Reversing into a Side Road on the Left

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This manoeuvre is about reversing into a side road on the left. The reverse round a left corner manoeuvre is basically made up of two straight line reverses with a turn in between. On full understanding of this manoeuvre, you should be able to reverse safely into a side road on the left using effective observation, under full control and with reasonable accuracy. Like all other manoeuvres, you are required to choose a safe, legal and convenient place to start the manoeuvre. Therefore, in carrying out this manoeuvre, you should avoid busy junctions, crossroads, schools, etc.

Whether you are moving off from the right or driving along the road, you must take special care when crossing to the left-hand side of the road. The associated problem is that other motorists or road users might think that you are turning left into the side as opposed to pulling up just beyond the left road. If moving off from the right, ensure that you complete your normal safety checks before moving off.

Use the Mirrors, Signal, Manoeuvre routine and take up a position as if you were going to turn left. Instead of an early signal on approach to the junction, you may have to delay your signal until you are alongside the road you want to the turn into. This is to ensure that other drivers are not confused into thinking that you are turning into the junction.

At the point of turning to the left side of the road, wait for any oncoming traffic at the point of turn and look into the road for any obstructions that would make your manoeuvre unsafe. Steer over to the left and stop a little out from the kerb about two to three car lengths past the corner (junction on the left). Take off your seat belt if you need to and you may also want to open your window to see the kerb.

Select reverse gear and prepare to move. Remember, you are manoeuvring on the wrong side of the road, and you are more vulnerable, so keep looking all around, and respond to other road users. When you are sure it is clear, move slowly back. For the straight part of the reverse, look back over your right shoulder to enable you have a clear view to the rear for other traffic; for easy glances to the front; and round to the left periodically to check your position and judge when to turn.

Just before turning, look all round again, remembering that the front of your car will swing out as you steer left. Look over your left shoulder as you steer, and follow the kerb. How much steering you need will depend on how sharp the corner is.

When you have turned the corner, look over your right shoulder again. This will help you judge whether or not your car is straight in the new road. You will also be able to see what is happening behind you and to respond to others.

When your vehicle is straight in the new road, turn the wheel to the right sufficiently to keep it straight. Remember, any final adjustments should only be slight. Check your distance from the kerb by using your nearside door mirror.

To complete the exercise and to prevent a potential head on collision with traffic turning into the side road it is important that you reverse far enough back to give them sufficient room to stop and overtake you safely, usually about 5 car lengths. You also need sufficient room to ensure that you will not become a potential hazard to other road users as you cross over to the right hand side of the road. Also before moving off you will need to check over your right shoulder.

In next week’s article we shall be discussing how to reverse into a parking bay. For further explanations or clarifications on the articles in the Essential Skills of Driving column, consult the author.

Stephen K. Dieseruvwe

Director General, Delta State Traffic Management Authority (DESTMA)

**Driver Trainer and Road Safety Consultant

**Email: sdieseruvwe@gmail.com

**Tel: +2348167814928