Last week began with yet another new pickup location for reasons of Real Life (which are also on the to-blog list), and so I set off from Whiteley in the pre-commuter afternoon traffic and trundled down to Gosport by way of Stubbington and Lee-on-Solent via what's becoming a familiar route. After a bit more junctions and roundabouts practice, and a journey along a narrow and twisty country lane, we parked up in a quiet residential street and then it was time for everyone's favourite manoeuvre: reversing round corners (specifically, corners on your left)! Back at my parents' house in Horsham I'd often see learners practising this particular bit of driving, slowly backing round a corner and trying not to hit the unhelpfully-parked cars nearby.
That said, it's actually a rather straightforward manoeuvre to do. The hard part is keeping the car parallel to the kerb as you head round the corner while also watching out for cars (both in front and behind) and controlling the clutch to keep moving smoothly.
To begin with (at least for the test) you'll be parked just before a junction, so set off as normal and then stop just after the junction. Get the car into reverse, and then the bit that everyone forgets is to before moving do the six-point check I mentioned in the first post. Only then do you set off backwards round the corner. Now comes the fun part of steering - once the corner starts to move away from the car, steer three-quarters left. Now, this'll cause the front of the car to swing out, so you have to alternate between looking at your position in the left mirror, looking out the back to check it's still clear, looking forwards in case someone's coming towards you, and looking over your right shoulder in case someone's sneaking up behind you (and if you do find someone, then you have to decide whether to keep going or to head forwards, wait for them to pass, and try again). Continue round the corner, either steering more if you're moving away from the corner or straightening up if you're getting too close, until the road straightens out. Then steer in to the kerb, carry on back a bit more, and pull up against the side of the road. Simples!
Because examiners are sometimes sneaky, they will likely then tell you to drive forwards and turn at the junction. The important thing now is to realise that you're currently parked, and so need to look around and signal right when moving off as usual, *then* signal the way you're actually going. Not signal left straight away (which my instructor commented that some people have done!).
After a couple more goes at that, we then set off for yet more roundabouts and junction practice on the way back to Fareham. This time it was about half five when we got to Quay Street roundabout, which seems to be just late enough that you don't end up with half-a-dozen drivers nipping down that filter lane as you want to cross over it. The earlier pickup also made getting out of Whiteley and along the A27 past Titchfield quite a bit smoother than before.
Next week: more reversing!