https://despatch.blog.gov.uk/2017/08/24/why-pulling-up-on-the-right-is-real-life-driving/

Why pulling up on the right is real-life driving

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.

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