Reverse around a Corner

On this lesson, you will learn how to safely reverse around a corner. It’s a useful manoeuvre to learn because it is often the safest and easiest way to turn a car around to go back in the other direction.

Reverse around a corner is not part of the driving test anymore, but it may be necessary to perform one if, for example, there is an accident ahead, the road is closed, and you need to turn and go in the other direction.

Where to do a reverse around a corner

You must always reverse from a main road into a side road. Reversing out onto a main road is potentially very dangerous.

Choose a safe place to perform the manoeuvre. Look into the road as you drive past to check it’s safe to reverse in to. If it’s too busy, choose a different place to turn around.

Dealing with other road users

If another road user approaches you must pause the car and allow them to pass. If the other road user stops to allow you to continue reversing then you may continue reversing, but with caution…they may change their mind!

How to do a reverse around a corner

The manoeuvre is in 3 parts:

  1. A straight reverse
  2. A turn
  3. A straight reverse

PART 1 – Straight Reverse

Position the car 1-2 car lengths past the junction and about 1 drain width away from the kerb.

Use the P O M routine

  • PREPARE the car to move – select reverse gear, set gas and bite
  • OBSERVE – check all around, including both blind spots
  • MANOEUVRE – release the handbrake and reverse in a straight line

You must look back (out of the rear window) before you start to move backwards

Continue reversing in a straight line until the rear wheels of your car have reached the first curved kerbstone.

Slow or pause the car.

Allow other road users to pass before continuing.

PART 2 – The Turn

The most difficult part of this manoeuvre is knowing how much you need to steer.

You can try to watch the kerb by looking at it through the side window or in the left door mirror (a Blind Spot Mirror is useful). Whichever method you use, remember to continue to check all around regularly for other roads users.

Before starting to steer check your right blind spot.

Steer about ¾ of a steer towards the kerb (left) – you’ll need between ½ and a full steer for most turns.

Alter the steering by about ¼ steer left or right depending on how far from the kerb you are.

You are aiming to keep the car 1 drains width away from the kerb as much as possible.

PART 3 – Straight Reverse

Once the car is straight in the new road, straighten the steering.

Check your position.

If you are too far from the kerb:

  • steer ¼ steer towards the kerb until close enough
  • steer ¼ steer away from the kerb to straighten the car
  • straighten the steering

If you are too near the kerb:

  • Steer slightly (maybe ¼ steer, depending on how close you are to the kerb) away from the kerb until far enough away. If you are very closed to the kerb and you steer too much, your wheels may scrape the kerb.
  • Steer ¼ steer towards the kerb to straighten the car
  • Straighten the steering

Reverse 3-4 car lengths up the road. Keep moving slowly (walking pace). Going this far allows other road user to pass safely, and use the junction.

Apply the handbrake and select neutral.

Important Points

1. The most important aspects of any manoeuvre are:

  • Effective observation
  • Good control
  • Accuracy

Accuracy is not as important as effective observations and good control.

2. You should always move the car very slowly when reversing, and give other road users priority.

3. When steering, the car should be moving. Don’t steer while the car is not moving. This is known as ‘dry steering’ and can cause damage to the tyres and steering mechanism.

4. Do not signal while reversing. Your reverse lights will inform drivers behind what you intend to do.

5. Look back when driving back! Don’t rely on mirrors only. You can see more distance behind and to the sides when you turn around and look back.