Driving Test Manoeuvres

You will be asked to perform one reversing manoeuvre during your practical driving test.

The examiner will ask you to demonstrate one of the following:

  • Pull Up Right Reverse
  • Parallel Park
  • Reverse Bay Park
  • Forward Bay Park


Getting to a test standard with manoeuvring is vital to ensure you are safe and confident.

Once you are confident to reverse and park a car, you’ll be able to perform any manoeuvre easily.

Then, if a manoeuvre doesn’t go as well as you would like it to in your test, you’ll find it really easy to correct your positioning in a safe and controlled way.


What the examiner is looking for in any manoeuvre

When the examiner asks you to demonstrate any manoeuvre they will be looking for:

  • Good control of the car, meaning that you keep it’s the speed at very slow walking pace.
  • Good observations and choices, meaning that you must look in all the correct places to pull up reverse and move away – and make the correct choice regarding other road users
  • Good accuracy, meaning that you complete the manoeuvre with some level of accuracy

REMEMBER: controlling the car well and having really good observations are more important than your accuracy.

Although you must complete the manoeuvre with some level of accuracy, if you’re a little too far from the curb or not quite straight, it won’t matter so long as you have performed the manoeuvre safely.

Pull Up Right Reverse

The manoeuvre: This is one of the new test manoeuvres. It’s really important to be able to reverse in a straight line and not reverse out into the road or reverse into the curb.

What you need to do: In this manoeuvre, you will be expected to pull up on the right hand side of the road, reverse the car in a straight line for about two car lengths while keeping the car parallel to the kerb, and move away again safely.

What the examiner is looking for:

If the examiner asks you to demonstrate the Pull Up Right Reverse manoeuvre, they are looking for:

  • MSPSL routine to pull up

Mirrors – Signal – Position – Speed – Look

  • Choosing a safe place to pull up
  • Pulling up parallel to and close enough to the curb
  • Selecting the correct gear to reverse
  • Having good observations before you start to reverse
  • Keeping the car in a reasonably straight line as you reverse; not drifting out into the road or drifting into the curb
  • Pausing for pedestrians and other vehicles if necessary

TOP TIPS:

  • Pull up about 20 to 30 centimetres from the curb – not too close!
  • Make sure the car is straight and not at an angle, keep moving forwards very slowly until the car is exactly straight. You can use your door mirror to check your position
  • When you’ve stopped make sure your wheels are straight
  • If you have started in the good straight, position, then it will probably not be necessary for you to steer at all. It makes the manoeuvre easy!
  • Keep looking around constantly and pause if another road user gets too close
  • Don’t worry about how far 2 car lengths is. If you haven’t reversed far enough, the examiner and will simply ask you to go a little bit further.
  • When you move away remember you are at the other side of the road. You need to check all around, then check your left blind spot and then signal to move away.

Parallel Parking

The manoeuvre: To successfully reverse park between 2 cars parked at the curb. For you test you will probable only use one parked car. You need to manoeuvre as if there is another car behind, so finish within two car lengths.

What you need to do: In this manoeuvre, you’ll be expected to pull up alongside a target vehicle, and then parallel park behind it finishing reasonably close to the curb and within two car lengths of the target vehicle

What the examiner is looking for: If the examiner asks you demonstrate the Parallel Park manoeuvre, they are looking for:

  • MSPSL routine to pull up
  • Pulling up a good distance from the parked car (1/2 metre to 1 metre)
  • Selecting the correct gear to reverse
  • Having good observations before you start to reverse, and checking your blind spot before you start to steer
  • Finishing within two car lengths of the parked car
  • Finishing reasonably close to the kerb
  • Pausing for pedestrians and other vehicles if necessary

TOP TIPS:

  • Take your time with this manoeuvre. The examiner is not expecting you to rush and it doesn’t matter how slow you are
  • If necessary, it’s okay to pause between each section of this manoeuvre
  • Before starting to reverse make sure you’ve looked all around and out of your rear window
  • Before starting to steer, make sure you check your right blind spot
  • If you think you’re going to hit the curb, stop the car drive forwards little to correct your position
  • If you think you have finished the manoeuvre little bit too far from the curb, make sure you correct your positioning – but don’t keep going back further than two car lengths from the target car. You need to imagine there is another car behind you
  • Make sure you don’t finish the manoeuvre too close to the target car. This will make it difficult for you to drive away again

(Target car = the car you use to park behind)


Reverse Bay Parking

The manoeuvre: In your test you will be expected to know how to reverse into a bay and drive out. You’ll be asked to do this in the test centre car park, either at the start or the end of your test.

What you need to do: In this manoeuvre you are expected to drive out of a bay and turn to the left or right (your choice) and straighten your wheels. Then you will reverse into any empty bay.

What the examiner is looking for:

If the examiner asks you to demonstrate a Reverse Bay park, they are looking for:

  • Moving out of the bay safely by checking all around and both blind spots
  • Do not drive over any bay lines
  • Selecting the correct gear to reverse
  • Having good observations before you start to reverse, and checking your blind spot before you start to steer
  • Finishing within bay lines, and reasonably straight
  • Pausing for pedestrians and other vehicles if necessary

TOP TIPS:

  • Remember your reference point for steering so that you start to steer at the right time to finish accurately
  • Pull up at least a car width away from the bay. This will make it easier to steer into the bay and not go over the bay lines.
  • Keep looking around constantly and pause if another road user gets too close
  • Don’t worry if you don’t finish within the bay lines. If this happens, drive forward and steer to the left or right, and then reverse back into the bay so you finish central(ish) and straight(ish)

Forward Bay Parking

The manoeuvre: This is another one of the new manoeuvres. In your test you will be expected to know how to drive forward into a bay and reverse out again. You’ll be asked to do this in a car park while you are on your drive.

What you need to do: In this manoeuvre you are expected to drive into a car park and choose a bay to drive in to. Then drive into the bay, secure the car and then reverse out of the bay and exit the car park.

What the examiner is looking for:

If the examiner asks you to demonstrate a Forwards Bay park, they are looking for:

  • Driving slowly, cautiously and safely in a car park
  • Checking your blind spot before driving into a bay
  • Pausing for pedestrians and other vehicles if necessary
  • Do not drive over other bay lines
  • Finishing within bay lines, and reasonably straight
  • Selecting the correct gear to reverse
  • Having good observations before you start to reverse, and checking your blind spot before you start to steer

TOP TIPS:

  • Remember your reference point for steering so that you start to steer at the right time to finish accurately
  • Pull up on the other side of the lane so you are quite far away from the bay. This will make it easier to steer into the bay and not go over the bay lines.
  • Keep looking around constantly and pause if another road user gets too close
  • Don’t worry if you don’t finish within the bay lines. If this happens, reverse and then drive back and steer into the bay so you finish central(ish) and straight(ish)

 Common Manoeuvring Faults

  • Not pausing to allow other road users to pass
  • Not looking in the right place as you are reversing
  • Not checking your blind spot before steering
  • Not looking around and checking often enough
  • Choosing the wrong time to start reversing
  • Not selecting the correct gear
  • Reversing too fast
  • Finishing in the wrong position

For any manoeuvre, you need to 

Practice – Practice – Practice.

to help you to become consistent and, if it doesn’t go to plan in your test, you’ll find it easy to correct yourself.

Get lots of practice on different roads – flat roads as well as uphill and downhill slopes.


TOP TIP: using Blind Spot mirrors are really useful when learning to reverse and manoeuvre a car.

You can easily see the ground, so you are not likely to hit the curb or get too close.

See demonstration videos, hear all about manoeuvring and feel confident about reversing and parking by using the Spot On “ONLINE MANOEUVRES WORKSHOP’