Since December 2017, the reversing around a corner manoeuvre is no longer a part of the practical test. Instead, learners are to be tested on pulling up on the right, bay parking or parallel parking. Now, it would be all too easy to forget about reversing around a corner entirely. However, whilst you won't need to know it for your practical, it's still something that will come in handy in real-life driving. So, if you need to brush up on the reversing around a corner manoeuvre, you've come to the right place!
In this guide, we're going to break down the reversing around a corner manoeuvre: how to perform it, what an examiner would be looking for (if it were still on the test) and when it might be used in real-life conditions.
As the name suggests, this manoeuvre involves you driving your vehicle in reverse around a corner. When this featured in the practical test, it had three main parts: stopping before the junction you intend to reverse into, driving past the junction and then reversing into the junction (once you've found your point of turn). The instructions would be along these lines:
“I'd like you to reverse into the next road on the left. First drive past it and stop, then reverse for some distance up the new road. You need to keep a position which is parallel and reasonably close to the kerb.”
Prior to the driving test changes in 2017, reversing around a corner was one of four key manoeuvres that candidates might be expected to demonstrate during the practical test. The other three manoeuvres were:
Along with the turn in the road manoeuvre, reversing around a corner was scrapped in favour of pulling up on the right. This does not mean that you shouldn't bother learning either manoeuvre, though. The DVSA has emphasised the importance of instructors continuing to teach all of these manoeuvres in their driving lessons.
As we've said, you won't actually have to worry about the reversing around a corner manoeuvre showing up on your driving test. Even so, you should at least know how to perform it to a high standard. With that in mind, we're going to look at what an examiner would be looking for if you were to carry out this manoeuvre.
For starters, the examiner would be keeping a careful eye out to make sure you're aware of your surroundings throughout the entire manoeuvre. Just think: reversing safely relies on you making constant observations to ensure you're not endangering yourself and/or other road users. Timing is absolutely vital here—signalling too early or late can be a major source of confusion!
Throughout the manoeuvre, the examiner would be expecting you to demonstrate:
The Highway Code has very specific rules as to when and where you can reverse:
It's important to bear in mind that we're looking at how you'd be expected to undertake the manoeuvre in a test environment. In real-life, you might not need to complete the manoeuvre in so many steps.
This particular step isn't something you would need to do in real-life—it's something you would only do during a test (which isn't relevant with this manoeuvre) or during your driving lessons. In this scenario, the examiner (or your instructor) would ask you to park on the left-hand side so that you can prepare yourself for the reversing around a corner manoeuvre.
Once you're sure the junction you're intending to reverse onto is clear, you need to drive past it and stop. Make use of the MSM routine to ensure it's safe.
It's now time to begin the reversing part of the manoeuvre and finding your point of turn. Observation is absolutely vital here, as reversing requires the utmost control and attention.
Now you're finally ready to reverse around the corner. It's important that you keep up with the observations—if you're facing oncoming traffic coming out of the junction, you should wait until it's clear.
And there you have it! Though you might not need to use as many steps in real-life driving, it can make it easier to break it down into smaller sections.
For starters, reversing around a corner is one of the many ways in which you can turn your car around (as long as it's safe and legal to do so). Whilst a turn in the road manoeuvre is a very popular approach, it can't be used if the road you're on is too narrow. In such situations, reversing around a corner is ideal.
Imagine, for example, that you're driving down the road only to realise that you're going the wrong way—or that the road is obstructed. Instead of continuing, you can safely perform the reverse around a corner manoeuvre—reversing into a junction and then driving back the way you came. It's simple!
Yes, within reason. You need to be sure that you're not obstructing traffic—if you see oncoming traffic, you should stop and restart the manoeuvre (moving out of the way of traffic). Additionally, the Highway Code stipulates that you cannot reverse from a side road into a main road—so don't even try it!
Nope. Due to the changes made to the structure of the driving test in December 2017, the reverse around a corner manoeuvre is no longer a part of the practical test.
During your driving test, the examiner will ask you to demonstrate one of the three following manoeuvres:
It doesn't matter that the reversing around a corner manoeuvre is no longer a part of the driving test—your instructor should still be teaching you how to perform it safely. You never know when it might come in handy, so it's definitely worth having the experience under your belt.
When you park on the left-hand side, you're usually very close to the kerb—ensuring you're not obstructing any vehicles passing your car. When you're reversing around a corner, however, you need a bit more space from the kerb. After all, if you're too close, you'll hit it. We'd advise you keep a foot between your car and the kerb.
If you're reversing onto the side road, only to find that there's a stream of oncoming traffic, you should abort the manoeuvre and drive back to the spot at which you were parked—making all around checks as you do. You should give way to these road users until it's clear and safe to carry on. Remember, you need to check your mirrors and blind spots again—you never know how much the situation might have changed since the last time you checked.
You need to stop, move forward and adjust. If you're keeping your movements slow and steady—and checking your left-hand mirror consistently—you should be able to realise if you're too close or too far within enough time to allow you to readjust without having to stop and drive forward.
Obviously, there's no real way of predicting how real-life driving will turn out sometimes. You should try and wait until it's safe and clear to move—you don't want to endanger yourself and other road users just because you're in a rush. If there's simply too much traffic, you might want to consider reversing into another, quieter junction.
You should not, under any circumstances, try and reverse when you're not sure if it's clear or not—it's one of the golden rules of reversing. For all you know, there could be dozens of road users behind you! If you can't use your mirrors, make use of a passenger or, if really necessary, get out and check. You should only do so if your car is positioned safely and you're not getting in the way of other road users.
If a vehicle comes up behind you whilst you're reversing into the side road, you need to stop. If the vehicle keeps on moving, you should wait until they've passed you before continuing with your manoeuvre. If the vehicle stops, then you should drive back towards your start position—parked on the left-hand side—before starting the manoeuvre again once it's clear.