The 6 point check is an observational safety procedure performed by the driver before moving off from a parked position.
The 6 point check forms part of the MSM (mirror, signal, manoeuvre) routine and is taught by some driving instructors. Based on being parked up on the left side of the road and having the car in gear and ready to go, it is completed as follows:
- Look over your left shoulder into the left-side blind spot
- Check the left door mirror
- Look out of the front windscreen
- Check the rear view mirror
- Check the right door mirror
- Look over your right shoulder into the right-side blind spot
Those are the 6 point checks that need to be completed. As can be seen in the diagram, this forms a 360 degree observation around your car. If you park up on the right-side of the road, before moving off you would perform the 6 point check starting with the right-side blind spot and working your way around the vehicle to finish with the left-side blind spot.
Should You Always do the 6 Point Check Before Moving Off?
What you should do before moving off is effective observation, whether that means the 6 point check or a lesser, minimal version doesn’t matter provided you know it’s safe before moving off.
Effective observation is about making the appropriate visual checks depending on the current situation. Where you may want to consider a full, comprehensive all-round observation such as the 6 point check is if you’re moving off from a busy street where pedestrians may cross the road in front or behind you. Whereas if you’re moving off on a typical residential street that’s relatively quiet, the perfectly adequate moving off checks of looking out the front, the interior mirror, right mirror, right-side blind spot are likely just fine.
My Instructor Says I Should Always do the 6 Point Check
There’s nothing wrong with always doing the 6 point check, but be aware that by the time you make it round to the final check, a vehicle may be approaching. This may be problematic where on a busy road, effective observation may prove equally as safe, but if beneficial due to speed.
What Checks Does the Examiner Want to see?
The driving test examiner is interested only in effective observation and this may vary depending on your situation. Pulling away from a parked position, the examiner will expect as a minimum for you to check the internal mirror, the mirror that represents the direction you are moving to (left or right) along with the applicable blind spot.