The driving test examiner will be looking for these key skills:
- Accuracy – The test examiner will be assessing your ability to reverse round the corner, not touching the curb or straying too far onto the other side of the road.
- Control – The examiner will be judging your ability to use the clutch to keep the car at a slow and stable speed.
- Observation – Effective and all round observation is essential!
The examiner will ask you to park up on the left, just before the turn you are going to reverse into as in diagram A. When the examiner asks you to park up, ensure you check your main mirror, your left mirror and signal to the left if necessary. Once you have stopped the car, cancel the signal if applicable, apply the handbrake and select neutral.
The examiner is now going to ask you that they would like you to demonstrate the reverse round a corner manoeuvre.
Move off (using the POM routine) into the position in diagram B. As you are moving off to this position, check the road you are going to be reversing into is clear from obstructions.
Before stopping on the left about 3 or 4 car lengths from the junction, check your main mirror, your left mirror and if necessary, signal to the left, just as you would normally before you stop.
A good stopping position is around a drain’s width from the curb.
Ensure that your car is straight and that your steering wheel is straight. This will ensure you have a good start when you begin reversing.
If you park to close to the curb before reversing, you might hit the curb when reversing.
If you feel you have parked too close, tell the examiner you are going to pull forward slightly to correct this. Providing you do all the necessary safety checks before correcting, the examiner should be happy with this.
Once you have stopped in the correct position, cancel the indicator if applicable, apply the handbrake and select reverse gear.
You will now need to have a straight reverse to the point of turn indicated in diagram C. Before you begin to move the car in reverse, all round observations must be completed. If there are any cars or cyclists approaching, wait till they have passed.
Be very careful of pedestrians! If a pedestrian is close to the car, you MUST stop and wait for them to pass.
Once you are happy it is clear to go, your main observation should be out of the rear window as this is the direction you are travelling.
If there is any delay between your observations and moving the car, all round observation should be completed again. It only takes a few seconds for the situation to change.
As you are reversing to the point of turn, frequent checks should be made in your left mirror to establish your distance from the curb and to gauge where the point of turn is. Frequent checks should also be made in the front and out of the rear window.
If any vehicles, cyclist or pedestrian approaches you MUST stop and let them pass. It is tempting to just stare at the left mirror, but by not making all round frequent checks you may not see an approaching pedestrian or road user.
Now take a look in your left mirror. You should be able to see the curb going down the road, the distance the car is away from the curb and the fact that the curb is parallel to the car. Take a snapshot of that view as it is a similar view you want in the left mirror when you have driven round the corner.
You will need to keep your car very slow. If you think of a slow walking pace, that should give you an idea.
If the car is going faster than this, dip the clutch to slow the car and brake if necessary for example, if you are reversing downhill.
The examiners permit you plenty of time for manoeuvres. Use it.
By performing the reverse round a corner very slowly will enable you to keep good control whilst making frequent all round checks.
Whilst reversing, try and keep an equal distance from the curb, not straying too close or too far into the road.
Remember, steer towards the curb to go towards it and steer away from the curb to get away from it.
Your instructor should provide you with some reference points on how to reach the point of turn (POT).
You can tell when you have reached the POT by looking in your left mirror (see image left).
Whilst reversing, sit up as high as you can make yourself and ensure all the straight part of the curb has gone. When you can see only the corner in your left mirror and when the corner itself has nearly disappeared from your mirror, that will be the point of turn. When you have reached the point of turn, stop the car and make sure it is safe to proceed. Make effective, all round observations. .
If you feel you have over-shot the point of turn, explain to the examiner that you would like to pull forward slightly to adjust. By correcting yourself like this, it may possibly lead to a minor fault, but it is of course better than losing control of where you are and making a serious error.
When moving away from the point of turn, you are going to need to steer left to go round the corner. This is going to make the front of your car move out into the road as in diagram D.
Before you move from the point of turn, stop the car, take all round, EFFECTIVE, observations – the front of your car is swinging out and a cyclist could be in your blind-spot.
Once you are happy all is clear, look out the rear window and proceed backwards.
Steer left to get into the new road.
The sharper the bend the quicker you will need to put the left turn on.
Going round the corner is the most difficult part. Keep your car extra slow at this point.
Remember the curb that you could just see in your left mirror at the point of turn? Try and keep the curb in your left mirror whilst going all the way round the corner. If you lose sight of it, keep steering left until it comes back into view but no more than one complete turn of the wheel.
One of keys to this manoeuvre is quick reaction. If the curb starts to disappear then steer towards the curb to bring it further back in view. If it gets closer, steer away from it. Taking too long to react may result in hitting the curb or ending up on the other side of the road. Both of which could result in a test fail.
Remember, don’t just stare at the left mirror. Constant all-round observation is needed. It is dangerous if you don’t. Observation whilst going round the corner should be to the left and right of the road and out of the rear window in the direction you are travelling. Providing the car is very slow, you can do all of this and keep good control.
Stopping the car
As you are driving round the corner in reverse, the front of your car is hazardous and straying more into the road. If any vehicles or cyclists are approaching from your left, right or behind you, stop the car. Generally, when you reach the point that your car is entering the new road and is getting out of traffic’s way off the old road instead of in it’s way, there is no need to stop. At this point, only stop if traffic is entering the road you are driving into or if it is coming from behind you.
Usually, traffic coming from behind you should realise what you are doing and drive around you. If they happen to stop directly behind you and do not attempt to go round you, you may have no other option but to pull forward to get out of their way.
As the curb in your left mirror begins to straighten and gets parallel with your car, straighten your wheel up by steering one turn to the right.
It is then a case of getting closer or further away from the kerb as required. Only turn the steering wheel one quarter turn to the left (to get closer) or one quarter turn to the right (to get further away from the kerb. If you turn the wheel more than that, you will end up snaking down the road!
Go back 3/5 car lengths and don’t stop opposite a parked car or across a driveway.
Once you have stopped, apply the handbrake and select neutral.