On this lesson, you will learn:
- how to reverse in a straight line
- how to understand which way to steer
Steering in a straight line is the basis for all of manoeuvres.
To reverse you must choose a Safe, Legal and Convenient place to reverse.
Leave enough gap between your car and the kerb. Being too close will make it difficult to avoid hitting / brushing the kerb as you reverse.
You are aiming to be about a half to one steering wheels width from the kerb.
Try to pull up as straight as you can alongside the kerb. This will help when reversing as you can keep the steering wheel straight.
If the car isn’t completely straight it will move nearer to or further from the kerb, as you drive backwards.
PREPARING TO REVERSE
Seatbelt – while reversing it is ok to remove your seatbelt. It is not necessarily advised on test though, you have to remember to re-apply it before moving away again.
Seating Position – it may help you to move your hips towards the driver side door to help you to look out of the rear window.
Hands Position – it may help you to position your right hand at the top of the steering wheel, and your left hand near the bottom of the steering wheel
You will always use the P O M routine when reversing.
On a flat surface or when uphill you will select reverse gear, set gas and biting point.
On a downhill surface, you will keep the clutch pedal all the way down, and control the cars speed with the brake pedal.
You will always select reverse gear to drive backwards, even if you are on a hill. The reverse lights inform other road users of your intentions.
(Vehicles have either one or two white reversing lights that illuminate at the rear of the vehicle when in reverse gear)
You must check all around before starting to move. Do not start to move if any other road users are approaching.
When nothing is approaching, start to check:
- Right blind spot
- Right door mirror
- Middle mirror
- Left door mirror
- Left blind spot
Then look out of the rear window over your left shoulder. You must look back before starting to move back.
If it is safe, release the handbrake and keep your feet still to move very slowly (at a slow walking pace)
Look well back, this will help with accuracy because ‘your hands follow your eyes’ when driving.
While moving backwards you must continually check around.
It’s ok to pause the car to make these checks if preferred.
Look out for other road users (drivers, cyclists and pedestrians) approaching the car. When they approach your SAFETY BUBBLE (see below), pause and wait for them to pass. It is their priority if they are driving forwards.
If they stop and allow you to continue then carry on reversing, but watch out for them starting to move again.
SAFETY BUBBLE = About 2 car lengths all around your car
CONTROLLING YOUR SPEED
You will control your speed with the brake pedal if you are moving downhill, or with clutch control (see below) if you are moving on a flat surface or uphill.
Remember, the gradient/slope may change as you are reversing.
Controlling speed with CLUTCH CONTROL
- Select reverse gear
- Set gas
- Set biting point
- Release the handbrake
- Keep your feet still at first
- If you are too slow, bring the clutch pedal up by ‘a bit’ (see below)
- If you are too fast, put the clutch pedal down by ‘a bit’ (see below)
- Keep the gas applied
‘A bit’ = the thickness of a one pound coin
You are aiming to keep the car between about ½ and a full steering wheel width away from the kerb throughout the manoeuvre.
- If you end up too far from the kerb, steer towards the kerb until you are closer to it, then steer away from the kerb until the car is straight, then straighten the steering. Only steer slightly (no more than ¼ steer) so you do not get too much of an angle and stick out on the road.
- If you end up too close to the kerb, steer away from the kerb until you are further away, then steer towards the kerb until the car is straight, then straighten the steering. Only steer slightly in case your wheels touch the kerb.
You should start practising reversing on quiet roads that have little to no traffic, if possible.
A quiet car park may be useful to practice steering while reversing.
WHICH WAY TO STEER
Some people get confused which way to turn the wheel while reversing.
A good tip is to decide where you want the back of the car to go, and turn the wheel that way.
When you steer while reversing, it may take a little time for the steering to take effect.
HOW MUCH TO STEER
Be careful not to turn the steering wheel too much.
Think…how much steering would I put on if I was driving forwards?
1. The most important aspects of any manoeuvre are:
- Effective observation
- Good control
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. Try not to 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! And look around a lot! Don’t rely on mirrors only. You can see more distance behind and to the sides when you turn around and look back.