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.
For more parking rules see: http://www.rms.nsw.gov.au/roads/safety-rules/road-rules/parking.html

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 90º, 60º or 45º.

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 90º).

We need to adjust the starting point to for 60º and 45º 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

Manoeuvres: Reverse Parking

Many learners come to our driving school just wanting to learn how to reverse park. It is seen as the pinnacle of driving skill. It is a complex manoeuvre, however, you are unlikely to hurt anyone too badly by not performing it well.

The reasons that it is difficult to teach the reverse park for most supervisors is that they are at the unconscious competence(habit) level of skill ie they just do it. What most learners don’t realise is there are several skills that must be mastered before reverse parking can be attempted. If we try to do reverse parks before these skills are mastered then frustration is what you will be practicing!

Before we can reverse 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

The key to doing a successful reverse park

Once we are proficient with the above list of competencies then reverse parking can be relatively simple, we just need to identify a couple of key points on the vehicle to turn in and turn away again. Our trainers know exactly where these points are.

Whenever you are setting up a reference point, use the rear corner closest to you of the vehicle you are parking behind. Any method that references the steering wheel or any other point on the other car is floored, not all cars are created equal! The main thing to remember when we are practicing is to keep the vehicle moving slowly as possible and the steering moving as quickly as possible. Over time the learner will get faster and more unconscious of the process until ultimately they are not thinking at all about the process.

The other thing to make sure to practice is how to fix a park that goes bad, eg we are further from the kerb than we hoped. In these situations we need to work on getting the rear wheels closer to the kerb. Think of this process like doing a mini reverse park. This skill will be useful when getting into parks that are only just big enough for the car to fit. If we find ourselves at too higher an angle and too close to the kerb and too close to another vehicle then the only option is to start again.

What level do we need to be to say we are expert?

When we first start practicing we will be using either flat or slight uphill roads but how do we know we are ready for the real world? Many young people are going to make one of their first trips to the beach on a nice summer day. This will involve a tight reverse park on a steep hill with other cars waiting, people walking around and fish and chips shops full of spectators. Wouldn’t it be great if we were able to confidently park up in this situation!