gear is in neutral.
- Fasten your seatbelt.
- Start the engine.
- Check your dash for fuel levels etc..
- Turn on any lights and or windscreen wipers if necessary.