How not to mess up your manoeuvres

Be prepared to be blown away because today, we’re talking you through how NOT to mess up your manoeuvres on your driving test!

meg author image

By Megan

Updated on Dec 4th, 2020

If you’ve read our blogs before, you may find yourself wondering why we write about the things we do. Surely everyone knows how to put fuel in their car!? Hmmm... maybe not!

Well, be prepared to be blown away because today, we’re talking you through the most difficult one yet: Here is how NOT to mess up your manoeuvres!

Okay, kidding aside – this is something a lot of people may struggle with. I for one, constantly find myself stressing out over my next driving lesson because I know I’ll be practising how to forward bay park, or trying to master pulling up on the right and reversing. Even people who can drive now refuse to do certain manoeuvres. I have been part of many conversations where one person swears by reversing into a parking space, whilst another can’t stand the thought of it (it’s calming to know that everyone struggles, even once they’ve traded that green licence for a pink one). So, to try and keep everyone calm and collected for the manoeuvres in the new driving test, we’re here to help you, by showing you what not to do.

Hitting the kerb

Surely this has to be one of the biggest worries when performing a manoeuvre!? When practising in your lessons, you have a constant reminder from your instructor to 'watch the kerb' or 'mind the kerb', what I think they really want to say is 'do not ruin my car by hitting that kerb' ;). You will also be reminded that if you do this in your test, chances are it won't be good news at the end. This being said, the best thing you can do is not to worry about it! If you take your driving test and find yourself overthinking it, you can almost guarantee you will do it. Just try and keep your instructor's voice in your head when doing your manoeuvres and you'll be fine, and let us face it... it definitely won't be as bad as this!


First things first, stalling is not the end of the world, and even though it is slightly embarrassing and completely frustrating (especially when it happens twice in a row... we've all been there), as long as you get the car going again and finish your manoeuvre you will be fine. Remember, you won't fail for stalling, you'll fail if you don't get going again!

Check your mirrors

If you don't check your mirrors enough, your examiner will notice and you will get marked down for poor observation. You can't do a manoeuvre without checking your mirrors, but you already know that! Try and not let your nerves get the better of you, and just do it the way you have been practicing in your lessons! Keep your eyes peeled and keep checking your mirrors!

Misjudging the distance

Judging the distance when performing a manoeuvre is difficult, but does get easier with practice. Make sure you have plenty of practice in your lessons before taking your test, so you don't find yourself hitting the kerb on the big day!

A case of 'headless chicken' syndrome

Must. Get. The. Manoeuvre. Done.

Quick, find a parking bay. Quick, into reverse. Quick, get into the bay before anyone else does.

Don't rush your manoeuvres! Ever heard the saying "Slow and steady wins the race"? Remember that! Your examiner will be assessing your control over the car as you complete a manoeuvre, as well as your awareness of your surroundings. You can't accurately and carefully check your mirrors and the area around the car, if you're rushing to get the job done. We're not saying that you can take an hour - that's pushing it - but don't try to break any land speed records either.


Let's face it, taking your driving test is one of the most nerve-wracking things you will ever do. No matter how many time you hear 'good luck' or 'you'll be fine', the nerves won't go anywhere until the second you put that handbrake on and go into neutral back at the test centre (and maybe even after, you've got to get the result too!)

Trying to keep your nerves in check can be a problem, and sometimes can be the difference between passing and failing. Now, that's not to say the examiner will fail you if you're nervous, but if your driving is affected because of your nerves, it will be taken into account. The thought of taking my test is giving me nervous sweats as I write this, but I am here giving advice, so as long as we all follow it we should be absolutely fine... right?

Practice makes Perfect

Short term learner insurance allows you to practise in a parent's or friend's car and get test ready!
See how learner insurance can help you!
meg author image

By Megan

Hi, I'm Megan - I have recently graduated from university and I'm a marketing executive at Marmalade! I am a new driver myself and would love to share my tips, tricks and experiences with you :)

Related Blogs

Forward Bay Parking

Have you been practising your forward bay parking? We've got a simple guide to explain how it's done!

Parallel parking

The reverse parallel park often strikes fear into the hearts and minds of learners - but knowing your reference points and practising often makes much easier!


Parent advice

Advice and guides for parents helping their learner driver on their driving journey.

black box myth busters

Black Box Mythbusters

There’s a lot of misconceptions around driving with a black box – we’ve got the facts on what’s true and false!

friends happy on phones

Visit the Driver Hub

Check out the latest stories and blogs from young drivers

ICS member logo
Customer Service Excellence Awards
BIBA scheme provider logo
First car award 2019 winner logo