Reverse Round a Corner
The reversing round a corner or left corner reverse as it is sometimes known is one of four manoeuvres you will need to learn before taking the driving test.
It’s important to always attempt manoeuvres in a step-by-step formula and to use reference points as guides for each step.
This tutorial will demonstrate an ideal technique, in various stages along with reference points that the examiner will be looking for in order to pass this part of the driving test.
The test examiner will be looking for 3 key skills demonstrated by yourself in order to successfully complete the reverse around a corner manoeuvre. These skills are:
- Accuracy – The test examiner will be assessing your ability to reverse round the corner, not touching the kerb / curb or straying too far onto the other side of the road.
- Control – The examiner will be judging your ability to keep the car at a slow and stable speed by use of clutch control.
- Observation. Effective and all round observation must be taken whilst performing the reverse round a corner manoeuvre.
Reverse round a corner diagram A
During the driving test, the examiner will ask you to park up on the left on many occasions. They are observing your accuracy and safety for parking. Another occasion may be the examiner is going to request you demonstrate the reverse round a corner.
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.
Reverse round a corner diagram B
Select first gear, check your main, right mirror and the blind spot to your right and move off 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, check your main mirror, your left mirror and if necessary, signal to the left, just as you would normally park up.
A good parking position in general is around 6 inches from the kerb, however, when parking on the left with the intention of demonstrating the reverse round a corner, park a little further away from the kerb, around a steering wheel width distance. Also, 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 kerb, as you will be reversing, there is a greater chance of you hitting the kerb if you stop too close. 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 an ideal position, cancel the indicator if applicable, apply the handbrake and select reverse gear.
Reverse round a corner diagram C
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 careful of pedestrians also. If a pedestrian is close to the car, you may want to stop and wait for them to pass. Once you are happy it is clear, your observation should then 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 kerb and to gauge where the point of turn is. Frequent checks should be made in the front and out of the rear window. If any vehicles, cyclist or pedestrian approaches to a hazardous distance, stop and let them pass. It is tempting to just stare at the left mirror, but by not making all round frequent checks will likely fail your test.
Now take a look in your left mirror. You should be able to see the kerb going down the road, the distance the car is away from the kerb and the fact that the kerb 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. This speed can be controlled by clutch control. As it is a very slow speed, you may be able to just use the clutch and cover the brake ready to stop if need be. Some cars don’t allow this however and need some gentle gas too. If you feel your speed is creeping up, keep control, slow down or stop if necessary. 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 kerb, not straying too close or too far into the road. Remember, steer towards the kerb to go towards it and steer away from the kerb to get away from it.
The point of turn
Your instructor should provide you with some reference points on how to reach the point of turn. A good indication of where it is, is looking in your left mirror, you will see the straight kerb going down the road with the corner that you are going to reverse round. Whilst reversing, sit up as high as you can make yourself and ensure all the straight part of the kerb 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.
You don’t have to stop at this point, but by doing so will ensure you perform critical observations at this point. Ensure you can just see the corner in your left mirror when you stop. If you can see the kerb, then you know where it is. If you feel you have over-shot the point of turn by too much, 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 failing the entire test.
Reverse round a corner diagram D
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 observation,. This includes the front and your right blind-spot. It is essential because as the front of your car is swinging out, a cyclist could be in your blind-spot. Once you are happy all is clear, look out the rear window and proceed backwards.
How much left steer really depends on how sharp the bend is. The sharper the bend the more left steer you will need. You will be able to assess this easier with the more practice of the manoeuvre. As a beginner, turn the wheel one complete turn to the left. Whilst reversing, you can if you find it easier, steer with one hand. Your hands should ideally be situated at the top and keeping within the quarter to three position.
Going round the corner is the most difficult part. Keep your car extra slow at this point. Remember the kerb that you could just see in your left mirror at the point of turn? Try and keep the kerb in your left mirror whilst going all the way round the corner. If you lose sight of it then you will have some over-correcting to do which complicates things.
One of keys to this manoeuvre is quick reaction. If the kerb starts to disappear then steer towards the kerb 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 kerb or ending up on the other side of the road. Both of which are likely to 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 and it will also fail your test. 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 traffics 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. Remember when I said take a snap-shot of the left mirror in diagram C? As you round the corner, that is the view you are looking for again.
As the kerb in your left mirror begins to straighten and gets parallel with your car, straighten your wheel up. It is then a case of a simple straight reverse until the examiner asks you to stop. Once you have stopped, apply the handbrake and select neutral.
Reverse round a corner tips
Below lists many tips for correctly completing the reverse around a corner manoeuvre.
Reverse round a corner view in mirror
View of the left door mirror when you have parked up on the left ready for the reverse round a corner manoeuvre. Continue reversing until all the straight kerb has gone and keeping the same distance from the kerb. when all the straight kerb has gone, you will have reached the point of turn.
Point of turn
The straight kerb has all gone from the left door mirror and you can only see the curve of the corner in your mirror. You will now know the rear of your car has reached the start of the corner called the ‘point of turn’ ready for turning. As you set off, gently turn to the left, keeping a similar distance from the kerb at all times.
Keeping the car as slow as possible will make the reverse round a corner much easier. It will allow you to constantly observe in all directions and to be accurate in terms of a safe distance from the kerb.
You can perform the best reverse round a corner ever, but not enough looking around will fail the driving test. Constant all-round observation is a must, especially at potentially hazardous moments such as the point of turn.
Approaching vehicles and pedestrians
As this manoeuvre is reversing, it is potentially dangerous as it is difficult to see. Stop for any vehicles and cyclists that are attempting to go round you. If any pedestrians come close to your car, stop allow them to pass before you continue.
If you feel that you have overshot a reference point for example, getting too close to the kerb or too far, don’t be afraid to readjust. If you need to pull forward, inform the examiner what you are doing, and ensure you do all the safety checks before doing so. Readjusting like this may possibly gain you a minor fault, but it’s better than risking hitting or mounting the kerb which is highly likely to result in a test failure.
Essentially, you can get as close to the kerb as you like, providing you just don’t hit it. When you have finished the reverse round a corner manoeuvre, how close you finish to the kerb depends on the width of the road you are reversing into. You don’t want to impede other road users, so if the road is quite narrow you will need to finish close to the kerb as you don’t want to prevent another vehicle from driving round you.
The use of additional mirrors attached to the side mirrors will gain you extra visibility. They may also allow you to see the kerb easier, giving you better control over the manoeuvre.
whilst reversing, you are legally permitted to remove your seat belt. If you feel that whilst performing the reverse round a corner manoeuvre your seat belt is restricting you from moving and observing in any way, consider removing it. Remember though, if you do pull forward to correct or forget to put it on when you drive forward after completing the manoeuvre, you will fail your test.
Other manoeuvres taken in the driving test
Listed below are the three other manoeuvres that may be requested by the examiner during a test.