Reversing around a corner was dropped as a test exercise in 2017. Knowing how to reverse around a corner however, is still an essential skill which should be learned by any new driver.
Reversing around a corner can often be quite a challenge; you only have to witness the number of people who drive into a junction or driveway and then reverse out of it to see the proof of this.
You do not have to reverse with pin-point accuracy. As long as the line taken is fairly constant and not excessively wide you will be fine.
How much you can get away with will depend on the width of the road; on a narrow road you will need to be more accurate. Basically, while reversing around the corner, you should avoid touching the kerb; and you must not allow your car to drift so wide that it obstructs other drivers entering the road.
Choose a quiet estate where you are unlikely to be bothered by much traffic. Find a suitable corner, not a crossroads or driveway; and pull up just before the road you are going to reverse into. The corner should not be sharp but a gentle sweeping curve. For the first one or two reverses it is best to go through the manoeuvre in four separate stages.
The first stage is simply to drive past the junction and stop in the reversing position; as described for the straight reverse. You should stop just far enough past the junction to be able to see the full sweep of the curve through the rear window. Also, as you pass the road, look down it to make sure it is clear to back into as well as checking your mirrors before stopping. You will need about three or four car lengths in which to straighten up after the corner. If there is not much room for this, find another road.
If you need to signal before stopping, make sure that you time it properly. Give it too early and others may think you are turning into the road; too late and a following driver may not have time to react.
Once you have moved forward and taken up the reversing position, stage two can begin. The second stage is just a straight reverse which you have already practised. Make sure that you check all around, and when safe, reverse slowly until you reach a point where the kerb which is visible through your rear window begins to disappear from view. Stop there for a moment; this is the turning point.
This is the most potentially dangerous part of the exercise. As you begin the turn, the front of your car will swing out and could endanger oncoming vehicles. If something is approaching which is close enough to be affected, you must stop and wait for a safe opportunity to continue. You may carry on however where the road is obviously wide enough to allow oncoming traffic free passage.
Look through the rear window at the kerb line you want to follow. Mentally mark its position; perhaps you can find a part of the car’s fittings or a mark on the window which appears to be sitting on the kerb edge. This is your reference point. To keep the reverse accurate, you will need to steer just enough to keep the kerb in view in its present position.
Once you start to reverse, if the kerb disappears from view you will have to turn a little towards it. If more of the kerb comes into view, this means that you are becoming closer and you will have to turn the wheel away from it to correct this. Once the car is roughly on the correct course, any steering movements required to adjust the position are likely to be quite small, try not to oversteer. If you do find yourself drifting too far off course, is it better to stop and pull forward a little to correct this.
Although you want to follow the line of the kerb, you must not stare at it all the while. It is very important that you look regularly all around the car for signs of approaching traffic or pedestrians crossing the road.
Once you are about half-way through the corner, to stop for a moment to make a check over your right-hand shoulder. There is a point when this area becomes a potentially dangerous blind spot and a look round to cover it is essential. If someone is approaching who could be affected, again you must wait for them to pass. Carry on if or when it is safe until reaching the point where your car is almost parallel with the kerb as it straightens up.
At this point you will need to turn the wheel away from kerb; just enough to straighten up the wheels. Look well back along the road you are reversing into and ensure you are clear to carry on. You should then continue reversing in a straight line; far enough back to leave the junction clear.
Once you have got the hang of each stage of the reverse, you don’t have to stop at each point. You can carry on as long as it is safe and carry out your observation checks whilst on the move.
Other Road Users
One problem frequently encountered while reversing is traffic coming along the road you are entering. If this occurs, stop and apply the parking brake for a moment. Often, drivers will then pull around you to continue on their way. If the other driver does not want to do this you must be prepared to move forward and clear the junction, especially if the road is narrow or visibility is restricted.