The cockpit drill relates to the preparation of the car for you to drive it. If you follow a standard order of checks there is less chance of you forgetting to do something important.


Cars vary in small ways, so a slight adjustment may be needed when driving different makes or models of car. Therefore, please take care to familiarise yourself with any car you are wanting to drive




The cockpit drill consists of the Doors, Seat, (Pedals, Steering& Head restraint) Mirror, Seatbelt, Gear, Handbrake and Fuel.




Ensuring all car doors are shut before moving off is essential as there is a chance that they may open whilst driving.


Driver side door - Don't be afraid to give it a good stern pull to shut it, although try not to slam it too hard. If you are in doubt that it is correctly shut, reach over to the door handle with your left hand and give it a tug. If closed properly, the door should not move, if the door moves slightly, you will need to open and shut it again ensuring that you pull a little firmer on the door this time. Before opening however, check in front and over your right shoulder to ensure there are no pedestrians or cyclists in the path of your opening door.


Passenger doors - Passenger doors will need to be checked using mirrors. When the doors are shut correctly, the side of the car that can be seen in the side mirrors should remain smooth and flush. If a door is not correctly shut, the side of the car will look uneven and not smooth. If you suspect that a passenger’s door is not shut correctly, either ask the passenger closest to shut it correctly or get out of the car and shut it yourself.




The seat will need to be adjusted so that you can comfortably use the foot pedals. If operating a manual car, locate the foot pedal on the left side - the clutch. Using the ball of your left foot, press the clutch down to the floor until it stops. Grip the bottom of the steering wheel with your left hand and using your right hand use the seat lever to slid the seat either forward or backwards until you have a slight bend in the knee with your left leg. This is the ideal seat position to comfortably operate the foot pedals. Controls for sliding the seat forward or backwards are usually found under the front of the seat.


Steering wheel-The seat now needs to be adjusted correctly so as to allow you to comfortably control the steering wheel. Place both hands at the very top of the steering wheel as this is the part of the wheel that is the furthest away from you. You do not want to be too close to the steering wheel or stretched out too far as this will impede safe control in operating the wheel. The ideal position whilst griping the top of the wheel is to have a slight bend at the elbow in your arms. Keep one hand on the wheel and use the seat controls to move the back rest of the seat forward or backwards until this position is found. Back rest controls are usually found at the lower right hand side of your seat.


Head restraint- The correct adjustment of the head restraint can help to reduce neck injuries in the event of a rear collision. The centre vertical position of the head restraint should be in line with your ears to be most effective.




The mirrors need to be correctly adjusted so to give you as much rear view observation as possible. Your instructor’s car may have extra mirrors to enable them to have rear observations. Your mirrors of concern are the main interior mirror at the top centre of the front windscreen and the two door mirrors.


Adjusting car mirrors: interior mirror - Sitting in your normal driving position, reach out with your left hand and grip the plastic surround of the interior mirror. Try not to touch the glass as this will put finger marks on the mirror, making it difficult to out of at night. Try to keep in your normal driving position as much as possible including your head, adjust the mirror so you can see as much out of the rear windscreen and as little interior as possible. Essentially, you need to 'frame' the rear window inside the mirror. Unlike side mirrors, the interior mirror gives you an exact representation in terms of distance of what is happening behind you as the glass is flat.


Adjusting car mirrors: side mirrors - Again sitting in your normal driving position, adjust the side mirrors so that centre of the mirror is in line with horizon and that there is about a Sixth of the car visible in the DRIVER side mirror and around a Quarter of it visible in the PASSENGER side mirror.


Door or side mirrors are usually made from convex glass. This curved glass gives the driver a wider angle of view to see behind. Although this increases the viewing angle of rear observation it does not eliminate the BLIND SPOT. Before driving off, changing lanes and on occasions making left or right turns, the appropriate blind spot must be checked. Failure to check the blind spot will certainly fail a driving test and increase the chances of an accident.




Driver and passengers must wear a seatbelt whilst driving forwards on a public road unless medically exempt and have proof by certification. It is the driver’s responsibility to ensure passengers of 14 years and younger are either wearing a seatbelt or are appropriately and legally secure. A driver is legally entitled to remove a seatbelt whilst as a seatbelt can reduce your ability to move in the seat and take effective all-round observation. Remember of course to re-apply the seatbelt before moving forward again. Ensure that the seatbelt is firmly clicked in-place and has no twists and turns in any part of the belt as this will reduce the belt's effectiveness in an accident.





Make sure the car is in neutral before switching the engine on




Make sure the Handbrake is on.




Turn the car key in the ignition so that the light come on the dashboard. and Check you have enough fuel for your journey with a "reserve" to cover of unexpected detours and heavy traffic.