REVERSE TO THE LEFT

On your driving test, as stated earlier, you will be required to demonstrate your skills in a manoeuvre.

It might be to reverse round a corner to your left. The three skills required to complete this are:

  • good coordination of your controls, i.e. brake, clutch, gears, steering all working together
  • proper observation, which means you need to know where you are looking, what you are looking for and your response to what you see
  • reasonable accuracy, i.e. keeping reasonably close to the kerb throughout the manoeuvre

Firstly you have to decide if it is a safe, legal and convenient place to undertake the exercise. For example, it would be illegal to do this on a one way street or from a side road into a main road. Is it safe? It should be a reasonably quiet road and not a main road, nor should it be at a crossroads. As usual, you must always be on the lookout for children.

To start the exercise you would pull up and stop before the turning you plan to reverse into and then assess the corner: is it a sharp corner or a sweeping corner? This will help you get the correct point of turn, which should be somewhere visible through the rear nearside window. Your instructor will have advised you on how to pinpoint this depending on the type of corner. As you drive past the corner to your starting position, you should look at the road into which you intend to reverse to ensure there are no hazards or to be aware of any potential hazards, i.e. whether the corner is on a slope, either up or down.

As you pull into the left to your starting position, you should go 2 to 3 car lengths past the corner and you should start reasonably close to the kerb, i.e. about two thirds of a metre. You can look for reference points to help you achieve this, i.e. if there is a drain, stop your car to the right of the drain, or you could use the tarmac or any marking on the road. The skill of maintaining a consistent distance from the kerb can be aided by looking through the rear window at the kerb on the opposite corner before you start to reverse. Although you will lose this reference point during the manoeuvre itself, specifically at the turning point where the kerb will be visible in the rear nearside window, you should aim to regain that same reference point of kerb in relation to the rear window when the manoeuvre is complete.. Now prepare your car, using your POM routine. This will include a 360 degree look around your car. If the road is clear you can move the car extremely slowly back towards the corner, looking through the rear window in the direction of travel, but every half car length you should also look forward for any oncoming vehicles that you would have to give way to. Your point of turn will vary, depending on the shape of the corner (your instructor will advise you on this). Your point of turn is actually when your rear wheel is level with the apex of the corner. At this stage you will need to refresh your observations especially, your right shoulder blind spot check. Remember that as you steer to the left the front of the car will swing out to the right so you need to know that the space is clear. When clear, you will steer as required to the left to take the car backwards around the corner. It is always advisable to have a second blind spot check whilst doing this. Maintain the car’s passage round the corner, always looking through the rear window until the turn is complete. You should then quickly take off the steering lock you have applied until the wheels are straight, i.e. parallel to the kerb, travelling back 2 to 3 car lengths to a stop position.

This completes the manoeuvre.