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The Hazard Routine - MSM-PSL

During your practical test the examiner will expect you to use the Hazard routine, more commonly know as MSM (mirror Signal Manoeuvre). 

Find out how to use the MSM-PSL routine

A hazard is anything that may cause you to change your speed or direction. So, whenever you identify a potential or real hazard you must be prepared to use the MSM/PSL routine.

What does it stand for?

M - Mirrors check your mirrors to assess the speed and position of traffic behind you
S - Signal if necessary signal to warn other road users what you intend doing, give the correct signal
M - Manoeuvre a manoeuvre is any change in speed or direction
P - Position take up the correct position for the manoeuvre you are about to undertake
S - Speed adjust your speed and select the gear to match for the manoeuvre you are about to undertake
L - Look look to see if it is safe to continue

How do you use it?


As soon as you identify a hazard ahead, you must check your mirrors to see what is happening behind you. Just looking is not enough; you must ask yourself the question: 'Is it safe to carry out my manoeuvre?'


When you are sure it is safe to proceed, ask yourself if there are any other road users who will benefit from a signal. If the answer is yes, give the appropriate signal (by indicator, arm or brake lights). After signalling, check your mirrors again to find out how drivers behind are reacting.


Just as you are about to move in to position check your mirrors again to make sure it is safe to move into the correct position for the manoeuvre.


Adjust your speed for the hazard by firstly releasing the brake and if it's not slow enough then by applying progressive pressure on the brake.Ensure you have plenty of time to change gear before the hazard. If things seem rushed, you're going too fast. Make a final observation check all around and then complete your manoeuvre.


While carrying out the hazard routine you must keep a constant look-out for other road users. Doing this will help to ensure that you have all the information you need to make the correct decisions about your intended actions.

Note that mirrors have been mentioned at least three times in the routine above - there is no set number of times to check your mirrors; the important thing is that you MUST always know how your actions will affect following drivers and how their actions will affect your plans. Use your mirrors as often as necessary during the routine.

When do you use it?

The MSM/PSL routine should always be used when:
  • Moving off
  • Signalling
  • Changing direction
  • Turning left or right
  • Overtaking
  • Changing lanes
  • Slowing down or stopping

Other Driving Routines are:


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