Category Archives: Driving lesson

The left reverse

left reverseThe left reverse is probably the most tricky of all the manoeuvres – in fact most of us find it’s a bit of an art form! However, there is science to it and it can be broken down into five basic stages  with the advantage that it’s then much easier to understand and learn.

In it’s simplest form, it can be thought of as: a straight reverse towards the corner; a few left turns of the wheel; and then another straight reverse.

Basic Manoeuvre

What follows though, is a more detailed explanation (pictures coming soon)

1. Stop about two car lengths away from the corner you are about to reverse left into. (This is standard procedure on the driving test).

2. When ready, move off safely, passing the corner and stopping about two cars lengths past the corner.

HANDY TIP:  It is best to position the car a little further out from the kerb than normal as you are going to be reversing and want to make it easy for yourself! The front passenger door handle just off the kerb as viewed in the left mirror is a good positioning reference point

HANDY TIP: as you pass the corner try and gauge its shape and any potential obstacles around the corner. Keep your eye on the road ahead though!

3. Prepare the car for a straight reverse: With the handbrake on, select reverse gear and find the biting point. Check all round – including the blind spot – to check its safe before slowly moving off. Then, slowly reverse in a straight line towards the corner until the point at which you can no longer see the kerb out of the rear window. You are nearly there!

4. Continue to reverse for a few feet more until the kerb starts to move away as seen in the left mirror. This is the stage at which you introduce small amounts of left lock to follow the kerb. I’ll explain this in greater detail in the section on accuracy.

5. Then, as we follow the kerb there comes a point where it it’s time to straighten up – which again we will explain in greater detail in the section on accuracy. However, basically you can tell looking out the rear by the position of your rear windscreen wiper in relation to the centre of the road.   

6. Continue to reverse in a straight like at least two car lengths or, if there are hazard lines in the middle of the road, three hazard lines. Finish by making the car safe.

HANDY TIP: when you have completed the manoeuvre and are asked to move off do safely! Don’t rush!

HANDY TIP: be aware that roads are often wider at their end for some reason!

Three basic skills:

1. CONTROL: 

To execute this manoeuvre the car has to be kept at a slow but steady speed (less than 5mph) I call it granny walking speed! This requires good clutch control and is exactly the same control used in edging the car slowly forward towards a junction, so practicing a straight reverse first is a pre-requisite.

2. OBSERVATION:

This is key to this manoeuvre: as traffic can come from up to three directions as you reverse:- (a) from ahead; (b) from behind and (c) from the road you are reversing into.

Additionally, you have to be  careful to watch out for pedestrians and cyclists!

Let’s deal with each of the three scenarios

a) From ahead:

As you reverse towards the corner vehicles may come towards you from in front on the other side of the road. If the road is wide you may decide the risk is low and carry on. If you stop then you may wish to indicate.

b) From behind: 

as you reverse towards the corner vehicles may come towards you on your side of the road. You must stop as it is their right of way. You may wish to indicate left as with the reverse lights that will make it clear your intentions.

c) From behind when entering the corner: 

if you are in the process of turning into the corner and a vehicle comes from behind then you must give way, stop and probably pull forward back around the corner.

Additionally, if a vehicle turns into the road at the same time as you then you may wish to lower the risk by stopping.

Observation can be greatly improved in this manoeuvre with a method: with my pupils I use what I call the 360 degree method to ensure that ‘all around ‘ observation is maintained at all times while carrying out the manoeuvre:

  1. Look in the left mirror (this is the point you decide how much left turn)
  2. Look ahead.
  3. Look in right blind spot,
  4. Look behind and over left shoulder,
  5. Look behind and out of rear passenger window
  6. Back to start…..

HANDY TIP: try and judge where the kerb is using the rear passenger window. This is much easier for the taller of us. The benefit is that, because you can’t see the kerb you don’t tend to get too close to it!

HANDY TIP: Never reverse only using the centre mirror!

3. ACCURACY:

Now we come to the bit that most people find the most difficult. How do you follow that kerb without hitting it and either failing the test or damaging a tyre?

The basic method is:

As you check the left mirror as part of the 360 sequence and the kerb is moving away from you then add a small 1/4 of a left turn (from 12 o’clock to 9 c’clock. Note, unless its a really tight one, most corners will need only 3/4 of a left turn of the steering wheel. So, if you count you turn you will know when to straighten off!

Common problems:

  1. Don’t turn too early. Wait until you can see the kerb moving away in the left door mirror. Another problem, is sometimes corners start off shallow and then tighten up. If you put too much lock on too early in the turn then you can start to come too close to the kerb. If this happens don’t hit the kerb, so either stop or turn off the lock!
  2. Keep the car moving at a reasonable speed – granny walking speed. If the car goes too slow or too fast this can cause problems.
  3. Over use of the left mirror. This is fixed by the 360 method. Remember, the left mirror  has an inaccurate and restricted view. As its a convex mirror it makes the kerb look further away than it really is plus from a safety point of view you can see little else. Even if you can’t see the kerb out of the rear passenger window, if you use this you will begin to imagine where the kerb is!Tip: Don’t allow the kerb to leave the left mirror – you are too far out!

    Tip remember that if you successfully and safely complete the manoeuvre (even if badly) – you will pass your test!

    Tip : Watch where the bonnet is. If looking forward I want my bonnet to go left I turn the steering wheel to the right and visa versa.

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If you hate your driving lessons something is wrong –  you need to change instructor! I always aim to make the lessons enjoyable and fun. Why?  Because if you are enjoying yourself you will learn far quicker!

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Jack passed FIRST time with only 8 minors. He says:

“Before Starting with Paul I had low confidence in my driving and myself due to a past instructor but after moving to Paul and AA that all changed!

My confidence grew fast and I started to love driving! I had some hiccups but i had a great experience!

I was able to communicate and get along with Paul and that is an important factor to a driving instructor and i would highly recommend him! 

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For more testimonials and information

Focused lessons     Results since April     A grade check test result     Intensive driving course   Paul improves your driver ability    Navy pupil passes first time    Zero minors    Intensive driving course     First time pass 1 minor!    The AA

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Amy first driving lesson

Amy on her first driving lesson learns clutch control and steering in the safety of a car park and then learns to move off and stop safely on a public road.

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Jacob first driving lesson

2014 results

Teaching very thorough

Hannah testimonial

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Jacob – First Driving Lesson

In this post  I want to give you an insight into what takes place on typical first driving lesson. My pupil is Jacob, he is 17 and a beginner with no experience of driving at all.

His first lesson takes place in a Gosport car park after a short drive from his home and this allows us time chat and to get to know one another. After arriving in the car park  I check both parts of his provisional license and do a quick eye sight check. Then the fun begins!

The first part of the lesson is called Cockpit Checks and Controls. This lesson takes about 20 minutes and just goes through everything we need to know before we start the following practical part in the videos: where we learn to steer and understand clutch control in the safety of a car park.

To find out what happens on his second driving lesson follow the link

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2014 results

A more confident driver

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Teaching very thorough

Hannah testimonial

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Move off and stop

Jacob on his second driving lesson learns how to move off and stop and then how to emerge right and enter a road turning right.

To see Jacob’s first driving lesson follow the link

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or use the contact page

2014 results

Teaching very thorough

Hannah testimonial

The AA

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