Mirror Signal Manoeuvre is the first thing you should learn when starting to drive.
In the Philippines, it seems many drivers and riders have never learnt the first step of learning to drive, or if they have they forget to use it.
How often do you have to brake because a motorcycle pulls in too soon when they overtake? It happens a lot and it happens because they guess when they are past rather than check their mirrors.
How often do drivers pull away and nearly hit you because they failed to check their mirror before pulling away? Jeepney, Bus and Tricycle drivers are the worst offenders.
How often do you see drivers or riders change lanes and nearly get hit? Motorcycle riders are the worst offenders for this.
On a short 5km drive in the Philippines, you will see the above happen many times and it could be avoided if people used Mirror Signal Manoeuvre.
Mirror Signal Manoeuvre Meaning
What Mirror Signal Manoeuvre means is every time you are about to make a manoeuvre when driving you should check your mirrors first then signal that you are about to manoeuvre.
How Often Should You Use Your Mirrors
The answer is all the time, you should always be aware of the vehicles behind you.
Every few seconds you should have a quick glance in your mirrors.
If you are teaching someone to drive a good way to teach the student to use their mirrors enough is to ask them what colour the car behind them is, they should be able to answer without checking the mirrors again.
When taking a driving test in many countries if the examiner does not see your eyes checking the mirrors a lot you will fail the driving test.
The main times to use your mirrors are every time before you make a manoeuvre, and every time you slow up or stop.
What Mirror to Use.
Use all your mirrors every time before you manoeuvre, in a car check all three mirrors before every manoeuvre, in truck, van, Tuk Tuk or on a motor Motorcycle check both mirrors.
A quick glance at all mirrors should be carried out before every manoeuvre, and they should be checked regularly while driving.
While we have already stated you should check all mirrors when making any manoeuvre you should take an extra good look in the mirror on the side you are going to manoeuvre to.
For example, if turning left have a quick check of all mirrors and then check your left mirror carefully and then check it again.
If you are turning right again check and all mirrors and then check very carefully your right side mirror and check it again.
Why Use Your Mirrors When Slowing Down and Stopping
I have had people ask me why they should use their mirrors when stopping, the answer is simple it is firstly for your own protection. And secondly to protect the person behind you.
While legally it is the person following duty to stop or avoid you when you slow down or stop you should never presume they will.
Maybe the driver of the vehicle has been distracted or is not paying attention to the road in front of him, so it is good to check your mirrors before stopping to make sure he is aware of what you are doing.
There have been many times where I would have been rear-ended if I was not checking my mirrors and often I have avoided it by pulling just a metre forward. I could tell they were driving too fast to stop so I pulled forward to give them more room to stop.
This is why when you stop you should always leave a space between you and the vehicle in front of you.
Signal Then Use Your Mirror Again.
Since the 1950s road safety and driving instructors have been promoting Mirror Signal Manoeuvre, However, it is not strictly true.
When taking my Heavy Goods Vehicle Test and when doing Defensive Driving Courses I was taught Mirror, Signal, Mirror Again, Manoeuvre.
Why Mirror again? Cars, Motorcycles etc. accelerate far faster now than they used to in the 1950s, so in the time it takes to signal a vehicle could suddenly appear beside you.
Checking the mirror again you can see if vehicles behind you have noticed your signal and taking the action they need to take.
In the Philippines, it is even more important to check your mirrors after signalling as many drivers ignore signals and others that have a very bad driving attitude take them as a signal to speed up to prevent you from making your manoeuvre.
See What Happens When a Driver Ignores a Signal and why you should check mirrors again
Now you know the Mirror Signal Manoeuvre Meaning make sure you carry it out without fail. To be blunt if you do not do it you should not be on the road as you are putting yourself and other road users in danger.
In Part 2 we will talk about signalling.
The Author has been interested in Tuk Tuks for over 40 years. His passion for Tuk Tuks started in 1979.
Allan has a huge amount of driving experience and knowledge of the laws and rules of the road. You would be hard-pressed to find anyone with more experience.
He was a professional Heavy Goods Vehicle Driver for over 30 years and in that time drove over 5 million kilometres, in 11 different countries.
He has been on many driving courses in his life which include courses for safe driving, defensive driving, advanced driving and fuel saving. He also has a Certificate of Profesional Competence in International Road Transport Management, part of which included learning Laws, Rules and Regulations of the Road most of which come under the Vienna Convention on Road Traffic and the Vienna Convention on Road Signs and Signals.
He also spent 4 years researching the laws on Three-Wheelers in the Philippines.
Allan is very keen to share his driving expertise and knowledge to help road users in the Philippines become safer drivers.