A practical driving test can be nerve-wracking and overwhelming, but it doesn’t have to be!

Whether you have booked your first driving test or are a beginner driver, our guide to driving exam manoeuvres will prepare you for the road. 

Your driving instructor will select a manoeuvre at random to test you on your knowledge, so it’s best to learn them all just in case. 

It’s important to know that the three-point turn and reversing around a corner manoeuvre have recently been removed from the driving exam. However, having these skills ready for when you start driving is beneficial. 

If you’re still searching for a driving instructor, book your first lesson with us here.

Overview of a driving exam

A driving exam tests a learner’s knowledge of key skills, driving safety, and confidence on the road. This is split into two parts:

1. Theory test

This includes multiple-choice questions and tests the ability to identify potential hazards in a simulated environment.

Drivers are advised to study traffic signs, highway codes, and essential skills. 

2. Practical test

This typically lasts 40 minutes and is designed to test eyesight, road safety, general driving ability, reversing manoeuvres, and independent driving.

Examiners mark you on safe, smooth, and confident driving. They will assess your decision-making skills, technique and compliance with traffic laws.

A breakdown of required manoeuvres

Certain manoeuvres are more commonly tested during a driving exam. You must study and memorise each one to confidently carry out this part of the test. 

Parallel parking

Parallel parking involves positioning your vehicle parallel to the road, typically between two cars. This is essential for driving in a city where parking is limited. 

How to do it: 

  1. Find a suitable space: Locate a space that is at least one and a half times the length of your vehicle. 
  2. Position your car: Drive up next to the car in front of the parking space and align the rear bumper of your car with the other car’s rear bumper. Make sure at least one metre is left between both vehicles.
  3. Signal and check mirrors: Signal toward the parking space and check your side and rear mirrors. Glance over your shoulder to check your blind spots.
  4. Steer and reverse: Steer sharply toward the curb as you start to reverse. Look out the rear window and your mirrors for safety. Reverse slowly until your car is at a 45-degree angle to the curb.
  5. Straighten the car: Once your front door passes the rear bumper of the car in front, start to straighten the steering wheel. Continue to reverse in a straight line.
  6. Final positioning: When your car is parallel and close to the curb, steer to adjust your position. Ideally, you should be within 15-30 centimetres from the curb. Your car should also be positioned evenly between the two cars, allowing all vehicles to exit easily.

Top tips: Practice with cones before the test, and use the clutch and brake to control your speed.

Emergency stop

The emergency stop is a critical manoeuvre which involves bringing the car to an abrupt stop as quickly and safely as possible. This is needed for emergencies to prevent accidents and injury.

How to do it

  1. A signal from the examiner: The examiner will give a clear signal, such as raising a hand or saying stop. This indicates that you should perform an emergency stop.
  2. Immediate reaction: When the signal is made, immediately remove your foot from the accelerator.
  3. Firm braking: Apply the brake pedal firmly and quickly without slamming it down. This is to maintain control when stopping the car. 
  4. Depress the clutch: Before the car comes to a complete stop, fully depress the clutch pedal. This will prevent the engine from stalling.
  5. Securing the vehicle: Once stopped, apply the handbrake and neutralise the car. This prevents the car from moving when hit from behind, allowing you to focus on your surroundings.
  6. Observation: Check your mirrors and the surrounding area for safety before driving.

Top tips: Don’t hesitate and keep both hands on the wheel during the stop.

Bay parking

Bay parking refers to parking your vehicle in a marked space in a parking lot. Your examiner may ask you to reverse into a bay (most common) or drive in forward, then reverse out. 

How to do it

Reverse bay parking:

  1. Choose a bay: Identify a suitable parking bay between two cars, as this is how it’s likely to occur in real-life situations.
  2. Position the car: Drive past the parking bay, then stop when you reach the midpoint of the pay, which should be halfway along your car. Ensure the car is at least two meters away from other parked cars.
  3. Observation: Check all mirrors and over your shoulders for other cars and pedestrians. Signal if necessary.
  4. Reversing into the bay: Reverse slowly, turning the steering wheel to angle the car into the bay. Use your mirrors to check your position relative to the bay lines.
  5. Adjusting position: Straighten up and adjust your car as you enter the bay to ensure it’s centred and parallel to the lines.
  6. Final checks and security: Apply the handbrake and select neutral once parked. Check that the car is within the bay lines.

Forward bay parking:

  1. Approach the bay: Signal towards the bay and approach it slowly, allowing enough room to turn into it without cutting corners.
  2. Enter the bay: Steer smoothly into the bay, adjusting your steering to straighten the car.
  3. Positioning and adjusting: Ensure your car is centred in the bay and parallel to the lines. If no, adjust as necessary.
  4. Securing the car: Apply the handbrake and select neutral.

Top tips: Identify reference points on your car to accurately judge the distance. Use clutch control and gentle braking to keep the speed low.

Pulling up on the right and reversing

This manoeuvre involves stopping the car on the right side of the road, reversing for a short distance, and rejoining the traffic. This is a less common manoeuvre. However, it’s still important to know. 

How to do it

  1. Identify a safe place: Look for a safe and legal place to stop on the right side of the road. Don’t stop opposite other parked cars, as this causes obstruction.
  2. Signal and position: Check your mirrors and blind spots, then signal right. Slow down and steer the car to the right side of the road, aligning it parallel and close to the curb.
  3. Observation and stopping: Observe your surrounding area before coming to a stop. Ensure the vehicle is stationary and not obstructing the flow of traffic.
  4. Reversing the car: After stopping, check all around the vehicle again. Keep the car straight as you reverse slowly for about two car lengths. Check for oncoming traffic, pedestrians, and other hazards.
  5. Preparing to rejoin the traffic: After reversing, prepare to move back into traffic. Check mirrors and blind spots, signal left and wait for a safe gap to insert into.
  6. Moving off: Once it’s safe, steer back to the left side of the road and rejoin the traffic flow.

Top tips: Maintain smooth brake, clutch, and steering control to manoeuvre safely. Reverse at a slow speed to maintain good reaction time.

Start your driving journey with Ashley Neal

Are you ready to start taking driving lessons? If so, we have a range of highly professional driving instructors ready to take you on. 

At Ashley Neal, we will have you on the road in no time! Browse our services today and book your first lesson with us.