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DMV Test: How to Back Up Your Car

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Know How to Back Up your Car

For your road test, it is important that you know how to back up your car or drive it in reverse. One or two questions about backing up may also show up on your written DMV test.

If you still have your written exam ahead you, there are some important points you should remember for the written examination. Then, when you have your learner’s permit, make sure that you go through them again and practice driving in reverse until you feel comfortable with it. Do you have a backup camera? Then, learn how to back up both with it and without it.

Before You Start Backing Up

The first thing to remember is that backing up is more dangerous than driving forward. This is because you cannot see as well when you back up. This is true even if you have backup camera.

Your vehicle is also harder to control when you drive in reverse.

Before you get behind the wheel and back up, you should walk behind your vehicle. Make sure the area behind your vehicle is clear. Be extra careful if children are playing nearby.

Then, before starting the engine, make sure you have adjusted your mirrors. This is, of course, something you should always do. Not only when you need to drive in reverse. It is important to remember that even if your mirrors are well-adjusted, you should not rely solely on mirrors when backing up, unless it is necessary.


Start the Engine

When you have started the engine, keep your foot on the brake. Then, place your left hand at the 12 o’clock position on the steering wheel; this is the only driving situation when you should grip the wheel with only one hand. Put your right arm across your seat. Look over your right shoulder through your rear window.

You should learn these three steps, even if you have a backup camera. If you ever drive a car without a camera, you must know how to back up correctly.

These steps are also something that the examiner will look at when you do your road test – unless rules in your state allow a camera.

Start Backing Up

You start backing up by letting up the brake pedal.

A common mistake by new drivers is to move the foot to the gas pedal and lightly increase speed. Don’t. Until you are an experienced driver, you should keep your foot where it is.

As a new driver, you do this for two reasons. First, your speed should never be more than a slow crawl. You want to keep full control of where you are going. Secondly, if you need to stop, you want to stop as quickly as possible.

If you, as an example, is backing up into traffic and another vehicle is approaching, you need to stop. If you have your foot on the accelerator, you could accidently increase speed instead of braking. Never feel the urge suddenly increase speed when you are backing up. Remember, your car is much harder to control when you back up.

Know Which Way to Steer

During your road test, you will most likely be asked to back up around a corner. This is part of the road test since new drivers often have trouble remembering which way to steer when they are not looking forward. Theory is simple, you turn the wheel in the direction you want the rear of the vehicle to go. When you want the rear of the car to turn right, you turn the wheel to the right. When you want the rear of the car to turn left, you turn the wheel to the left. When you got your learner’s permit you should practice this more than once.

Be Aware of Your Surroundings

When you back up around a corner, the front of your vehicle will stick out the other way. Don’t forget to take your eyes from the rear for a brief moment. Press the brake pedal lightly, if needed, and check around you. You must make sure you don’t interfere with other traffic. If the way is clear, continue backing up.

Quick Summary

  • Check around your vehicle before getting behind the wheel.
  • Look through the rear window, if possible.
  • Back up slowly, cover the brake pedal.
  • Be aware of surroundings.
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