How to drive a car in reverse?
How many times have you heard a driver say: Gosh, I hope I won’t have to drive in reverse! The lack of confidence in performing this maneuver is a common occurrence among drivers, which, fortunately, can be overcome with practice. So, if you belong to the group of drivers who prefer not to kick it into reverse gear, we’re confident that with the help of our tips you will overcome the fear of driving backwards and that, by doing so, you will make your arsenal of driving skills complete. So, let’s get going…
Adjust Your Seat
Prior to getting your car moving, adjust your seat in accordance with your needs by setting its height, distance from the steering wheel, and back.
The right height of the seat should make your hands at shoulder level when holding the steering wheel. Move the seat away from the steering wheel, so that, when you hold it, your arms are slightly bent and your feet can reach and PRESS the clutch, brake and accelerator pedals. Lower the back of the seat just a LITTLE BIT, but not past a 30-degree angle.
Have in mind that, unless your car has a display or you are simply not using it, your body will be rotated to the right. In that case, your head will be turned backward, so adjust your seat in accordance with the position, that is, move it a LITTLE closer to the steering wheel. When done with driving in reverse, return the seat to the position for driving forward.
Adjust the Side View Mirrors
Some drivers, prior to driving in reverse, decide to shift their side-view mirrors in order to see the car’s back wheels, whereas others leave them in the position for driving forward. This depends on the driver’s personal preferences, as well as experience.
As you become more experienced as a driver, the need to shift the side view mirrors will become smaller, until you finally reach a level where you won’t have to shift them at all. However, until that happens, if you shift the side view mirrors for the purpose of driving in reverse, make sure you don’t forget to return them to the position for driving forward, prior to driving forward.
When you’re driving in reverse, make sure you check the side-view mirrors every couple of moments in order to have a full view of the situation. If your head is turned backward and your body rotated to the right, this can initially represent a challenge for the less experienced drivers, but as we said at the beginning - practice makes perfect.
The side-view mirrors can especially come in handy when cornering in reverse, seeing it as they give you a full view of the corners, as well as the objects, vehicles and pedestrians at them.
Correct posture is crucial in reacting adequately in dangerous situations. Are you sure you are sitting behind the wheel the right way?
Shift into Reverse
Makes sense, doesn’t it? In order for you to drive backward, first you have to shift into reverse. Modern cars, which have 6 gears, usually have a spring or button, located right below the head of the gear shift, which you have to move upward or press if you want to shift into reverse. Whatever the situation, look for reverse gear on the top of the gear shift, press the clutch and shift into reverse.
If you drive an automatic car, look for the reverse gear end, press the brake pedal and shift into reverse.
What are the most common mistakes we make when driving a manual?
Assume the Correct Position
Rotate your body to the right while holding the steering wheel with your left hand, place your right arm on the passenger seat and turn your head backward.
A lot of modern cars have cameras installed in the back, which makes it possible for their drivers to have a full view of the situation behind them. If you’re one of the drivers whose car has the aforementioned technology, instead of turning around and looking over your shoulder, simply use the services of the camera display system, of course, in combination with the side view mirrors, for the purpose of having a full view of the situation.
Don’t go until you’ve made sure that the road behind you is clear, meaning there are no vehicles parking out or pedestrians crossing the street, and if there are some, before you get going, make sure they’re at a SAFE distance from you.
Go Slowly and Drive Slowly
Once you’ve turned around and made sure that the situation is safe for driving in reverse, start driving backward SLOWLY. Have in mind that reverse gear is the most powerful gear, which means that a sudden acceleration can cause the car to go faster than planned, and crash into another vehicle, pedestrian or object.
Keep driving SLOWLY, follow the development of things taking place behind you with your body rotated to the right and your head turned backward, and check the side-view mirrors every couple of moments.
Understand that Right Is not Left and Left Is not Right
Again, a statement that makes sense. Still, you’d be surprised to find out how many drivers think that, when driving in reverse, if they turn the steering wheel to the right, the car will go left. Of course, this is INCORRECT. Some drivers are under this impression probably because they tend to observe the car’s front movement rather than focusing on the whole car’s trajectory.
Let’s elaborate on that…When you’re driving in reverse and you turn the steering wheel to the right, the front wheels turn to the right as well, thus directing the car’s back to the right. The car’s front follows the car’s back movement by shifting to the left.
The same principle applies to turning the steering wheel to the left. Then, the front wheels turn to the left and direct the car’s back to the left, thus shifting the car’s front to the right.
To put it simply: if you’re driving in reverse and you want to go right, turn the steering wheel to the right GRADUALLY, whereas if you want to go left, turn the steering wheel to the left GRADUALLY.
Stop the Car in Time
Once you approach the location of choice, press the brake and stop the car. Don’t wait until the very last moment to hit the brake because you can easily miscalculate the distance separating your car and the object or vehicle behind you, and end up hitting them.
A lot of modern cars have parking sensors installed in them, which beep as you approach another vehicle or object, meaning that, if you happen to drive one of these cars, you’ll know when it’s time to stop simply by listening to the sensors.
And now, the time has come for you to put what you have learned to the test. Find a parking lot with a few cars parked in it and „rehearse the reverse“ to perfection.
We hope you find these pieces of advice useful. Feel free to contact us for any suggestion, doubt or proposal for a topic that interests you.