Prepare Observe Manoeuvre

Prepare observe manoeuvre or POM as commonly referred to is the action that you should take whenever you wish to move off from a stopped position.

So imagine you are parked up on the left and you want to move off.

A good idea is to follow this routine.

Prepare the car: Clutch down, select the gear you will need which is usually 1st gear, give a little gas and hold it then slowly raise the clutch until you feel the biting point, then when you feel it keep both your feet still.

Observe around you: Once you’ve prepared the car to move off you will need to now check around you to make sure that it is safe from any other road users and pedestrians. Start off by checking your left blind spot, then left door mirror, interior mirror, ahead out of the windscreen, right door mirror and finally right blind spot. When moving off from the left side of the road you should always observe starting from the left side and finishing on the right. Once you are happy it is safe then you are ready for the last part.

Manoeuvre: So when you are all happy that it’s safe around you, you can now signal if necessary and release the handbrake.

The reason why we follow the routine in this order is so that we can make sure everything that is done is done at the right time. For example it wouldn’t be a good idea to check around you before you’ve prepared the vehicle as it might take several seconds for you to find the biting point and by the time you’ve found the biting point things may have changed and it may not be safe to move off anymore.

Also if you don’t follow this order you may find yourself putting the handbrake down too early and if the road is a bit of a hill or uneven you may find your car rolling forward or back earlier than you were planning.

Finally another reason why it’s a good idea to follow this routine is so you don’t signal too early. If you signal to move off before you’ve actually checked your mirrors you may later find that it wasn’t a good idea to signal as they may be vehicles passing you and you are now potentially misleading them into thinking that you will move off when actually you weren’t planning to.