Driving lesson M2. Reversing to the left

The reverse round a corner manoeuvre is basically made up of two straight line reverses with a turn in between.

Key learning notes

The safest and easiest way to turn around and go back in the opposite direction is to drive all the way around a roundabout or around the block. If this is not possible, the next best, and most common solution is to reverse into an opening on the left.

The reverse to the left is basically two straight line reverses with a turn in between. Therefore the only new part is the turn. But the turn introduces some additional learning points.

Reverse to the left

Drive past the turning checking it is clear.

1. Location
You must never reverse from a side road into the main road. You would only consider reversing into a side road on the left that was a give way junction and had little or no traffic emerging out of it. Again you would need to consider whether it was safe, legal and convenient.

2. Position of hands on the steering wheel
At the point you start to turn you will need to use both hands and the pull push method of steering although it may be offset to the left so that you can maintain observations over your left shoulder.

Reverse to the left

Turning the steering wheelWhen looking to the rear the effect of turning the steering wheel on the vehicles position is much less pronounced. The effects of steering also appear to be delayed. This is why it is easy to over steer when reversing.

3. All round awareness
Because you intend to turn into a side road against the flow of traffic extra observations are needed into the side road. Extra observations are also needed to the front as the front of the car will swing out as you turn and may present a hazard to passing traffic on the major road.


4. Dealing with other road users
When reversing to the left be prepared to abandon the manoeuvre and drive forward to the start position. Until you are well back into the side road, it is potentially very dangerous for other vehicles to overtake you so close to the junction.

Abandon manouver if dangerous

5. Distance you need to reverse into the side road
When reversing to the left you should reverse for a reasonable distance (i.e. about 2 car lengths) into the side road. This makes the junction safe for other vehicles to negotiate and gives you time and space to move away safely.

Reverse 2 car lengths