The next set of articles shall explain how to carry out manoeuvring exercises at low speed, with reasonable accuracy and safety by using reverse gear. Drivers should only reverse where it is safe, legal and convenient. When carrying out the manoeuvres to be discussed, other road users and pedestrians have priority. When reversing, you should turn round slightly in your seat until you can see the road clearly through the rear window. If you are restricted whilst reversing, may remove your seat belt, but remember to put it back on before moving off.
Turn in the Road
This manoeuvre, also known as the three-point-turn, is how to turn a vehicle around to face the opposite different when there are no convenient places for reversing into a side road. The procedure for turn in the road is explained below (see diagram).
From A – B: At the start, prepare your vehicle (see moving off article) and look around as you would when moving off. If the road is clear or there are no other road users nearby who are attempting to pass you, then move off very slowly and immediately steer full lock left, but once you vehicle is moving give another look to the left for other road users. In manual vehicle, use the clutch pedal to keep the car moving slowly. When you are about a metre from the left kerb, start turning the wheel back slightly to the right. As you near the kerb, push the clutch down and brake to stop. You should end up near to the kerb with the front wheels pointing a little right ready for the next part of the manoeuvre. When stopped, you may need to apply the handbrake, depending on the camber of the road. The camber of the road is the slope of the road towards the gutter.
From B – C: Select reverse gear and prepare the car for moving. Before reversing, look left along the road, right along the road, then out of the rear window. If the road is clear or there are no other road users nearby, move off very slowly and immediately, turn the steering wheel briskly to the right until it is ‘full lock’, while still looking out the rear window.
When you have driven over the centre of the road, look over your left shoulder so that you can judge your distance from the kerb and turn your steering wheel slightly to the left and stop just before reaching the kerb. Apply the handbrake if needed to stop the car rolling.
From C – D: Select first gear and get ready to move off. Before moving off, look right along the road then left along the road for other road users. When you are sure it’s safe, look well down the road and move slowly forward turning the steering wheel to the left until you are in the normal or safe driving position. Straighten the wheel to end up on the right side of the road. Carry out the normal mirror-signal-manoeuvre routine and pull in and park on the right or continue on your journey.
The turn in the road does not always need to be completed in three moves. This is dependent on the width of the road or the vehicle used. Every time you are steering, keep the vehicle very slow but the steering should be brisk.
On busy roads make more frequent observations all round for other road users. If, at any of the points, other road users are nearby or are approaching so as to pass you then you must wait and allow them to pass. If they wait, then you must continue with the manoeuvre. At points A and B, you must go all the way across until close the kerb. This will allow other road users to pass by, if they want to, while you are changing gear and preparing to move again.
In next week’s article we shall be discussing the reverse park or parallel parking manoeuvre. For further explanations or clarification on the articles in the Essential Skills of Driving column, consult the author.