Everything You Need to Know with BSM
Guide to the
The MSPSL Routine: Need to Know
Beginners’ guide to approaching junctions
Approaching junctions in a safe way takes quite a bit of practice due to the amount of things you have to think about in order to do it correctly. Junctions are everywhere, so it’s a skill that’s central to getting your licence and it's one you'll need to master soon after you get out on the road so that you don’t have an accident or get marked down by your examiner.
So, let’s take a closer look at the MSPSL Routine and see how you can nail it each and every time.
What is the MSPSL Routine?
Ask your parents about how they were taught to approach a junction and they’ll tell you all about the mirror-signal-manoeuvre (MSM) method, as it used to play a big part in the learner driver journey.
However, nowadays you’ll be taught the MSPSL routine - the shortened version of “mirror-signal-position-speed-look” - and that’s because it helps you to remember more of the important things involved safely taking all kinds of junctions.
Instead of the last ‘M’ in MSM just reminding you of ‘Manoeuvre’, the ‘SPL’ in MSPSL helps you to remember speed, positioning and that all-important look before pulling out.
When do I start learning the MSPSL Routine?
You’ll be learning the MSPSL method pretty much as soon as you get out on the road, as you’ll get to practice it every time you approach a junction or a roundabout. In fact, every time you drive anywhere, you will get to practice the method multiple times.
If you’ve not yet begun your practical lessons, it’s a good idea to do a bit of revising about MSPSL, so that it’s not completely new to you when you do get behind the wheel. It’s also a good idea to keep revising it once you’ve started so that it becomes second nature sooner.
Breaking Down the MSPSL Routine
Here we look at the 5 basic elements that comprise the MSPSL Routine in closer detail to help you better understand what’s involved.
When approaching any kind of junction, you need to be appropriately checking your mirror. To begin with, you should glance at your interior mirror before checking your left door mirror for a left turn or your right door mirror for a right turn.
It’s crucial to actually take notice of exactly what you see in your mirrors, instead of simply looking at them because you’ve been told that you should by your instructor.
Next, you need to indicate your intentions to your fellow road users by signalling in the appropriate way for left and right turns, roundabouts and junctions. You also need to signal when you intend to pull over to the side of the road or change lanes on a dual carriageway or motorway.
The timing of your signal needs to be appropriate, as when you signal either too late or early, it can actually be more hazardous than not signalling at all.
When you think about road positioning, you have to consider more than just which lane you are in. Your positioning within your lane is also a really important part of safely approaching a junction.
Position your car too far left and you could clip the curb, which would be an automatic driving test fail from your examiner. Just remember to position yourself in the middle of your lane, unless turning right, when you should be closer to the centre line.
Another important factor that ensures a safe approach is the speed at which you’re travelling. Your correct positioning and use of mirrors won’t count for much if you enter the manoeuvre at too high a speed and lose control of your vehicle.
This principle here is fairly simple, as you should ensure that you approach the junction at the right speed, which is usually under 15 mph. Approach too fast and you don’t leave enough time to carry out the important last step.
After you’ve checked your mirrors, made the appropriate indication, assumed the correct position on the road and reduced your speed, you need to make one final observation around you to ensure no one has moved into your path.
Finally, you should check your left door mirror for cyclists who can often appear, seemingly out of nowhere.
There’s a Lot to Remember, But You Will Get There!
Your BSM instructor will teach you everything you need to know about the MSPSL routine, as they’ve helped many learners just like you to master it. Using their expertise and experience, they’ll have you taking junctions like a pro in no time!
Many people fail their driving test because of how they deal with junctions and roundabouts, but with our help, you’ll be able to approach your test with total confidence.