top of page

 Know Your Cockpit Drill

Driving Instructor

As we all come in slightly different heights & sizes, it is necessary to set a car up for an individual drivers comfort and safety. At the start of your driving lessons with Bolton Driving lessons you will be taught the Cockpit Drill. 


Below is an easy to remember acronym to help you memorize the order in which to set the car up for you to drive.

 The Cockpit Drill = D.S.S.S.M.

Steering a car
Pupil Seated


During your driving lessons in Bolton you will regularly become the driver in charge of the vehicle. You must therefore ensure the safety of your passengers by making sure that all the doors are closed before starting a journey. This includes the hatch back and rear doors if your vehicle has them. To help you to know that all doors are shut, check that the interior light has gone off; also look in the side mirrors along the length of the car to ensure the lines are unbroken, indicating that a door may be open. You may also have a warning light illuminate on your dashboard.



To be comfortable during your driving lessons and to feel completely in control of your vehicle, you need to position the seat so that the foot pedals can be reached easily. Start by pushing the clutch pedal (the left of the three) as far down as it will go. If you can't push it all the way down without having a slight bend in your leg, then the seat needs to move forward until you can do this comfortably. Adjust the seat for height, distance from the steering wheel and comfort. Your driving instructor will show you the controls for the vehicle you are driving.


Seat Belts

Whilst you are having your driving lessons in Bolton it is a legal requirement that you wear your seat belt. As the driver you will now be held legally responsible for passengers under the age of 14 who do not wear their seat belts. Your vehicle will have an illuminated warning light and may also be fitted with an audible aram to warn you if someone fails to fit their seat belt. Always check to ensure all passengers are wearing their seat belts. Do not drive off until everyone has their seat belt on.


You will be using the steering wheel a lot during your driving lessons so will will need to be able to move your hands around the steering wheel freely. The wheel is slightly angled away from you. Imagine the wheel as being like a clock face. Place your hands at the top of the wheel at around the 10 to 2 position.  You should have a slight bend in your elbows if the wheel is at the correct distance. If you are too close or need to stretch for the wheel, you must adjust the back of the seat to enable the correct position to be achieved. Now also check that your head restraint is positioned correctly for you, so that it will, minimize the risk of whiplash you might have in an accident. The top of the head restraint should be approximately in line with the top of your ears.


You should have a minimum of three mirrors in your car. During your driving lessons in Bolton you will be taught the importance of setting up and using each of these mirrors. You will have one interior, one left hand, and one right hand mirror. Your interior mirror needs to be adjusted so that you can see as much of the back windscreen as possible, framing the rear windscreen to give you the best possible view of the road behind. When adjusting the side mirrors, you should be able to see as much of the road as possible and have only a slight view of rear side of your car.

All the above checks and set ups should be done before starting to drive. On the day of your driving test you will be asked two questions related to the controls of your car. These questions will be asked whilst you are driving when the new test comes into force on December 4th 2017. You can view the New Show Me Tell Me Questions by clicking the link.

bottom of page