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Using reverse gear is difficult for new drivers. The car steers differently, the front wheels become, in effect, the rear ones. When you drive forward you can see the car turning when you steer. In reverse, you have to wait for the steering to take effect.

Assuming that you have pulled up before the road you are going to reverse into you should apply the following:

  • Select first gear and find the biting point.
  • Before moving off check all around you (remember to check the blind spot).
  • When it is safe to move, release the handbrake and move off smoothly.
  • As you drive past the side road have a look into the road and make sure that it will be safe to reverse into. Look for any obstructions such as parked vehicles, road works, builder’s skips or children playing in the road.
  • You must also take note of the degree of turn required for the corner that you are going to reverse around.
  • If it is safe to perform the manoeuvre then check the mirror and consider any signal that may be required to warn of your intention to pull up after the side road.
  • When you pull up to stop you must take up a position from which you can reverse easily, you should be about two car lengths from the turn and about a drains distance from the kerb. From this position you will not be rubbing against the kerb as you move back and you will not have to reverse a long way to the corner.
  • When you stop apply the handbrake and select the neutral gear while you prepare yourself for the manoeuvre.
  • Take up the position in your seat so that you can comfortably see out of the back window. During the reversing manoeuvre you may remove your seat belt. To move off select reverse gear and find the biting point.
  • When you are ready, take all round observation, check blind-spots and look behind. If it is clear of traffic and pedestrians, release the handbrake and move slowly backwards, keep looking behind out of the back window. If any vehicles are approaching from behind you should stop and let them pass, watch also for any pedestrians that are crossing the road that you are on or are reversing into.
  • Throughout the exercise you must keep the car moving slowly, using the clutch to control the speed.
  • The car is moving slowly back towards the corner and you will need to think about steering in order to turn into the road. The point of turn will be the first curved kerbstone and the amount of steering will depend upon the severity of the kerb through the turn. Some corners are very sharp others are very shallow, the sharper the turn the quicker you will have to turn the steering wheel. This is why it is necessary to access the severity of the corner as you pass the road, try to keep a drains distance the whole way around.
  • You should try to finish the same distance from the kerb as you were when you started.
  • Just before you reach your point of turn you must look all round and make sure that it is safe to continue.
  • As you turn the front of your car will swing out and you must ensure that you will not swing out into the path of any other vehicles. If necessary you should stop at this point and wait for other vehicles to pass, also remember to give way to pedestrians.
  • If it is safe to continue then carry on into the road.
  • If any vehicles come along the road into which you are reversing you must stop and if they are unable to pass you, you should go back into first gear and go back to the start position of the manoeuvre. If it remains clear then as the car begins to straighten turn the steering wheel to straighten up. Carry on in reverse keeping parallel to the kerb for about four car-lengths, stop at this point, and then put on the handbrake and select neutral. Wait for the examiners next instruction Remember, perfection is not expected. Do not assume that you have failed if you think it is not perfect. What you regard as an error may actually be extremely trivial and not marked at all.
  • If you have taken off your seat belt then you should put it back on.

The Driving Test

The examiner on the driving test will expect you to:-

  • Reverse safely
  • Correctly
  • Smoothly
  • Under control
  • Keeping reasonably close to the kerb
  • Without mounting the kerb
  • Without swinging out too wide

The examiner will also be looking to see that you:-

  • Check traffic and road conditions
  • Look out for traffic and pedestrians
  • Stop in a safe position