'Cockpit checks'

Before you get into the driving seat, you should make sure your wearing suitable shoes. Ideally a shoe that has a low heel and sole is best for driving.

What’s meant by the term Cockpit checks? We explain below.

When you first get into the driving seat,  you should identify all the controls on the car, and understand what they do. You should not drive the car until you do for safety reasons – for example, you don’t want to be looking for the windscreen wipers while your driving, if it starts to rain.

Before you start the engine, there are a number of checks you need to make. They are:


1. Doors

Check that all the doors are shut, but not locked – including passengers doors. Most cars these days, have a red warning light on the drivers dashboard to tell when they’re not shut, but you won’t find out until you start the engine.

2. Seat.

Check that the base of the seat is positioned correctly for you –  There is generally a lever at the bottom of the seat  at thed front to allow you to move it. You should make sure that you’re not too close, where your legs are bent up or stretched and your left leg can’t reach the left pedal. You may also need to adjust the back of the seat. Locate the knob (it’s on the right hand side of the seat), and turn it to adjust. Its not advised to have it ‘bolt’ upright, as you may get backache on a long journey. You should also make sure you can see adequately through the windscreen. If your a short person, you may be able to move the seat up to get a better view. You may find that theres a lever on the seat to help you do that. If not,  you may need to sit on a cushion. Most cars nowadays also have an adjustable steering wheel that allows you to move it down. Normally, there’s a lever just below the steering wheel. In a nutshell, you should be comfortable sitting in the seat. If your not, then you might  get aches in your body.

Auris Steering Wheel_masked

3. Steering

Can you comfortably hold the steering wheel with your hands all around it? Your arms should not be straight or very bent as this would make steering difficult. This can usually be cured by adjusting the back of the seat. 

While driving, you avoid gripping the wheel tightly – just enough to hold it.

4. Mirrors

You should now check that your mirrors are positioned correctly. There are three. Starting with the interior mirror, you should adjust it so you’ve got the best possible view of the road behind the car. You should have the top of the mirror aligned with the top of the rear window. The door mirrors should adjusted so you can see a small part of the back of the car, and the road (or pavement, depending which mirror your checking) disappears half-way up the mirror. The door mirrors are electrically operated and can be adjusted by a switch on the drivers side.

5. Seat belt

You should then put your seat belt on. Make sure that it isn’t twisted or frayed. If you have any passengers, it’s their responsibility to put them on, unless they’re under 13 years old.

6. Gear lever / Selector

Check to make sure gear lever is in the Neutral position. (Manual gears)

If driving an automatic gears that the selector is in the Park position.

7. Fuel Gauge and warning lights

Once you have started the engine, check that you have sufficient fuel for  your journey and that the warning lights have gone out.