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This blog post was published under the 2015-2024 Conservative Administration

Why pulling up on the right is real-life driving

Posted by: , Posted on: - Categories: Driving instructors, Driving test, Learning to drive

Car pulled up on the right-hand side of a road

Since we confirmed the changes to the driving test would go ahead, there have been lots of comments about when it's suitable to pull up on the right of a road.

Some comments in reply to Neil Wilson's recent post explaining how the changes will work have suggested that it's something that should never be done. So I want to:

  • explain more about why we're introducing this manoeuvre
  • show you some real-life examples of where it's suitable to do it

We know it’s not always suitable - and it’s not the default

I want to be absolutely clear that we’re not recommending that drivers should always pull up on the right.

As you know, best practice is to pull up on the left. This is still what we expect new drivers to be taught.

However, the reality is that it’s not always possible to pull up on the left.

So, as well as being taught that it's best practice to pull up on the left, we want to make sure new drivers:

  • know what factors to take into account when they decide whether or not to pull up on the right
  • are trained to carry out the manoeuvre safely in appropriate places

You're the best person to teach this

We think that it's far safer for new drivers to be taught this legal manoeuvre by a trained expert, rather than leaving it chance once they've passed their test.

I know many of you already teach this and have been doing it for some time. It won't be anything new to you.

It's all about observation, accuracy and control

Pulling up on the right and reversing for 2 car lengths is an exercise that will assess these essential skills:

  • planning
  • awareness of road users from behind and oncoming
  • effective use of mirrors
  • accuracy and control
  • observation

The existing manoeuvres will stay in the syllabus

As we've said before, you should still teach the ‘reverse around a corner’ and ‘turn-in-the-road’ manoeuvres. They'll still be part of the learning to drive syllabus.

The observation, slow control and accuracy skills needed for those will be a vital grounding for when you introduce the revised manoeuvres to your pupil in later lessons.

The manoeuvre can be done more naturally during the test

We currently have to spend a disproportionate amount of time in quieter side roads testing the existing manoeuvres.

The revised manoeuvres can be carried out more naturally during the test, which means we can spend more of the test assessing you pupils on rural and high-speed roads - the roads they're most likely to have a fatal collision on.

This is real-life driving - so here are real-life examples

We had a quick look through Google Maps to find a few examples of where pulling up on the right is either the safer and more convenient option, or the only legal option.

Parking on the left and right

In this residential area in Liverpool, there's parking available to the left and right. But if the left is completely full, then it will be more convenient to pull up on the right.

Street where it's suitable to pull up on the right
Image © Google 2017

View the Liverpool example on Google Street View

Single yellow line on the left, parking spaces on the right

In this street in Filey, you can't pull up on the left, but there are spaces to stop on the right.

Street were it's suitable to pull up on the right
Image © Google 2017

View the Filey example on Google Street View

Double-yellow lines on the left, parking on the right

In this street in Barnsley, there are double-yellow lines on the left - and someone has parked on them. On the right, there's an available parking space.

We'll never know who arrived in what order, and what spaces were available, but it's a good example of when parking on the right is definitely the legal and safe option, versus parking illegally on the left.

Image © Google 2017

View the Barnsley example on Google Street View

Double-yellow lines on the left, parking for people with a disability on the right

At the seafront in Aberystwyth, there are double-yellow lines on the left. To the right, there are parking spaces for Blue Badge holders.

In this case, it's clearly a legal option for a Blue Badge holder to park here. If the driver is the person with a disability, it's also going to be more convenient and safer for them to exit directly to the pavement.

Image © Google 2017

View the Aberystwyth example on Google Street View

Driveways to the left, shops to the right

On this street in Paisley, there are houses to the left. Stopping here could block a driveway. To the right, there are shops and a postbox, and spaces to pull up and park.

If you needed to post a letter, it's going to be more convenient for you and the residents if you pull up on the right.

Image © Google 2017

View the Paisley example on Google Street View

Watch the manoeuvre being carried out

Here’s the instruction that examiners will give to your pupil while they’re driving (they won’t pull over first to give the instruction).

Pull up on the right when it is safe to do so, please.

I’d now like you to reverse back for about 2 car lengths, keeping reasonably close to the kerb.

If another vehicle pulls up behind the car and stops your pupil from reversing back, the manoeuvre won’t be completed. The examiner will ask your pupil to drive on, and another exercise will be carried out later in the test.

If a vehicle pulls up in front, the exercise will continue. If the vehicle blocks your pupil’s view, the examiner will control the situation and give them appropriate advice.

This video shows an example of the manoeuvre being carried out.

In summary...

We still want new drivers to be taught that it's best practice to pull up on the left. But we also want them to know what factors to take into account when they decide whether or not to pull up on the right.

We think that it's safer for them to be taught this by ADIs, rather than just hoping they can do it safely once they've passed their test.

It's a manoeuvre that's all about observation, accuracy and control that can be carried out more naturally during the test.

About commenting on this blog post

We know that there are lots of different views about pulling up on the right.

We'll only publish new questions and observations that haven't been made on previous posts on this subject.

This isn't about censoring your views. It’s to make sure comments help to answer any new questions you have about how this will work.

Sharing and comments

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  1. Comment by Terry Gilkes posted on

    Seems logical to me.
    Should have been done a long time ago as the manoeuvre is highly dangerous.
    Let's all strive for road safety...

  2. Comment by David Stone posted on

    Having considered having parking on the right accepted, I trust education will be given to how to set off from that position afterwards. Too many times it isn't the arrival that causes the problem, its the departure. Invariably the subject motorist will present the front nearside of the car into the live flow of traffic and only pause when the subject driver attains a view of the carriageway.
    A suggestion.

  3. Comment by David Harris posted on

    The arguments for doing this manoeuvre in the circumstances described here far outway the objections I've seen.

  4. Comment by Andy Titterton posted on

    All photographs shown are excellent examples of pulling up and parking on the right. Those complaining must surely be forgetting that they must have done it themselves at some point.
    Perhaps pulling up on the right can be avoided by teaching pupils how to carry out a 180-degree handbrake turn in preference.....

  5. Comment by Dave Walker posted on

    Hi, I agree that new drivers should be taught to pull over / park on the right but find that at night drivers don't realise how blinding their headlights are to oncoming traffic if left on for a short time. So if this is explained at the time of being taught I'm all for it.

  6. Comment by Sean posted on

    Excellent lesson plan

  7. Comment by Jeff Baker posted on

    Very instructive, thank you.

  8. Comment by Graham Feest posted on


    Well said and explained and good examples. I don't get what the issue is with those who feel it should not be taught. Of course best practice is to stop and park on the left but reality says otherwise. It is excellent to have included it as a possibility in the test as may I say is forward parking and reversing out.
    Graham Feest Consultancy
    Chairman Institute of Master Tutors of Driving

  9. Comment by Tony Thompson posted on

    I really understand the reasons for this.

    I had a real life experience recently with pulling up on the right. We started the manoeuvre, pulled up on the right, and was followed in by a delivery van behind us, therefore not allowing the reversing bit. We then had to move off and our vision was impaired by vehicles in front of us. We (pupil) could not see what was approaching us so I had to intervene as the eyes. If she was on her own she would have moved off blind onto the right hand side of the road and there was traffic approaching. Learning took place! She said 'I'll never park on the right again'.

  10. Comment by Mr s hartley posted on

    What about tests to include motorway driving if that's the argument for this manoeuvre

  11. Comment by Melanie Smith posted on

    I have always taught my pupils that pulling up on the left is safer and why! However, I do agree that they need our help to be able to do this if it's their only option!

  12. Comment by Stuart Taylor posted on

    I find your piece informative and reasonable. However, it is not a legal requirement for a learner to take lessons with an approved ADI. How do you propose to police the fact that the other manoeuvres are taught and the real life risks and decisions are covered? In particular with respect to any candidate who arrives in their own vehicle and potentially with no practice of the other manoeuvres and/or the real life risks and potential issues that can easily arise when pulling up on the right. Also still to be answered is How are we supposed to teach/coach this scenario if someone is only able to do lessons after the sun goes down in the winter. As far as I am aware if there is no available one way streets(which would only be a simulation anyway) or marked parking areas available then would it not be technically illegal to practice? If not, why not. We have a right to indemnify ourselves against the possible outcomes.

  13. Comment by David Davies posted on

    Of course it makes sense to teach and test pulling up on the right, because people will always have to do it. I can't believe that some ADIs don't teach bay parking to pupils who will be tested at a centre without a car park, or "real" parallel parking into limited space between two cars, which isn't a practical option on test. I have also always taught "independent" driving following signs, long before it became part of the test, as I believe all competent ADIs have. I wonder how many will stop bothering to teach turn in the road and left reverse after 4th December. I certainly won't! I can't actually believe that the DVSA decided they are outmoded manoeuvres "because everyone is using satnav and doesn't go the wrong way anymore". Anybody who says that has never used a satnav! In Runcorn, satnav still tells you take expressways that were demolished over two years ago! And 14 of the 22 pupils currently on my diary live in a close or full-de-sac. Nobody needs to turn around? I'm glad they're coming out of the test, though, as pupils stress too much over manoeuvres on test. Now I can teach them just as a practical thing you need to be able to do safely, rather than being seen as an exam question - a task which must be carried out with immaculate precision, even though I tell them until I'm blue in the face that it doesn't. Overall, though, I think the changes are quite sensible.

  14. Comment by John Hing posted on

    When pulling in onto the right and driving off, is it required to signal as is NOT shown in the example?

  15. Comment by Mark Coyle posted on

    Excellent explanation of a manoeuvre that requires some good skills
    I can't see what the fuss is from adi s that don't seem to grasp what's required and why
    I would expect every adi in the country to be able to carry out this manoeuvre without any training so why is there such an uproar about it being included on the test?
    It's high time adi s remember that we are teaching skills for life
    There are many other thing Not included in a test that should still be taught
    I.e. Parking in multi storey car parks
    Reversing into narrow lanes and in and out of parking bays especially when someone parks carelessly and blocks you in

  16. Comment by Philip Hastings posted on

    Is this manoeuvre being introduced for other categories, in particular BE, D1, C1?

  17. Comment by Karl Hunt posted on

    Points well made and a logical explanation of where this new exercise would be relevant to modern driving requirements. Personally I have no issues with this being included in the driving test.

  18. Comment by Garry Arrowsmith posted on

    I've always given my pupils the opportunity to pull up on the right so it's nothing new to me and also to right parrall park! So why isn't that in the sylabos or indeed the NEW test some of the examples you show talk about parking on the right so isn't that leaving that to chance when a new FLH has only a two car length gap on the right to park? I am all for adding new things to the test if it leads to safer drivers but WHY take the reverse corner and turn in the road out completely surely one in five tests should be one of them youve done it with the independent drive. It will lead to instructors never teaching these two manoeuvre, if not straight away but in the near future isn't that leaving things to chance again!

  19. Comment by Danny Gibson posted on

    Now I fully understand why we need to teach all students to pull up on the right it makes safe sence if it's not safe to pull up on the left for what ever reason. Safe driving for life

  20. Comment by David Lewis posted on

    I do agree that pulling up on the right is real life driving but i think the test should concentrate more on driving on rural roads as most collisions tend to be on these roads.
    As a lot of instructors tend to teach pupils just to pass a driving test i think teaching on rural roads will be overlooked.
    How many collisions are caused when moving off from the right

  21. Comment by Gillian Rowe posted on

    Thank you for this infformation, I was shocked when I first heard this was being introduced but I the mean time realise that I park I the right in 2 situations whilst picking up pupils. Very informative.