What is ‘reversing around a corner to the left’ and why do I need to learn it?
Good questions, the answers to which are quite straightforward. Reversing around
a corner is a skill which might come in handy if you need to turn your vehicle around
and the road you are on is not wide enough to perform a ‘turn in the road’. The
manoeuvre itself involves reversing around a corner on the nearside of your car
(the left side) from one road into another whilst keeping reasonably close to the
kerb and taking effective observations. This is 1 of a possible 4 manoeuvres that
you will be asked to carry out in your practical driving test.
When can I perform the ‘reverse around a corner to the left’ manoeuvre?
First and foremost, you need to make sure the location of where the manoeuvre is
carried out is suitable and safe. You must not under any circumstances reverse from
a minor road into a major road, cars on the main road will probably be travelling
at some distance so reversing into a steady stream of fast moving traffic is obviously
a bad idea. If you are on a busy single lane road, stopping to reverse into a side
road on the left is also quite dangerous and a very bad idea. The moral here is
this, take some initiative before deciding to reverse your vehicle into a side road
by checking the road conditions and more importantly, the speed and amount of traffic
on the road. If you are asked to perform this manoeuvre during your practical driving
test then your examiner will ensure the road they have selected is safe and suitable.
What will the examiner be looking for in this manoeuvre ?
There are a few things that your driving test examiner will mark you on if you are
asked to perform this manoeuvre during your practical exam. The 3 items in particular
and what is required for each to be satisfied are shown below:
Control – Are you controlling the car properly or is the vehicle out of your control
when performing this manoeuvre?
Accuracy – Is the manoeuvre carried out accurately? If you did it again would it
be pretty similar to the first time?
Observation – Did you take effective observations before, after and during the manoeuvre?
Did you react when you saw anything that might cause you a problem (such as another
car or pedestrians)?
If the examiner is happy that all of these boxes are ticked then you can rest assured
that the manoeuvre has been carried out successfully. Figure 1 below shows the section
of the marking sheet which will be used if you carry out this manoeuvre in your
Figure 1. Part of the marking sheet where the 'reverse around a corner to the left' manoeuvre will be marked
So we’ve given you the back ground information, now lets get down to business. The
following part of the tutorial will take you through a step by step guide on how
to perform the ‘reverse around a corner to the left’ manoeuvre. We will explain
in detail, with the help of videos and pictures, how to perform this manoeuvre to
a test standard, this is the method that Fineline Driving Academy uses when teaching
our own pupils!
How to successfully ‘reverse around a corner to the left’.
The manoeuvre will begin with the examiner asking you to pull up on the left just
before a junction, he/she may just be checking that you can park correctly or they
may want you to perform a manoeuvre.
At this stage of your practical exam, if this manoeuvre is required by your examiner
then you will be told something similar to:
“I would like you to use that bend to reverse your car around the corner to the left
while staying reasonably close to the kerb’
Now you can begin to use our step by step guide to successfully carry out the manoeuvre:
1) You need to drive slowly past the junction and have a good look at the corner
itself, see if the bend is sharp or gentle? Is there any debris or gutters in your
path that might affect you? Is the road flat or uphill/downhill? You need to pull
up again on the left after the junction around a car and a halfs length from the
start of the junction, dont indicate until you pass the junction so you don’t mislead
anyone that might be emerging from the junction. Figure 2 below shows which position
you should now be in:
Figure 2. Second starting position
2) Open your window to about at least 2 inches or more if you wish, this will help
you hear any traffic that might drive down your road. Remember to stop for anything
that might cause you a problem such as a pedestrian crossing your path or a passing
car. You wont need any gas for the manoeuvre, the movement created by teasing the
clutch will be more than enough. Select reverse gear and get the biting point ready,
do your six point check and only proceed if all is clear.
3) If all is clear, release the handbrake and begin to tease the clutch up and down
around the biting point. You can take off your seatbelt if you wish because you
are reversing although we at Fineline Driving Academy don’t promote this as there
is a big chance you’ll forget to put it on again afterwards! You need to be looking
mainly behind you and glancing at your left mirror, whilst pausing every 6-8 seconds
to look all the way around. Keep reversing in a straight line until you get to your
point of turn (see next part for explanation).
4)The point of turn is the point at which our back wheels are in line with the part
of the kerb that begins to bend, this is clear in your blind spot mirror. Figure 3 below shows the point of turn for this particular corner:
Figure 3. The point at which you need to start turning.
Now that the point of turn has been reached, you’ll need to turn your steering wheel
half the way around to the left. Before you do this, pause and check all around
your vehicle (6 point check) because your car is about to swing out and you’ll need
to check all of your blind spots and surrounding area is clear. Now that you have
steered to left, you’ll see a different situation in your left mirror, something
similar to that shown in figure 4 below:
Figure 4. What you will see in your left mirror after you have turned and reversed around a metre more
5) Now the task is simple, if you see in your mirror that your car is getting further
from the kerb then steer another half turn to left. Similarly, if you are getting
too far from the kerb, steer half a turn to the right. You need to maintain the
same distance all around the bend. Don’t forget to move your car very slowly whilst
keeping an eye on your surroundings, stop every 6-8 seconds to look around, and
looking mainly behind you (don’t just stare at your mirror). The video below shows
an example of this, notice how a half steer to the left/right is done when you notice
that you are getting further/closer to the kerb.
VIDEO SHOWING GETTING CLOSER/FURTHER FROM THE KERB AND REACTION TO IT
6) Keep looking through the back window, wait until the kerb lines up with the middle
of your rear window (if your vehicle has a back wiper in the middle like our one
then you can use the wiper as a guideline for the middle). When it lines up, you
can straighten your wheels because now the vehicle is straight, figure 6 should
clear this up:
Figures 5,6,7. The back window reference point, lining up the kerb with the middle of your back window (where your wiper starts)
Sometimes there might be a parked vehicle behind you that blocks the kerb, if that
is the case then you can keep checking your left mirror and wait until you see the
kerb straighten out. Figure 8 shows the mirror view when your car is parallel to the
kerb and you can straighten the wheels:
Figure 7. Lining up the kerb to finish straight and parallel to the kerb.
7) Keep reversing back to around about 3 car lengths distance from the junction,
don’t forget to keep looking around because it would be a shame to miss a passing
vehicle at the finishing stages of the manoeuvre. When the vehicle stops, you should
still be looking behind you (left shoulder), once you are 3 car lengths from the
junction, apply the handbrake and select neutral. Your examiner will now direct
you on which way to go.
We know all of that was quite a lot of information to take in, use the photos and
videos to help you and get plenty of practise for this manoeuvre! Check out the
following video where we have tried to fit in as much information as possible to
show you how to correctly complete the manoeuvre in full.
Useful points to remember when carrying out the ‘reverse left’ manoeuvre.
There are a few pointers you should bear in mind when performing the ‘reverse around
a corner to the left’ manoeuvre, this part of the tutorial is vital because it could
be the difference between your manoeuvre being successful or unsuccessful, so LISTEN
Although the most important points to remember for the manoeuvre have been mentioned
already, heres a quick recap:
• Open your window before the manoeuvre starts so you can hear traffic, make sure
you stop if someone drives towards you. If they stop then you should carry on with
caution, if they have room to pass then check around again after they have gone.
Never wave on other traffic, let them make their own mind up.
• When you move from your parked position (figure 2) to your starting point (figure
3), make sure you DO NOT indicate because this might mislead anyone emerging from
the junction you are passing.
• Observations are very important, you should be mainly looking behind you (left
shoulder through back window) whilst stopping the car every 6-8 seconds to take
an all around look before continuing.
• Move very slowly by gently teasing the biting point. If you move too fast you’ll
be too close to the kerb/too far from the kerb before you can correct yourself.
• When you reach your point of turn (figure 4), stop and check your right blind
spot to make sure it is clear because the car will swing out.
• Keep a close eye on your left mirror, but don’t stare at it. This will tell you
how close you are to the kerb, react if the distance from the kerb gets closer/further
by steering to the right/left.
• When your manoeuvre finishes, you should be looking behind you out of the back
FINELINES guide to dealing with the ‘reverse around a corner to the left’ manoeuvre
Our thorough tutorial should provide you with everything you need to perform the
‘reverse around a corner to the left’ manoeuvre to a driving test standard. There
is quite a bit to take in however our vast selection of videos shouldn’t make the
manoeuvre too difficult to understand, you can always contact us on
or visit our forum (link to forum) if you have any questions. This is the
method we teach to all of our learners at Fineline Driving Academy and it has proven
very successful in the past, therefore we have passed on our knowledge to our loyal
• After your examiner has explained that she/he would like you to use the corner
ahead to perform a reverse left manoeuvre, open your window slightly, get your biting
point ready and do a 6 point check.
• If it is clear, proceed to your starting position (figure 3) just past the junction
and look at the bend to see if it is sharp or gentle as you pass it. Don’t indicate
left before you pass the junction you will be reversing into because any traffic
coming out of this junction might be misled.
• Begin to reverse by teasing the clutch just above/below the biting point whilst
looking mainly behind you (out of your back window). When you reach your point of
turn (figure 4), briefly check your right shoulder blind spot and turn to the left
by half a turn.
• Using your blind spot mirror within the left mirror, keep the car this distance
from the kerb. If the car gets further then turn more to the left, if it gets closer
then turn more to the right.
• Keep looking out of the back window and pausing every 6-8 seconds to look all
around, when you get a similar view out of your back window like figure 6 in the
tutorial, it is time to start straightening up.
• Reverse back to around 3 to 4 car lengths from the start of the junction and stop,
make sure you are looking behind you when you stop. Await further instructions from