SCALP Driving Routine

During a driving test there will be many occasions the examiner will ask you to park up on the left. This is to ensure you park up safely, legally and with good control.

Finding a safe place to pull over on the driving test now also includes pulling up on the right. Pulling up on the right is manoeuvre that we cover in a separate tutorial. The SCALP routine can be applied for pulling up on either the left or the right-hand side of the road.

When the examiner asks you to pull over, they will specify whether it is the left or right side of the road that they wish you to pull over, they may also refer to the SCALP driving routine by asking you to park up in a Safe, Convenient And Legal Position.

Parking up may seem like a simple task although a great many driving tests are failed for this reason alone. During a driving test, examiners take the parking up process seriously.

A good amount of forward planning and anticipation is needed to successfully complete this task as it is likely the examiner will request this procedure many times. A good braking techniques such as progressive braking makes for safer driving, and once perfected, allows for easier parking.

SCALP driving routine
SCALP driving routine


Avoid stopping too close to a bus stop if avoidable as this will make it difficult for buses to pull in or out depending where you stopped. Avoid also parking opposite a bus stop on the opposite side of a road as this may cause inconvenience to other road users if a bus pulls up and could be potentially hazardous. Although not illegal, if you cause sufficient inconvenience to other road users simply due to a lack of forward planning, it can potentially fail a test.

Similarly, avoid parking up opposite another parked vehicle if the road isn’t sufficiently wide to allow traffic safe and easy passage. Try to think also if a bus or large vehicle needs to pass. Avoid if possible parking on or near a brow of a hill as this can be hazardous for passing vehicles that cannot see the road ahead. Avoid parking where kerbs have been dropped to aid wheel chair users. Avoid also stopping your car on a sharp bend as this is hazardous for approaching vehicles.

The above scenarios may not be illegal (unless signs or road markings suggest otherwise) and may or may not fail a driving test. It depends on the circumstances (was somewhere safer to park easily found?) and also if due to your inappropriate parking a potential or actual hazard developed.


Do not park in front of a property entrance even though it is for a short period of time. This isn’t illegal but will certainly be inconvenient for the property owner if they should wish to leave or return. Parking on the opposite side of the road to a property entrance is acceptable.

Although not likely to affect the results of your test, avoid parking next to lamp posts or telegraph poles as this may damage your passenger door when opened. For the passengers convenience, avoid if possible stopping in puddles or muddy areas.


Avoid parking on double yellow lines as this is of course illegal. The examiner will not trick you and ask you to park up where double yellow lines are, however if it takes you some time to park, you may enter an area that has double yellow lines. Although it’s important to park up safely, take enough time to ensure the process is safe, but also try not to take all day about it as this will irritate the examiner.

Parking too close to a school entrance on the yellow zigzag lines is illegal and will not only fail a driving test but can render any motorist subject to prosecution. Zigzag lines must not be parked on as they are implemented for safety reasons. The same applies for any zigzag lines found at pedestrian crossings.

Do not park too close to junctions and allow a minimum of 10 metres, this also includes junctions on the opposite side of the road. This is potentially hazardous for other road users as it obstructs their observations. Technically, it’s not illegal to park within 10 metres of a junction if you are forced to do so by other stationary traffic. It does become an offence however if you park in such places unnecessarily causing obstruction.

Unnecessarily parking in such areas and depending on how close to a junction is likely to fail a driving test. Further information can be obtained regarding the dangers of parking too close to a junction in the Stopping a car tutorial.

Similarly to junctions, avoid parking too close to a roundabout or more often, mini roundabouts. This can stop the flow of traffic on the roundabout if a vehicle needs to give way for oncoming traffic whilst waiting behind you.

You must not park on pavements unless signs specifically permit this. Although it is not illegal to park on a pavement outside of London and other areas that prohibit such parking by the use of road markings or signs, it inconveniences pedestrians and will most certainly fail a driving test.

You must not stop in bus lanes unless the bus lane is out of operation hours and road marking do not prohibit parking. Similarly you must not park in bus stops. You must not park in cycle lanes unless the cycle lane is broken and there are no road markings prohibiting parking. Avoid also parking in disabled parking zones.


4 thoughts on “SCALP Driving Routine”

  1. Charles

    You correctly state that parking up on the right can be dangerous when moving off so do you agree that the new driving test from 4th December 2017 is potentially dangerous as it requires candidates to park on the right reverse 2 car lengths then move off. I do not understand how DVSA can ask candidates to carry out this procedure when it is against the Highway Code in that you should not park against the flow of traffic? Any advice would be welcomed. Thank you

  2. Hello Charles,
    I suppose there’s two ways of looking at this.
    1. Parking on the right against the traffic flow does inherent dangers, but it is something that some drivers do, so it could be argued that it’s perhaps better to teach learners how to do it as safely as possible (though there is a contradiction with that).
    2. I can see this ‘manoeuvre’ failing many tests. It is of course very difficult to see how safe or clear the road ahead is when moving off from the right – even if you reverse initially. I certainly hope that the examiner is willing to help the test candidate with observation before pulling away else this could be very dangerous indeed. I think other than being dangerous, it could also be somewhat controversial. If a learner moved off from the right and caused another driver to change speed or direction, this would constitute a test failure. The test candidate could argue that this was unavoidable as they needed to move out a certain amount to see if the road was clear. Also, this could be unfair as it might be a manoeuvre that the candidate never chooses to do in ‘real life’ due to the dangers, yet they’re forced to do it on the test.

    So yes, I think there will be issues.

  3. Ashutosh Atray

    You have mentioned LADA. What about I P D E ? Inspect- Predict- Decide- Execute routine. This looks more appropriate in todays driving conditions….

  4. Hello Ashutosh,
    As you mentioned, we use LADA – Look, Assess, Decide and Act, which in principle is the same routine to follow.

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