Driving Manoeuvres on a Driving Test and How to Master Them

You will learn each of the 5 driving manoeuvres as you progress through your driving lessons. They can be a little awe-inspiring at first as they all involve using reverse, controlling the pace of the car at low speed and using a high level of observation skills at all times.

parking manoeuvre

The good news is you will only be asked to do one, at the most two, during your test. However, because you will not know which you will be asked to do you will need to practice all of them. To keep the article fully up to date we have included changes before and after the December 2017 driving test changes.

Straight reverse

The manoeuvre: The Straight Reverse will become one of the manoeuvres you may be asked to do on the driving test from December 2017. However, it is unlikely to be adding to what you will need to learn. Reversing the car in a straight line is fundamental to so many other manoeuvres you will no doubt practice it early in your driving lessons. In this manoeuvre, you will be expected to reverse the car in a straight line while keeping the car parallel to the kerb and without drifting into the centre of the road.

The examiner will be looking for: If the examiner asks you to replicate this task they will be looking for control, accuracy and observation. They would expect you to keep the car at a slow and consistent speed while you show constant observation of your surroundings

Our top tips:

  • Your starting point is important. Ensure you pull up about 30cm from the kerb – straight and not at an angle. Use your left-wing mirror to confirm this.
  • Before starting make sure your front wheels are straight
  • Use the back window as a reference point. You will need to keep the kerb at the same point in the window at all times.
  • If you started in the correct position you should hardly need to steer at all.
  • Keep constant observation using all mirrors, back window and side windows for pedestrians, other cars and cyclists.

Turn in the road

The manoeuvre: The task has been through some changes. It was originally called the three-point turn and from December 2017 it will not in fact be included as one of the manoeuvres you will be expected to do on your test. But if you have your test coming up before then it is still a possibility. So, if you are asked to do this manouvere you would have to turn the car around within the width of the road ideally in three moves of the car.

The examiner will be looking for: Although the ideal is to turn the car in three moves this can be stretched to five if necessary. You should not touch the curb and you should keep the car slow with good clutch control and effective steering. You should show excellent observation skills.

Our top tips:

  • Before starting the move ensure to show you are checking it is safe to do so. Use your main mirror, right mirror and don’t forget to check your blind spot.
  • Keep checking distance from the kerb and observations of on-coming traffic throughout the manoeuvre.
  • The law states you can remove your seat belt to allow you to reverse more easily but don’t forget to put it back on when you have finished the task.

Parallel parking

The manoeuvre: To successfully reverse park behind a parked car within two car lengths and not too far away from the kerb.

The examiner will be looking for: You must not touch the kerb or mount the pavement. You must use the clutch to control speed and show effective steering and constant observation.

Our top tips:

  • The examiner allows plenty of time for manoeuvres, so do not rush. Take your time and go through the process you have been taught in your head.
  • Before reversing backwards, ensure you have (and shown you have) carried out all necessary observations
  • As you reverse round the parked car, the front end of your own car juts out into the road. This is the most hazardous part of the task. Use all mirrors and check your blind spot for safety.
  • Some roads have difficult cambers. Keep the brake covered to prevent unnecessary rolling.
  • Take your time. Slow and cautious will keep you safe and accurate.
  • When determining positioning, leave enough room to back out of the space.

Reverse around a corner

The manoeuvre: This will only be a manoeuvre you will be asked to do on your test up to December 2017.  It is also known as “left corner reverse”. The learner driver will be asked to pass a minor road junction on the left, stop, and then reverse into the minor road.

The examiner will be looking for: Accuracy in reversing. Staying a consistent distance away from the curb throughout the task and not straying into the road. Keeping control of speed while making appropriate observations.

Our top tips:

  • If it is safe to do so, when passing the road you will be reversing into, check there are no obstructions in the road, or road works etc.
  • The examiner will ask you to park to the left before you begin the task. Make sure you use proper use of mirrors and indicator to do so.
  • You may want to drop your mirror so you can see how close to the curb you are while turning
  • When you stop initially before the task, park a little further away from the curb than normal (i.e. 45 cm rather than 30 cm). This allows more space to make the turn. If you feel you are too close, tell the examiner you wish to move forward to correct this. The examiner allows this without penalty.

Bay Parking

The manoeuvre: This requires the learner driver to park as if they were backing into the bay on a car park (from December 2017 you will be able to drive in or reverse in. The examiner will tell you which is appropriate).

The examiner will be looking for: To keep within the white lines of the bay and not too close to cars on either side. Observation and speed control skills are essential.

Our top tips:

  • Be aware of camber and slopes in the road. You may need to use hill start manoeuvres during the task.
  • As you reverse, keep checking over your shoulder, especially as the car begins to jut out into the road.
  • Choose one of the parking bay lines to help you line up the car. Ensure you learn all your reference points so you can position the car easily, accurately and safely
  • Keep alert for vehicles and pedestrians at all times. It may mean you will need to stop your manoeuvres to let them past before you can continue.

Practice is the key. All those difficult tasks which once seemed so complex and awkward will, we assure you, soon be an absolute breeze – so long as you keep safety a priority at all times. And with that in mind, Go Girl insurance offers that extra level of security at competitive prices by always keeping your unique circumstances at the heart of your policy. Find out more about our new driver insurance.



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