May 2016 | LTrent

The Kerbside Stop

You will need to do kerbside stops in the driving test.
This often overlooked skill is essential to gaining a licence.
Often it will be done on an uphill grade, especially for manual learners.
You will also need to perform the same manoeuvre as part of a reverse park or three-point-turn. Getting the kerbside stop wrong will make it difficult to pass your driving test.
Getting the kerbside stop wrong will make it difficult to pass your driving test.

Where can I do a kerbside stop?

When practicing kerbside stops, you will need to consider the road and surrounding area. Start on a quiet road so you have plenty of time.
You cannot park across a driveway, in a clearway or a bus zone. All parking signs need to be checked to ensure that you are parking in the appropriate place for the length of stay.
An often forgotten parking rule is that you need to leave at least three metres from any double unbroken center line to leave enough space for cars to go past.

How to do a kerbside stop?

To master kerbside stops, you will need to be proficient in the use of:

  • Accelerator and brakes
  • The gears
  • The clutch
  • Starting and stopping the car
  • Hand-over-hand steering technique
  • Vision
  • Safety cushion
  • Blind spots

When practicing your kerbside stop,  find a suitable place to pull into the kerb; be aware of all the traffic and pedestrian activity around the vehicle.
Once a good spot has been found you can start to drive towards kerb. The aim is to be 20-40cm from the kerb once you have stopped, with the wheels parallel to the kerb.
If you are parking behind another vehicle, leave about a metre gap.
TIP: If you are having trouble judging the size of your vehicle, a transit line can be set up from your eye through to a point on the windscreen or bonnet to the kerb. This will help you repeat your position. LTRENT Driver Trainers can teach you this trick if you are unsure.
When the vehicle is parked, apply the park brake, select park in auto vehicles or first gear in a manual.

When you are leaving the kerb, the first step is to get the vehicle ready to go.
Start the motor and select drive or 1st gear. Make sure that there is enough room for you to the clear the car in front of you. Reverse a little bit if you need more space.
Check the mirrors to find a space to pull out into. Signal your intention to other road users with your indicator. The indicator needs to be on for five seconds before pulling out.
Just before you leave the kerb,  check your blind spot in the direction that you are moving. There could be a car pulling out of a driveway that you cannot see in your mirrors. If your blind spot check comes back clear then you can leave the kerb.

How do will you know when you are an expert at the kerbside stop?

At the highest level, you should be able to pull into a space that is about 2 car lengths long and be parallel first go in a busy traffic situation. You will also be able to pick and take an appropriate gap in busy traffic up a hill with cars parked either side of us.
More on manoeuvres: ANGLE PARK

Manoeuvres: Angle Parking

Do you need to know how to angle park?

Angle parking is not often in the driving test. This does not mean that you won’t have to do an angle park in the test. Often the driving test starts or ends in angle parking.

Aside from the test, you are going to need it in real life. Just like reverse parking, angle parking is a skill that most drivers just do. Before we can perform an angle park, we need to be proficient in the use of:

  • Accelerator and brakes
  • The gears
  • The clutch
  • Starting and stopping the car
  • Hand over hand steering technique
  • Blind spots
  • To and from the kerb
  • Slow moving forward
  • Up hill starts
  • Down hill starts
  • Reversing
  • Slow speed control
  • Road signs and markings

In addition to the above skills we need to have a really good feel for the size of the car. When we are performing an angle park we need to be uncomfortably close to other vehicles to succeed.

Where to do an angle park

Angle parks are found in all shopping centres, shopping strips and most car parks. They can be 90Âș, 60Âș or 45Âș.

How to an angle park

When we are doing an angle park we need to keep the vehicle moving slowly and smoothly and turn the steering quickly.

Firstly we pull up a little bit past the parking spot that we want to park in, about a meter out from the cars we are parking next to.

As we reverse back we need to find the spot to start turning into the parking spot. In most cars it is when the rear wheel is in line with the first corner of the car you are parking around (for 90Âș).

We need to adjust the starting point to for 60Âș and 45Âș parks. At this point we start to turn into the parking space, this will feel too close! As we are moving into the parking spot check your mirrors to evaluate your position in relation to the other cars. If you can see a gap between the bumper of the car you are parking around and the side of your car then we are OK.

Once the rear wheels are past the car we are parking around we need to move our focus to the car on the other side of the car spot and the lines. If we can see more of the car next to us coming into view then we are clearing it, if the view in our mirror is not changing then we might be on a collision course, stop!

As we are starting to line up with the lines we need to start straightening the wheels and reverse back in a straight line parallel to the parking lines. When we are far enough into the spot we can stop.

When we are leaving the spot make sure to move out in a straight line for at least half a car length before turning the wheels.

Driving in forwards is pretty straightforward, just make sure that you use a wide arc to enter the spot so that you are going straight as you are entering the spot. If you are reversing out of a spot make sure that you go almost fully out before turning the wheel so that you avoid bumping other cars and posts.

How do we know that we are expert?

The toughest situations for angle parking are when there is lots of traffic, say the week before Christmas at the central shopping centre. You only have one spot available, it is narrow due to the large 4wd vehicles parked either side. If we can do this first go (and leave enough space to exit the vehicle) then we are winning!


More on manoeuvres: REVERSE PARKING

The Three Point Turn

Occasionally you will need to do a Three Point Turn. This might be when you have made a wrong turn, seen a parking spot on the other side of the street or you are at the end of a dead end street. Using a Three Point Turn you can turn the vehicle around in a street that is too narrow to perform a U-turn.

Before performing a three point turn

Before you can perform a Three Point Turn, you need to be proficient in the use of:

  • Accelerator and brakes
  • The gears
  • The clutch
  • Starting and stopping the car
  • Hand-over-hand steering technique
  • Blind spots
  • Moving to and from the kerb
  • Slow moving forward
  • Uphill starts
  • Downhill starts
  • Reversing
  • Slow speed control
  • Road signs and markings

The key to performing a good Three Point Turn is great car control. You need to keep the car going as slow as possible and the steering moving as quickly as possible. One of the big mistakes that drivers make when doing a Three Point Turn is turning the steering wheel when the vehicle is stationary. With a modern vehicle with power steering you won’t feel that it is difficult to do, however, your steering system and tyres will be hating you for it! Best practice is to make sure that the vehicle is moving even just a tiny bit before turning the steering wheel. This can be best done by turning the steering straight before stopping when doing your forward and reverse changes.
The most important part of doing a Three Point Turn is checking for traffic. Before each point change, using your mirrors and turning your head, you need to check that the traffic situation around you has not changed.

Where to do a Three Point Turn

  • Make sure that you can be seen.
  • Don’t do a Three Point Turn near a corner, crest or block out.
  • A Three Point Turn must not be done across any unbroken line.
  • Never use a driveway, this manoeuvre must be completed on the road surface without hitting the kerb.

How to do a Three Point Turn

  • Start a Three Point Turn by doing a kerbside stop, assess the traffic both in front and behind to ensure that there is time to perform the manoeuvre, then leave the curb (you have no right of way when you are performing a Three Point Turn).
  • Once you are moving, you need to turn the wheel as quickly as possible to the right.
  • Just before you get to the opposite kerb, straighten the steering in preparation for reverse.
  • After checking for traffic, reverse and turn the wheel quickly to the left.
  • Only reverse as far as is necessary to clear the kerb when moving forward.
  • Before you move forward again, check the traffic again and then off you go.

Sometimes a road is too narrow to make the manoeuvre in three points, in this case  you can use five. Just make sure to keep an eye on traffic throughout the process.

How do you know that you are confident at the Three Point Turn? 

  • When you start practicing Three Point Turns on a road that is just too narrow that a U-turn cannot be completed.
  • At the top level you can do a Three Point Turn on a narrow road with lots of parked cars and heavy road camber. In this situation, you will have to select an appropriate gap and use high level car control.