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The Dreaded Word: Reversing

Updated: Aug 7, 2018

We are finding a common worry throughout our pupils which is understandably difficult... Driving Backwards! This is not something that comes natural nor is it something easy to teach, so let’s delve a little deeper and make the thought of it a less nerve racking experience. When you actually think about it, reversing is not a stable action that your brain is set up for so no wonder it is so daunting to novice drivers.


When you think of learning to drive, it is an immediate reaction to think of driving forwards. Driving forwards is not something that anyone overthinks for obvious reasons. When steering the wheel to turn right, the wheels will turn right with you, the same happens when you turn left. If you are going straight you obviously keep your wheel straight...SIMPLE!


Putting your gear stick into reverse tends to set pupils minds to the opposite function. You look backwards you do the opposite right?...WRONG! It actually doesn’t need to be that confusing... are you ready.... its exactly the same! When reversing and you want for instance the car to go nearer the curb on your left you simply turn the wheel left, and the same for right. If you want the car to go straight backwards you simply straighten up your steering wheel. LEFT IS STILL LEFT, RIGHT IS STILL RIGHT.


To make it even simpler, when driving forwards do you drive looking at the steering wheel? The answer is No, because you let your hands follow your eyes without thinking about it. Try and do the same for reversing. When driving backwards you are most of the time looking backwards so just let your hands do the steering with your eyes without putting anymore thought into it.


To break it down into some simple steps:

1. KEEP YOUR SPEED SLOW This is extremely important. Instructors and examiners on your test do not want to see you pick up speed when reversing. The slower the better, it gives you more time to react to any obstructions and more time to check mirrors..

2. BLIND SPOTS Whilst reversing it is expected to be checking blind spots and looking backwards always. It should become second nature, so keep doing it! This is something assessors are checking for especially when reversing so get them checks in.

3. KEEP IT SIMPLE The worst thing you could do whilst reversing is overthink it. It does not need to be complicated with too many turns of the wheel, don’t let your brain get confused. Break it down into minimal simple movements.

4. PRACTICE PRACTICE PRACTICE You cannot practice reversing enough. Our advice is spend as much time in a quiet place whether it be a car park or somewhere with a parking bay. Get a feel for steering whilst driving backwards and even point your wing mirrors down so you can see which ways your wheels turn as they go nearer the line/curb. Practice is the only way to get rid of that fear and confusion and will absolutely make all the difference.


The aim of this learning resource was to simplify reversing for those of you that may find it confusing which has a real impact on nerves whether its in a lesson or your test. I hope it helps! It is our aim to give you the very best learning materials for not only practical training but also theoretical too.

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