How to do manoeuvres:
We try to make all the manoeuvres very easy for you: We have on our car additional door mirrors which make it easy to see along the side of the car, and to judge where the rear wheels are. Also there is a centre marker in the rear screen to make it simple to reverse in a straight line, and a marker to simplify parallel parking.
Although you won't have all these on your own car when you have passed your test - they make manoeuvring on your test much easier. You will also find that once you understand a manoeuvre, helped by using these aids, you will not find it difficult to do without.
Note: a lot of the photographs and videos were taken using our previous car, similar markers are positioned our our current vehicle. The methods are the same.
On your driving test you will only do one reversing manoeuvre. Each one has an equal chance of being done. However if you take a driving test at a test centre that doesn't have its own car park, the reverse into a bay won't be performed. The reverse into a bay currently isn't done at Clacton, or Brentwood.
Before any manoeuvre your examiner will always stop you at the side of the road, and explain what he wants you to do next.
For all the driving test manoeuvres you have three things to consider:
Control: Tips and techniques are given for each manoeuvre individually. The common theme is that you can stop when you like, take your time, move very slowly and shunt forwards if you need to. If you think that it is going wrong, don’t carry on: STOP, and pull it forwards to correct it. You do not have to rush.
I once had a pupil who shunted forwards 5 times, when parking in a bay, because he wasn't happy with it, and he still passed!
Allegedly the examiner can allow 7 minutes for a manoeuvre. That's ages, so take your time. It is better to slowly get it right, than to quickly get it wrong.
You can also dry-steer (turn whilst stationary) if necessary, it is not a problem on your driving test.
Which way to steer: Some people know instinctively how to steer in reverse. If you struggle with reversing I hope that the following helps:
When you are going forwards you are thinking about the front of the car. When you are going backwards you should be thinking about the back of the car. Then for any reversing manoeuvre just turn the top of the steering wheel to the side that you want to go to. If you want to move the back of the car towards the kerb, steer towards the kerb.
Another way of thinking about is - if you are using the left mirror to see where you want to go, then your initial turn will be towards the left mirror.
It is very easy to focus too much on which way to turn the steering wheel, and to lose the overall picture. Try to look to where you want the car to go, and steer that way.
Reverse left - Look left - Steer left.
When straightening try to have courage in your convictions, and if you begin to turn the steering the way you want to go, and the car doesn't go that way. Don't give up! Continue turning it until the car goes the way you want. If to turn from centre to full-lock takes one-and-a-half turns, before it will go straight you have got to turn it back one-and-a-half turns.
For all reversing manoeuvres done on the car driving test, you will begin your reverse by turning the steering wheel anticlockwise towards your examiner (except a right hand reverse into a car park bay).
Observation: Again for all manoeuvres when reversing look over your left shoulder out of the back window for at least half of the time, preferably more. At numerous times also STOP and look forwards, over your right shoulder and all around as well.
Aim to have at least 3 stop and observe points during each manoeuvre. Always try to avoid being in the process of reversing to the left, and looking to the right. If someone walks across behind, you might run them over. And they won't like that!
Look over your right shoulder when stationary, your left shoulder when moving !
Dealing with others: When you are manoeuvring everybody else has right of way, including pedestrians. So basically, wait for everybody. It doesn't matter how long you wait as long as it's for a reason.
If another car approaches, while you are doing the manoeuvre, try to STOP before the other driver is close enough to have to react to you. If you stop when they are very close they may hit you, because at that point they are expecting you to keep moving. After you've stopped, if they then go past - continue with your manoeuvre. If they stop, or slow right down, and want to wait, let them.
But never just assume that they will stop because they can't get through. They might drive over the pavement to get past. I even had a very large removal lorry do this once. If it can happen, it will.
The exception to the above is on the reverse around the corner where if someone drives up behind you from the side road that you are reversing into. STOP, but then, if they decide to wait, you should not continue, but pull forward and start the manoeuvre again when they are gone.