Intensive Driving Course in Bourne Question from Joseph

Joseph Kerr-Morgan from Bourne is currently on his intensive driving course in Bourne with BIG TOM Driving School (0800 689 4174 ) and asked:


“I need some help knowing when I need to do mirror checks, is it true it’s just every 10 seconds or so?”


This is a very good and quite common question. When people chatter about learning to drive, it is quite common to hear them say that as long as the Examiner can see you look at your mirrors every 10 seconds or so, that will be fine.

Really? Every 10 seconds? Why not every 5 or 15 seconds? Which mirror should be checked every 10 seconds… all of them? On a 38 minute driving test that would mean that your eyes need to look at the mirrors no less than 228 times! I observe at least 95% of driving tests that my customers go on, and I think any Examiner would think it rather strange if the driver on test were frantically looking at mirrors that amount of times.

You can look at a mirror (or in the general direction of the mirror) but that does not mean that you have checked what is around you – it may not be an effective observation. One question that needs to be considered is why do drivers need to check their mirrors, what purpose does it serve? If you don’t connect with the reason why a certain driving action is necessary, you are very unlikely to actually keep doing it – blindspot checks being a perfect other example of this fact.

A key phrase that the DVSA like to use time and time again is “the mirror-signal-manoeuvre routine”, the word “routine” is important – meaning “a sequence of actions regularly followed”. Routines are much like habits, they are actions that we do…. because we do…. there is no need to further justify them. You don’t have to individually think about whether a right side mirror check is really necessary before you steer to the right, you do it, because in your training, you went through the process of understanding and agreeing with the logic behind it, you feel no need to keep questioning it, so now, you just do it. Habits, are hard things to break…. we are all (to greater or lesser degrees) creatures of habit. Once we get in the habit of doing a certain sequence of actions, we will just do them. I have provided in this blog, just 3 samples of driving publications and their input on the use of mirror checks.

Take a minute to view them, read the message, ask yourself if you agree with the need for mirror checks.

My thanks go to Joseph who is really enjoying his intensive driving course in Bourne…. and I would encourage him to continue asking questions. If you have any driving lesson questions, feel free to add it below.


BIG TOM Driving School   Intensive Driving Course in Bourne 0800 689 4174