Throughout the practical driving test, the driving examiner will on occasion simply ask you to park up on the left alongside the kerb and move off again.
Examiners do this to assess your level of safety and to take into account other road users and pedestrians. Along with simply moving off, it’s also likely you will be expected to move off at an angle. Similar to normal moving off, although the difference being that you will be moving off at an angle from behind a parked car.
As simple as it sounds, moving off at an angle requires a higher level of car control and even more thorough observations than usual. This tutorial explains how to correctly move off at an angle to a level that is required by an examiner.
There are two scenarios where you will need to move off at an angle during the driving test. These are:
- After completing the parallel parking manoeuvre where you will finish behind the vehicle in front
- During the normal course of driving, the examiner will ask you to park on the left, behind a specific vehicle
If you are moving off after a parallel park, simply remember that if you got in, you can get out. So in other words, if you managed to reverse behind the vehicle and park successfully, you will have enough room to move off again without the need to reverse again (unless you had driven forward after completing the manoeuvre and not let yourself enough room to get out).
If the examiner asks that you park on the left behind a specific vehicle, remember the tyres and tarmac rule. The tyres and tarmac rule is to stop so that you can see all of the tyres of the vehicle in front and around a metre of road tarmac. For further help on various road positions including the tyres and tarmac rule, see
Before moving off at an angle, you must be able to move off normally from the side off the road. The moving off tutorial explains the necessary procedure including key observation skills and whether it should be necessary to indicate or not. To successfully move off at an angle, you will need to demonstrate two key skills. These skills are:
- Control. The ability to steer quickly and accurately whilst maintaining a high level of clutch control
- Observation. All-round observation with the ability to react quickly to any given situation
From the example in the image below, from the perspective of the red car moving off, you will need a high level of clutch control to enable you to move off slowly, else you may risk hitting the yellow car. For advice on how to gain good control of the clutch and prevent stalling, see tutorials for:
Moving off at an angle is more challenging as it may be harder to see vehicles approaching up ahead and it takes longer than moving off normally, therefore situations are much more likely to change.
The diagram focuses primarily on your areas of observation which represent significant importance due to this manoeuvre taking longer than normal. Once you have the car ready (see moving off), start observations –
- From over your left shoulder blind spot and along the footpath to ensure a pedestrian isn’t about to cross the road.
- As your observations move across to the front, check all interior mirrors and also up the road in front of you. Observations will be obscured by the parked car in front.
- Finish observations with the right-side blind spot.
Although you may often see drivers signalling to move off, it is in fact very seldom needed and is a frequent mistake made during the driving test. Causing another vehicle to alter course or speed may result in a test failure. If you see a vehicle approaching, wait for it to pass, do not signal and perform observations again once passed.
An exception may be if there are pedestrians or cyclists, whilst safe to move off, will provide them with warning of your manoeuvre. Another exception could be that the road is wide enough to move off with oncoming vehicles, allowing you to remain on your side of the road.
Clearance of the vehicle in front
Including all-round observation for other vehicles, cyclists and pedestrians, don’t forget about the vehicle you’re parked behind. Keep continuous checks on clearance. To avoid contact with the vehicle in front, don’t stop too close to it if the examiner asked you to park on the left behind it. Also keep the car extremely slow whilst moving off by use of clutch control, and steer as fast as possible as you begin to move off.
If at any point you feel you may risk contact with the car, stop. With appropriate observation and control, you will need to manoeuvre the vehicle in reverse to create a larger distance from the parked vehicle in front before attempting to move off again.
Essential skills for moving off at an angle
- Continuous all-round observation including sufficient clearance from the vehicle in front and making progress as soon as the observations are complete.
- A high level of clutch control to keep the car slow and avoid stalling. Maintain clutch control until you are clear of the vehicle, have straightened up.
- Signalling – only signal / indicate if necessary. See when to signal when driving.
- Brisk steering is essential to avoid contact with the vehicle in front. Steer briskly to the right just as you begin to move to avoid dry steering.
Common mistakes whilst moving off at an angle
- Insufficient observation, or after the observations are complete, too longer delay before moving off. If there is a delay between completion of the observations and moving off, perform all-round observation once again as the situation may of changed.
- Failure to see an approaching vehicle. Continuous all-round observation is essential. If a vehicle approaches, stop and wait for them to pass before proceeding.
- Incorrect use of signals. Assess the situation carefully before applying a signal. In most circumstances, a signal is unnecessary.
Moving off at an angle tips
- Before attempting any manoeuvre, moving off or moving off at an angle, always Prepare, Observe and then Move (POM) in that order.
- Once you have mastered moving off at an angle and can successfully carry out hill starts, practice moving off at an angle uphill and downhill.
Guides and tutorials related to moving off at an angle
- Moving off normally in a car
- Cover the brake
- Stopping a car
- kerbside parking
- Hit the kerb
- Hill starts