Knowing What The Controls Are For And How To Use Them The Cockpit Drill (D.S.S.S.M)
Doors – The doors to a car work on 2 catches. As a driver of a car it is your responsibility to ensure all doors are shut firmly and secure.
Seat – The base of the seat should be close enough to the foot pedals to be able to use the pedals comfortably and effectively. Check you are close enough by pressing the left pedal fully to the floor with your left foot. There should be a slight bend in your left leg. If your leg is straight, you are too far away from the pedals. If your leg is bent a lot, you are too close. To move the seat forward or back, there is usually a metal bar under the driver’s seat. Pull the bar up and pull yourself forward by taking hold of the steering wheel. When you are in the correct position, release the bar. The back of the seat should be adjusted so you are close enough to the steering wheel to be able to turn the wheel comfortably and effectively. Adjust the back of the seat so you have a slight bend in you arms when you hold the steering wheel in the normal driving position. To adjust the back of a seat there is usually a dial on the side of the seat. Move your back off the seat slightly and twist the dial forward to move it forward and back to move it back.
Steering Wheel – Imagine the steering wheel as a clock face with the number ‘12' at the top and the number ‘6' at the bottom. Hold the steering wheel with the left hand at the number ‘10' and the right hand at the number ‘2'. This is known as the ‘10 to 2' position. Ensure your thumbs are not wrapped around the wheel otherwise you will not be able to pass the wheel through your hands easily. The correct method to steer is called the pull-push method. If you want to steer to the right, pull the wheel down with your right hand and at the same time slide you left hand down. Let your hands meet at the bottom, grip the wheel with your left hand and push the wheel to the top. Slide you right hand up to the top at the same time. Repeat this process until you have completed your turn. If you wish to turn left the opposite applies. When you are driving in a straight line ensure you are holding the steering wheel in the ‘10 to 2' position. To steer around hazards such as parked cars only small movements of the steering wheel will be required. To make a left or right turn, on average just less than one complete turn of the steering wheel will be required.
Seatbelt – As the driver of a vehicle, it is your responsibility to ensure you and your passengers are wearing a seatbelt. Ensure there are no twists on the belt when it is on. If there are, remove the belt and put it on again. Any twists could lead to injury should you have to stop quickly. Remember the seatbelt works on inertia. This means the belt may spring back towards your face when you remove it. When taking the seatbelt off, keep hold of the buckle and feed it back to its starting position.
Mirrors – The centre mirror is made of flat glass. When you look in this mirror it will give you accurate information of the distance of vehicles behind you and the speed they are travelling at ie. whether they are accelerating closer towards you or slowing down. The side mirrors are made of convex glass (curved). These give you an extended view of what is to the side of your car as well as what is behind. However, convex mirrors make things look smaller and further away. You should not rely on these side mirrors for the distance of vehicles behind.
Handbrake – This operates on the two rear wheels. You should only used the handbrake after the car has stopped to secure it from moving. An example of when you would apply the handbrake would be if you are ‘waiting’ at red traffic lights or parked at the side of the road. To release the handbrake, lift the handbrake slightly and press the button on the end of it. Push the handbrake to the floor keeping the button pressed in. Release the button when the handbrake is fully lowered – the handbrake is now off. To re-apply the handbrake, press the button in and lift the handbrake lever until there is full resistance and you cannot lift it in any further. Release the button and let go of the handbrake – the handbrake is now on. (Please note the handbrake can also be referred to as the parking brake. In some vehicles the parking brake operates differently. Instructor guides pupil.).
Indicators – The indicator acts as a signal to other road users. We give a signal when we carry out the MSM routine (the MSM routine will explained later in this booklet). We also give a signal if it is of benefit to other road users. For example, you would signal to let a nearby pedestrian know you intend to pull in by the side of the road. The indicator is usually on a stalk next to the steering wheel. It is situated there so a driver can use it by simply stretching out their fingers and flicking it on/off. This means the driver does not have to completely remove their hand from the steering wheel. To turn left you would flick the indicator stalk in the direction you are going to turn. If the indicator is situated to the left of the steering wheel then you would flick it down for turning left and up for turning right. The indicator generally self cancels after completing your steering. However, it may be sometimes necessary for the driver to cancel the signal should it not self-cancel.
Gears – The gear stick is spring loaded. This means if you move the gear stick to the left or right it springs back to a central position. This central position is known as ‘neutral’. Neutral means it is not in any gear. In most cars there are generally 5 gears and a reverse gear. 1st gear is used to get the car moving. As the car builds up speed (to about 10mph) you would need to select 2nd gear (a less strong gear). As the car builds up even more speed (to about 20mph) you would need to select 3rd gear (an even less strong gear). At about 30mph you would select 4th gear (which is an even less strong gear required when reaching that speed). 5th gear would be selected at a constant speed of 40mph or above.
There are three pedals in a manual car. On the right there is the Accelerator, in the middle there is the Brake and the pedal on the left is the Clutch (ABC).
Accelerator – The accelerator is used to increase the speed you are travelling at or to slow down. To use the accelerator you need to be very sensitive with the pedal. If you ’stamp’ harshly on the accelerator you will accelerate quickly. To use it correctly keep your heel on the floor and rest the ball of your right foot on the accelerator pedal without pressing it. Then ’squeeze’ the accelerator about the width of a pound coin. When the car is moving, this will be sufficient to accelerate in a progressive, controlled manner. To reduce your speed simply remove your foot from the accelerator in a smooth manner, keeping your right heel on the floor.
Foot Brake – The footbrake is used to slow down or to stop the vehicle. You will not need to use the accelerator and the footbrake at the same time. If you think about it logically, you would not need to accelerate and brake at the same time. Again, to use the footbrake you need to be very sensitive with the pedal. If you ’stamp’ harshly on the footbrake you will slow down very quickly. This could be very dangerous for vehicles following behind, as they would not have much time to react. To use the footbrake correctly, keep your heel on the floor and pivot your right foot from the accelerator to the footbrake. Then ’squeeze’ the footbrake about the width of a pound coin. This will be sufficient to slow the car down in a progressive, controlled manner. If you do not wish to stop and want to build up your speed again, continue to keep your heel on the floor, pivot your right foot across to the accelerator and press the accelerator again. If you wish to stop the car, ensure you press the clutch pedal down full just before the car stops.
Clutch – You use the clutch to select a gear or to a stop the car in a controlled manner. If you want to stop in a controlled manner, press the clutch pedal fully to the floor just before the car comes to a stop. This will disconnect the engine from the road wheels and will allow the car to stop under control. If you do not press the clutch down just before the car stops, the engine will continue to try and drive the car but the brakes will continue to try and stop the car. This will result in the engine stalling and cutting out, bringing the car to a stop in a jerky, uncontrolled manner.
You will also need to press the clutch pedal down fully to change gear. If you do not to do this you will be unable to move the gear stick to the gear you want. For example, you are driving in 2nd gear at 20mph. You are continuing to build up speed and wish to change to 3rd gear, you should take hold of the gear stick, take your foot of the accelerator temporarily, press the clutch pedal to the floor fully, move the gear stick from 2nd gear to 3rd gear, take your foot of the clutch pedal and re-apply the accelerator pedal progressively. This process would be repeated to select any gear suitable for the speed you at which you are travelling.