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Otto the Octopus
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 I Love to Help! 

My arms represent the 8 core skills and responsibilities that you, and my friend Mike, will manage together in the car.

Gears & Steering




Safety Decisions


Scanning & Planning


Let's acknowledge, before we start, driving a manual gearbox car is likely to be  the most complex multi-tasking skill  you will ever learn in your lifetime, but it will be...




These are the skills that we will share responsibility for in the car. I am always responsible for ALL of them, and I will gradually teach you elements of each skill and then once you are ready, pass over the responsibility (without assumption) to you. Once you can perform all the skills together you are ready to polish them all up and we can start work on getting you ready for your driving test.

 Gears & Steering 

  • Palming

  • When to change up or down Gears

  • Which Gear for this corner?

  • Lane Discipline

  • Cornering

  • Junction Positioning

  • Control - Steering Accuracy  



  • When to speed up or slow down

  • Dancing

  • Points of no return

  • Speed Limits

  • Appropriate Gear at an Appropriate Speed

  • Appropriate Speed in an Appropriate Gear




  • "As we prepare to, or proceed to, change speed and, or, direction”

  • Mirror checks in Pairs

  • During Lane Changes & Merges

  • Pinch Points



  • Reading Other Road Users Intentions

  • Communicating Our Intentions

  • Giving or Receiving Priority ‘Gifts'

  • Pedestrians


  • DSSSM+ (Door / Seat / Steering Wheel / Seat Belt / Mirrors / Anything Else before we go?) 

  • MSM (Mirror, Signal , Manoeuvre)

  • LADA (Look, Assess, Decide, Act)

  • MSPSGL (Mirror, Signal, Position, Speed, Gear, Look)

  • SCALP (Safe, Convenient And Legal Place)

  • POM (Prepare, Observe, Move)

 Scanning & Planning 

  • Looking & Planning Well Ahead

  • Meeting Traffic

  • Pedestrian Crossings

  • Road Markings

  • Lane Discipline

  • Plans & Options

  • What If…? 



  • What’s The Harm?

  • Clear Communication

  • Good Timing

  • Cancelling to Avoid Confusion




  • Junctions

  • Traffic Lights

  • Roundabouts

  • Give Way & Stop Decisions

  • Control - Rolling Back or Forward

Our 8 Core Skills

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