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The drivers were asked to come into a building with their passports.
The man could not see the checkpoint, but he would have known what it looked like — barbed wire, watchtowers, umpteen guards with rifles.
It was in accordance with those instructions that Gordievsky stood on a street corner at 7pm on July 16, clutching a Safeway carrier bag.
This was the signal — to British agents working in an office across the street — that he had been blown, and that he needed to escape as soon as possible.
He then took a train north to Leningrad, from where he was to make his way to the town of Vyborg, some 12 miles south-east of the border with Finland.
It seemed like an eternity, but they soon drove on.
However, the next checkpoint proved to be far more of a problem.
Gordievsky was able to show that the Russians were paranoid that the West was planning a nuclear strike, and he also revealed that a senior Politburo functionary called Mikhail Gorbachev might well become a future Soviet leader.