One of the most common errors a driver commits while on the road is wrong use of the rear-view mirror. Mirror Signal Manoeuvre (MSM) is a driving procedure that has been adopted as a platform for both basic learner driver training and advanced training around the world.
The rear-view mirror should be the most overused part of the car. Why? Because it is as important to know what is happening behind as what is happening ahead. Using indicator signals alone is not enough. In fact, putting an indicator on without being aware of what is happening around you may be a dangerous move that could put your life and that of other road users in danger.
The correct procedure for the use of indicators is to use them if they stand to benefit another road user. It should not cause confusion. And when I say a road user, I mean a motorist, cyclist, even a pedestrian. The point is, you should look first and actively search for the benefit. This would mean that a driver should look into the mirrors. Yes, that's right mirrors, not mirror, as all vehicles have more than one.
If a driver is about to make a right turn at the junction ahead, then before he does anything including braking, he needs to check in sequence, his left-door mirror, interior and right-door mirrors; this way he will know whether it is safe to brake hard if he needs to, as well as get the signal timing right. Situations on the road can change in an instant, so it is a good idea to check over the shoulder into the blind spot as well. He will also obviously look ahead for other dangers and act accordingly.
The next thing to do here is to apply the indicator signal before braking as the flashing light grabs the attention of road users in front as well as behind. If all is safe, then the manoeuvre of the turn can be commenced.
The above is a very basic guide on how to apply the MSM routine. There are of course several variables that need to be considered.
The MSM routine should be at the forefront of every driver's mind. Taking the time to check the mirrors would reduce collisions remarkably. Let's not forget that the Mirror Signal Manoeuvre is taught for a reason - it works... just as it has been proven time and again that wearing seat belts while in a vehicle can prevent serious injury in the event of a collision.
Make a habit of fastening your seat belt, checking the mirrors and indicating correctly. It will surely make the roads a much safer place.
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