A-Class Driving School's Online Driving Tutorial -
The left reverse (reverse around the corner)


There are two ways of doing this.  Method one is just below.  This is my preferred method for everyone, however it's not always possible due to seating positions and height.  Method two is much further down and is often adopted by drivers who sit close to the wheel or who struggle with method one.

Why do we do this maneuver?  It's just to change direction.  The examiners are going to be marking you on three things; co-ordination of your controls (setting the gas, finding the bite, steering), observations and accuracy.

The reverse around the corner, for some, can be the most difficult of the maneuvers as every corner is different, and therefore what you do for each one may change.

The examiner will ask you to pull over to the side of the road at some stage during the exam.  Make sure you apply the handbrake, put the car into neutral and switch off your signal if you used one.  They will then point out the corner he wants you to reverse around.  Before you begin, have a look at this corner from where you are.  Is it steep, i.e a 90 degree bend?  Or is it a gradual, gentle bend?  It’s important that you can identify both.

This method is for taller students  

Step one – When you move off, make sure you look over your shoulder, approach the corner slowly.  Again, look at the corner; see if it does anything strange, like turn beyond 90 degrees.  When you are half way across the new road you must M-S-M before moving to the side of the road.  Do not pick up a parked position, this will make you too close to the kerb and greatly increase your chances of error.  Something like the width of a car steering wheel will do fine.  Go forward past the corner two car lengths.  Make sure your wheels are straight. Brake and stop smoothly, apply the handbrake, put the car into reverse.  


Image 1 is what you will see when you first look behind you.  Plenty of kerb visible in the back window.


Observe all around you and if you are not going to make anyone slow down or change direction for you, release the handbrake and slowly move backwards looking over your left shoulder out of the rear window.  You need to move the car backwards in a straight line until you reach your point of turn.  Your point of turn is when the kerb is just about to disappear in the  back window.  You want to leave enough visible as you're going to need to keep an eye on it.  See image two on the right.

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a-class driving school, left reverse, driving school, online driving tutorials, driving tutorial, reverse around the corner

Step two – Your point of turn is when your back wheel is level with the first curved corner stone.  Which is difficult to work out, so we use the kerb position of where it's just about to disappear in the corner of the back window.  

Observations are far more important than accuracy in this exercise as you are not looking to park the car.  We are just looking to change direction and you’ll be in some vulnerable positions.

Step three – Get a full observation in here, looking for cars in either direction.  We will potentially be slowing everyone down here, so it needs to be very clear in all directions.

Step four - Once you're sure it's clear, get the car moving and all you need to do is keep the kerb just about visible.  You will need to turn as much or as little as you need to to keep the kerb in the corner.  There is no set amount, which is why this can be more difficult for some people.  The thing to remember here is that we are only following the kerb for a very short time, about a meter or two.  At your first point of turn (when the kerb is just about to vanish from the rear window) you're looking at the kerb half way round the bend.  We're only following it until it becomes straight, just as in the bottom right image.  I'd recommend adding 1/2 a turn to the left at this stage.  You may need more, you might have to take a bit off, but it gets everything going in the correct direction immediately and will not result in mounting the pavement.  A full turn probably will. 

Small movements from the hand is also advised.  If the pavement gets too small or disappears, you're loosing it, add more turn to the left to get it back.  If the pavement starts to get bigger, you've too much turn on, turn to the right to get away from it.  You could be about to mount it.  1/4 turns at a time and allow the car to move a bit before turning again seems to work well for most.  

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a-class driving school, left reverse, driving school, online driving tutorials, driving tutorial, reverse around the corner

 

Step five –  At this stage have a look to see if you are halfway between the two roads.  If you aren't, keep the wheel exactly where it is and get the car moving.  It will probably only be a very small amount. 

We want to be in the position of the diagram below.  Look out of your right window to judge this.  It should look something like the photo on the right here. 

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a-class driving school, left reverse, driving school, online driving tutorials, driving tutorial, reverse around the corner

 

 Step six

All you need to do now is leave the turn as it is and come back until the car is parallel with the pavement.  You'll know this when the pavement in the back window looks like the image opposite.  So when the pavement is a couple of inches from the middle of the window, stop.  You can check your left door mirror to see if you are indeed parallel.

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a-class driving school, left reverse, driving school, online driving tutorials, driving tutorial, reverse around the corner

 Step 7

Whilst stationary, have a look at the wheel and have a think about how to get the wheels to straight again.  Then, after observing, get the car moving and take the turn off so you finish with straight wheels and move back a few car lengths.  So much so another car from behind could over take and position themselves safely at the end of the road for emerging. 

Shorter students / Students who sit close to the wheel

Your method is slightly different and is adopted when you sit closer to the wheel.  The reason for using this is because the view out of the back window doesn't show you enough kerb, causing you to stop early, turn too soon and bump kerbs.  So for you, please follow these guidelines.


Step one – When you move off, make sure you look over your shoulder, approach the corner slowly.  Again, look at the corner; see if it does anything strange, like turn beyond 90 degrees.  When you are half way across the new road you must M-S-M before moving to the side of the road.  Do not pick up a parked position, this will make you too close to the kerb and greatly increase your chances of error.  Something like the width of a car steering wheel will do fine.  Go forward past the corner two car lengths.  Make sure your wheels are straight. Brake and stop smoothly, apply the handbrake, put the car into reverse.  

Now reverse backwards until you something like this image opposite in your left door mirror.  Here you have a small section of pavement in the bottom left section of the mirror.  The kerb coils around and finishes almost in the middle of the mirror.  Try to divide your time between using the mirror and looking behind you.  A low speed is key.

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Step Two - All you need to do now is observe for other road users and when all is clear, come back keeping the kerb in the mirror in the same place.  So here keeping the kerb stones in the middle of the mirror.  

If the kerb starts to come towards you, you have too much turn on, you're going to bump, get away from it, turn to the right.  If the kerb starts to get smaller, moves to the left and is on the verge/has vanished, you need to turn more to the left.  Small hand movements, try no more than a 1/4 rotation of the wheel at a time.  See how the car moves before adding/taking off any more.  It takes the car twice the amount of time to move in reverse, so do give the vehicle time to respond to your changes before deciding if you need to alter it further. 

You can use the fish-eye mirror to see how the corner unfolds further around the bend.  You MUST NOT just use the mirror.  It's too easy to stare at this.  There could be danger elsewhere around you.  Divide your time up between using the mirror and looking around you.  Stop when the car is between the two roads and is sat on-top of the give-way lines.

Step Three - Get a full observation done here, you're at your most vulnerable from cars coming from possible three directions.  When it's safe, get the car moving keeping the kerb in the same place in the door mirror. Come back until the kerb is completely straight and you're inline with the kerb.  Stop.  See photo opposite.

Step Four - Have a look at the wheel.  See how much turn you have on, then have a thick on what you need to do to get the wheels on the ground back to straight.  Know how much you'll turn the wheel when you move.  Prepare the car, observe and with quick hands and a slow car, take the turn off.  Come back 4 car lengths.  

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a-class driving school, left reverse, driving school, online driving tutorials, driving tutorial, reverse around the corner

Other road users - What you want to avoid is making anyone slow down or change direction for you, so when you are starting the move, this could be from 2 directions.  Once you get into the new road, there is a new element and more to worry about.  However, once you are so far into the new road, cars coming from the left are now no longer effected by us, so don't stop for them ... unless they are signaling to come into the new road.  Stop for cars coming from the rear, as you are getting closer to them.  If they stop, carry on with the turn.  If they come up right behind you, you'll have to move forward and start the move again.  This is exceptionally rare. 

 

Things to look out for - All road users, observations here must be exceptional.  Keep the kerb in the triangular window and if possible at the bottom of the window.  Windy movements, you only need to turn the wheel to the left really until the kerb becomes straight in the little triangular window, then slowly take that turn off.  As long as the kerb is kept in that window it's IMPOSSIBLE to mount the kerb, have faith!

 

Video out of the back window showing you what you should be seeing



This video is with commentary and a few captions.


The 90 degree corner - There are several of these around.  This one is off Combe Lane (see right).  The 90 degree corners make getting the point of turn a little harder, but it's actually easier to complete as there is no following of any kerb involved.   The photo below from inside the car will help with locating the point of turn.  What we're trying to do here is get almost to the the corner of the new road.  Use the kerb appearing in the rear left passenger window to help.  The allow it to come back to your very own specific reference point (in my Fiat we use a series of coloured dots - See below - Red for taller drivers who seat reclined.  Pink for shorter drivers who sit close to the wheel in a straight seated position.)  

Once you're here, observe, and if all is well, get the car moving and apply full lock to the left.

The car will swing out wildly.  Stop half way.  Observe for other road users. Carry on backwards if it is safe and into the new road until the kerb is almost in the middle of the rear window, just like the usual way of doing it.

Once here stop.  Observe. Then when you start moving again take all that turn off, getting the wheels straight, then come back a few car lengths.

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 Below is the reference point of where to come back to from inside of the car.  In this picture the kerb stones of the new road are in-line with the red dot (the point I would use).  This is where you would stop, observe and then apply full lock to the left to get you around the corner.


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a-class driving school, left reverse, driving school, online driving tutorials, driving tutorial, reverse around the corner

If you were to use the normal reference point in the back window, you would be well short of the corner.  If you were to turn left now, you'd bump or mount the kerb.  

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a-class driving school, left reverse, driving school, online driving tutorials, driving tutorial, reverse around the corner

By using the dots in the rear side window, you would come back further to the first curved corner stone.  Here, when you put the turn on, the car will follow the kerb around getting you into the new road.