Left Reverse

Having trouble with reversing? A lot of people do have trouble with the Left Reverse exercise when they are getting ready for their Driving Test and for very different reasons too. For some people it’s because they try to do it all too fast and so when it goes wrong it tends to go wrong very quickly without any chance to sort it out. For others it’s because they don’t understand how to keep the car in line with the kerb or how to keep close to the round part of the kerb.

Charlotte after she has just reversed around a corner successfully without any help. Easy!

So if you want to be successful at reversing around a corner like Charlotte here and like Becky below then let’s take a look at it.

1) You need to be able to reverse in a straight line. In order to do that you need a reference point.

Take a look at this photograph;

Can you see where the line of the kerb meets the bottom of the rear windscreen? It’s almost at the point where the windscreen wiper arm starts.

Charlotte looking typically professional and keeping things in line. Immediately after this lesson she was dashing off to London to dance in a show, hence the stage make-up.

If you drive backwards very slowly and keep the kerb in exactly the same place all the way back then you will stay parallel with the kerb. The reference point may look a little different for very short or very tall people but generally it will be in about that place. If the end of the windscreen wiper moves onto the kerb then you will get too close, if it moves away from the kerb then you will be too far away but if you are really picky and keep it in the same place you will stay parallel.

This works for my Ford Fiesta, on a Ford Focus it will work if you generally keep the kerb in line with the nick in the windscreen wiper arm.

2) You need to keep close to the kerb on the round bit.

Some instructors say that you should look out of the side windows to see where the kerb is.

That doesn’t actually work. It doesn’t work because the side of the car is made of metal so you can’t see the actual corner through it . The reason that their learner drivers don’t say anything and end up being confused by what the instructor says is probably because they don’t want to appear stupid. If they do get it right it’s probably more luck than judgement. I asked another instructor to try that method recently, he went wide and now does it my way.

What you need to do is look into your left door mirror and follow the kerb around the corner using that. Don’t let the kerb slip out of the mirror because if it does you will go too wide. If the kerb comes too close to the car then turn the wheel to the right a little or you might touch the kerb.

That’s what this photograph shows. Can you see the little blue smudge at the bottom of the mirror? If you keep the kerb at that point all the way round the corner then you will be close to the kerb. If the kerb moves away from you, turn towards it and if it moves towards you, turn away from it. If you want to you can put a smudge like that on your mirror for your Driving Test. The Driving Test Examiner won’t mind one bit.


Becky passed her driving test because apart from her ace driving she also made sure that she was doing the sensible thing by looking all around and especially behind when doing her manoeuvre………………..

Observations while reversing are more important than anything else so watch out and be prepared to stop if necessary. Despite what some instructors say it is perfectly OK to use your side mirror for reversing PROVIDED that you also spend time looking over your shoulders.

So there you have it;

Use the reference point in the rear window for the first straight bit of the reverse.

When you get to the round part, look all around and then follow the kerb using your left door mirror.

When you get to the round part, look all around……………………..  
Becky again looking over her right shoulder to clear the area before finishing off the manoeuvre.

When you see the next straight part of the kerb, forget your door mirror and look out of the rear window.

Wait until the kerb gets back to where it should be in the rear window and then straighten your wheels.


That’s what Becky did;

What a Star!!! and also now a qualified driver.

And Adam!

This was Adam’s first attempt at reversing around a corner. Not everyone gets it first time or makes such a good job of it but it is really nice when it goes well!

Theory Test Pro in partnership with Dave Harrison Driver Training