6 Driving Manoeuvres You Should Master - Guides And Tips

Written by Omid Karimi

Driving manoeuvres can be a bit stressful and intimidating to learn. It's complicated for some people and others learn it quickly. 

The difference is due to how old they are and where they learn it from. That is why it's important to get the knowledge from the right people. You will learn different manoeuvres and tips from your driving lessons. Not only will this help you prepare yourself for the test but will make things easier on the road. So be sure you got the right set of knowledge before you get on the road.

1. Reversing Exercise. 

Reversing is involved in most of the manoeuvres. That is why it is one of the most important manoeuvre you need to learn. Some are a bit edgy since it is difficult to see and harder to control the car. But nothing beats constant practice and application of knowledge. 

  • You should look at your side mirror and be about 50 cm from the kerb. You will see a bit of the asphalt between your car and the kerb, from this point of view. 
  • You can execute proper control of the car by driving slowly. Think of it at a walking speed - try to match a slow walking speed. It is necessary not to hit the kerb as well as not to swerve to the other side of the road.
  • Keep an all-around observation. Don't forget to keep an eye on all important spots, especially your blind spots. A pedestrian might be in your blind spot while you're focused on other directions. If not seen, it could be the root of an accident. So NEVER forget to check your surroundings while you’re behind the wheels.  

2. U-turn. 

This manoeuvre is used when you want to change the direction of travel. The name is derived due to how the manoeuvre is done which looks like the letter U. Before making a U-turn, make sure that the road is marked that allows for U-turns - U-turn Permitted sign.

Here's what you should do before making a turn.

  • Turn your right indicator on before turning. It is important to let other road users know your intention, so make sure you give enough time before you make your turn.
  • Reduce your speed so you can make your turn safely. If you go too fast, there is a possibility that you will lose control of the car.
  • Check for oncoming traffic or pedestrians. If necessary, come to a complete stop and give way. Only make the turn if you are certain that the lane is clear and safe to proceed. 

3. Hill Start. 

Doing a hill start is one of the most difficult manoeuvres for manual cars. Although it's much easier for automatic cars, you still have to make sure you don't roll back on the hill. Or have the handbrake up for an extended period of time causing your car to drag. First, start with a gentle slope if you're still not confident in doing hill starts. Then, slowly transition to steeper hills for more practice. You may be asked to do a hill start driving uphill. Here's what you should do:

  • if driving uphill, remember you'll need to use more accelerator to maintain speed 
  • turn on your blinkers to indicate intent to move onto the road 
  • make sure the car is in "Drive" 
  • pull the handbrake up a bit and press the release button 
  • keep the handbrake up so it’s still engaged 
  • when starting, you'll feel the car pulling a bit so make sure you're able to control the speed when pressing the pedal 
  • scan again before proceeding to see if it's safe to move off

4. Reverse Parallel Parking (Reverse Parking).

It is an essential manoeuvre that is often required in practical driving tests. This is a heart-racing moment for most learners. Even experienced drivers sometimes have difficulty performing this manoeuvre. 

Some cars have automatic reverse parking features. This is to guide drivers into a tight parking space. But learners can't rely on this technology during a driving test. Learners should practice frequently in order to be ready. So, you'll be confident when the driving instructor asks you to perform manoeuvres. 

Here are some tips on how you can perfect your reverse parallel parking by using a reference point. For a step by step instructions on this manoeuvre, download our FREE guide here.

5. Gear Changing.

Changing gears in automatic cars is easier compared to driving manual cars. You only have to remember fewer gears which are for parking, reverse, neutral, and drive. It's easy to recall since each gear does exactly as the name suggests. 

People choose to drive an automatic car because of the fact that the car can shift gears on its own. So there’s no need to worry about controlling the clutch. But there are some instances where you have to manually change into a lower gear. And that's where the gears 1 (also marked as L) and 2 that you see come into play. Some young drivers may not even realize how to use these lower gears.

There's one thing you should remember when you want to shift to lower gears, and that is you need to slow down. If you're driving down a steep hill, you can change to a lower gear by slowing down to about 20mph. And when you see your speed decrease, you can shift your gear from "D" to "2." Keep driving in gear 2 until the examiner asks you to change the gear back to ‘D’.

6. Three Point Turn. 

This is another manoeuvre that is similar to a U-turn. But instead of a single motion, as the name goes, at 3 points you need to turn the car. You will also be using your reverse gear for this manoeuvre. To execute the manoeuvre, here's what you should do:

  • To get started, get as close to the kerb on the left side of the road. This will give you plenty of room to make the turn. Check for traffic and pedestrians. Remember, observation is very important throughout the whole manoeuvre. Ensure that it is safe to proceed by checking your mirrors and blind spots. Also, turn on your signal lights to indicate that you're making a turn.
  • Once it's clear, slowly ease forward and turn the steering wheel to the right - full lock. Make sure not to hit or mount the kerb when approaching the kerb. About 1 metre from the kerb, turn the wheel to the left approximately 1 turn. This is just to make the wheel straight making it easier to do the reverse manoeuvre.
  • Before making the next turn, look up and down the road for any approaching vehicles. Then slowly reverse while quickly steering a full lock to the left. Again, make sure not to mount the kerb as you move the car backward. For the final turn, slowly move off and steer the wheel to the right to position your car on the other side of the road.

Learning these manoeuvres is essential not just for the driving test but also in real life. And you will be required to do two of these driving manoeuvres in your driving test. Keep on practicing these manoeuvres and ask your driving instructor for feedback. Eventually, you'll be confident to perform any manoeuvre on the list for your driving test.

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