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Driving Test maneuvers don't fail on them!

Updated on January 4, 2013

Driving Standards Agency

Driving Standards Agency
Driving Standards Agency

Here in the UK, during your 40 minute driving test for your full British licence, the DSA examiner will ask you to perform at least 2 Manoeuvres in addition to the general driving on varied roads of diffirent traffic loads.

The Manoeuvres that you might get are:

Turn in the road (formally 3 point turn)
Bay parking exercise (to the left or right)
Parallel parking or reverse parking exercise
Reverse round a corner (usually to the left)

Driving Test Mistake

Don't Fail your driving test on the Manoeuvres

Because you already know what manoeuvres you might be asked to do on your driving test, and you would have practised these many times and satisfied yourself you have reached the DSA standard required to perform them before booking your practical car assessment, personally, I see no reason why a learner driver should fail their driving test while performing a manoeuvre.

If you are a learner driver reading this, you would probably thinking it is easy for you as a driving instructor to say that, but hear me out.

Manouvres are the only part of the driving test where you can totally control the outcome of anything that happens. Once you've been told what exercise you will be doing, you decide when to move, how fast the car goes, you can stop at anytime to make corrections or let other traffic go safely by, whether you hit or climb the pavement and where the car finally ends! If you've spent enough time practising and experienced different conditions for each exercise, then there should be no surprises on the driving test!

Turn in the road

The turn in the road exercise is the easiest driving test manouvre in my opinion, yet many driving test candidates fail here.

With all manoeuvres, there are 2 important things to always remember:

Always keep the car slow.
Keep looking around taking effective observations!

To start the turn in the road exercise, the DSA examiner will have asked you to stop the car on the left, then explained what he/she wants you to do, and then ask you to proceed when you are ready.

Make sure you understand what you've been asked to do, take a moment or 2 to compose yourself, then use POM to start the first step.

Important Tip: Wind down your windows slightly when performing manoeuvres, as it helps you to hear oncoming cars, somethimes before you can even see them!

Prepare the car to move, selecting the required gear and get the bitting point.
Observations should be carried out (6 point check making sure your eyes register any movement or potential hazards, don't forget driveways).
Move only if it is safe

The 2 problems people have here is they don't take effective observations, many move their heads, but the eyes don't see (don't get into the habit of looking around just because you've been told this is what is required).
The 2nd problem is losing control of the car and hitting the kerb (there is a difference between hitting and touching). If you still regularly touching the kerb while practising, you need to ask your instructor to give you some reference points to help you.

Once you've started the car moving, always go to the other side of the road before stopping even if there is a car approaching.

If you do this for all the stages, you shouldn't have a problem passing the driving test.

Driving Lesson Video Roundabouts

Bay Parking

In addition to what I've mentioned above it is important that you do actually carry out this manouvre. Your car must end up completely in the bay without touching any of the lines. It is doesn't matter if the car is not completely parallel to the lines.
You are allowed to move forward and reverse again or make adjustments to get into the bay, but you only get one attempt, so you can't start all over again once you've entered the bay.

Take note of the car park gradient on arrival, so you can deal with any slopes, as control is the key! If you've practised enough, then you should be able to keep your nerves under control, if you do find yourself losing composition, stop and secure the car, take a deep breath or two and continue.

Parallel Parking

The reason many people fail their tests on this manouvre is either they hit the kerb, or they don't take effective observations and miss another road user.

If you need to, adjust your mirrors before you start, but don't stare in your mirrors concentrating so much on your reference points you forget to keep looking around (put your mirrors back once the exercise is complete). I recommend the stop/start method for this manouvre. Move to each reference point, stop look around, unto the next, etc. With your windows open, you should react to every noise you hear that sounds like a vehicle by stopping, observing, and continuing when safe. Practice makes perfect, so don't go for the test if you are having problems with this exercise.

Reversing round the corner

This manouvre in my opinion is the hardest for a learner driver while on the UK driving test, so it is of the uttermost importance that you have enough practise of this exercise and are confident of being able to do it with no help from your instructor.

You have no control over where you will be asked to do this, so you must make sure you've had enough experience of this exercise on busy roads so you know how to spot and deal with other cars, bicycles and pedestrians. Following the advice already given, keep the car very slow, taking effective observations and using the stop/start method should give you the best chance of acing this manouvre and passing the driving test.

I passed the driving test
I passed the driving test

In Conclusion

Practise all the manouvres and be confident in your skills, if you are having problems with a particular exercise, then take the time to deal with it, don't ignore and hope the DSA examiner will not have selected it for you. The key to passing your driving test is adequate preparation and enough experience of the various situations that you might find yourself in while out on the road during the practical car test, which is why the DSA recommends professional lessons coupled with plenty of private practice with a friend or family, failing that, with your ADI.
Remember it is okay to be nervous, if you need a break, you can stop the car safely on the left, take a breather or two and continue when you are ready.

Check my driving test tips website for more help, or the driving schools blog for an insight into life as an approved instructor in the UK

Driving Test Advice Video


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    • profile image

      rob 23 months ago


    • profile image

      Johnb221 3 years ago

      I like this post, enjoyed this one thankyou for posting . kbdgecbfdddd

    • profile image

      Driver 5 years ago

      Driving for almost 20 years, changing residence from country to country. One thing that I have learned about driving is that its 80% instinct and 20% skill. Don't follow everything by the book, the ref points for example are there just to help you. If you feel they are confusing you or causing you to loose concentration while observations, then ignore them. The test is not about if you are a good driver or an ordinary one, its about are you a safe driver or not.

      Believe in yourself, remember the mystical bond between man and machine, cant say about women...

    • Anjo Bacarisas II profile image

      Anjo Bacarisas II 5 years ago from Cagayan de Oro, Philippines

      very helpful. Thanks! For sure I will pass my first exam. :))

    • profile image

      Gammy 5 years ago

      Got my 3rd test next month. Stopped having lessons about 5 years ago. Failed

      1st: Speed

      2nd: Not fitting all the car off the box junction

      Had 4 lessons this year and onto my 3rd driving instructor lol.

      Will be reporting back in under 5 weeks for result.

      3rd time lucky I hope!

    • profile image

      Peaches 5 years ago

      Past mine a year ago but nerves ruin the test. You need to be calm and drive just like your instructor taught you.

    • profile image

      ljd79 5 years ago

      Fantastic for the person on 16 hours who is finding it all so driving is pretty good, but im sooo stressed with manovers...must practice more lol!!!!

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      Nash 5 years ago

      Oh gosh, I have my test tommorow. I am a good driver ( I think), but my mock test a couple of days ago was horrific!! My manouevres were ace, but cor blimey my driving :S!! I don't know what happened to me!!

      Thanks though, this helped a lot.

      Will you fail for doing 3 point turn in more than 3 points?

    • profile image

      Elch 5 years ago

      lol at people failing for the 2nd or 3rd time. How the hell do you manage to stall 4 times while doing a bay park? :D It's amazing!

      I've only had 16 hours so far, and I can practically do every move with hardly any effort, except for reversing around a corner, that's difficult :O

    • profile image

      rachel 5 years ago

      I have my test tomarrow it will be my 3rd one, My first test I failed on parrallel parking and my seconed test was reverse park I hope I don't fail on a monouver again the test men said my driving was good its just the monouvers that let me down wish me luck for tomarrow guys

    • profile image

      naz 5 years ago

      update: passed

    • profile image

      leanne 5 years ago

      This is really uselful, I ave my test 2mora morning. Since usin rescue remedy, and takin kalms I don't feel, so nervous xxxx

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      sam 6 years ago

      failed my test cos i lost control whiles diong the left revrese around the corner.han only 3 minors. cant seem to get an early date for my next and my tyheory test will expire in april. gutted!!!!!!!

    • profile image

      naz 6 years ago

      hey peeps got me driving test today altho im nervouse im dead excited too i do believe im a good driver im just scared of me nerves because ill clam up and then end up doing sumthing stupid. fingers crossed will let u all know the outcome. gudluck to al others taking test.

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      rachel frost` 6 years ago

      Thanks i have my driving test monday !!!

      failed 1st only got 2minors through out the whole test then on the way back to the test center i missed a red light gutted will let u all know how got on

      cars on drive waiting for me!!

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      Mj 6 years ago

      Yes! I passed, Thankyou for the valuable information given here. It helped a lot! Just remember to keep your nerves! Good luck to everyone learning to drive.

    • profile image

      Mj 6 years ago

      Mine is tomorrow, failed first time by keeping the car in wrong gear, taking the wrong turning at a roundabout, and then stalling the car 4 times during a bay park. Let's hope I don't repeat this tomorrow, because I can drive perfectly and practised all manoeuvres really hard during my lessons! My nerves weren't a problem, as my concentration on the road took over my senses, but when I make a mistake it gets me flustered and then I lock off and things go downhill from there! I am dreading getting the reverse round a corner uphill. Will let you know how I got on...

    • profile image

      eli 6 years ago

      thank was so good

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      geeta 6 years ago

      I have test on this thursday an iam very nervous this is my first time i took nearly 40 lesson i hope i can pass

    • profile image

      ww 6 years ago

      its one manuevre per test not 2

    • profile image

      Natalie 6 years ago

      lm having my test in 2 days OMG am sooo nervous lm not good on reverse parking but who cares maybe he doesn't ask me to do it.grrrrrr fingers crossed l will get the licence

    • profile image

      sukhveer singh  6 years ago

      thanks very much this information is very usefull really its the treasure of knowledge many thanks

    • profile image

      sean 7 years ago

      i have my test in a week and am soo nervous ;( im confident in driving and doing al maneuvers except the reverse round corner as i keep messing this up hopefully i wont be asked to do this as iv aced all other maneuvers according to my driving instructor :)

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      jen 7 years ago

      i have my test 2moro this is my 4th test lol i no what 2 expect but my nerves always get the better of me when it comes 2 doing a manouver i 4get what 2 do lol fingers crossed i pass this time :)

    • profile image

      louise 7 years ago

      got my test thursday sooooo nervers hope i hope i pass wish me luck please

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      Sarah 7 years ago

      Thank you this was useful, I have my test in about 3 weeks im scared !!

    • profile image

      zoe 7 years ago

      omg i got my test 2moro i hope i get my manouvers right :L im soo nervous :'(

    • profile image

      Anetta 7 years ago

      I have my test in two weeks from today but i think that i am not ready for the test i want to cancle my test but i am not to sure because i don't want to fail i am having trouble with my maneuversand driving on the whole but i really want to pass my test in confident so please let me know want should i do PLEASE!!!

    • profile image

      The Instructore 7 years ago

      This is very useful, a good read. I will add you to my blogroll (I write about lessons I give and tips for learning and passing too)


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      Jake 7 years ago

      This is so useful, i've got my test on monday an this guide has helped cover the few things i was unsure on, many thanks

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      ade 7 years ago

      I had more than 20 lessons with my instructor and many with my friend. am having my test in 2weeks time. i will pass am sure.

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      Mark Patton 8 years ago

      I had heard recently that in some US cities they are no longer testing for the ability to parallel park. Can you imagine not testing for that?

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      michelle 8 years ago

      thanks for the tips. im taking my test tomorrow for the 2nd time, and ive been worried about my manouvers, but hopefully following th tips ive read online il do ok. aaaaaargggghhhhhhhhhh!!

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      isabelle 8 years ago

      i found this extremely useful. i never thought of the fact that this is the only bit that i actually control. thank you

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      Amy 8 years ago

      Very helpful, thank you.