For us, as experienced drivers there isn’t really much need to be able to see the kerb on our left as we perform manoeuvres such as a Reverse Left, we just “do it” without needing a conscious awareness of our position.
But many of us will have found it uncomfortable to simply “do it” on the Part 2 test, our awareness of the need to know where we are positioned in relation to the kerb is heightened because we know that we want to avoid contact with it at all costs; the reason for our discomfort is that we become aware of the fact that we can’t see the kerb in our near side mirror.
On the Part 3 test (and in your normal lessons) your pupil will want to feel comfortable about their position – they’ll need to be able to see the kerb to judge their position in relation to it and know if there are any adjustments to be made – and so will you! Unfortunately many test candidates don’t realise this until the S.E. asks to be instructed how to reverse round a corner on the day of the test; all the way through their training the “pupil” has been very compliant, doing as they’re told, and even if the instruction wasn’t really effective the trainer will “make it work”. But just as your awareness of things was heightened during your Part 2 test you will experience an increased awareness of things like this on your Part 3 test and if you haven’t planned and prepared for them you’re probably going to have your lack of skill and knowledge exposed.
You need to be able to see the kerb in the near side mirror in order to accurately judge your position in relation to it
One way to do this is to adjust the near side mirror so that it’s pointing as far down towards the kerb as we can get it – but that’s not really effective. Your view of the kerb close to the car will still be restricted and your pupil (and you) will have to remember to re-adjust it later.
The easiest and most effective solution is probably by using a blind spot mirror. I presume they’re called blind spot mirrors because they’re designed to enable a driver to see into places that they otherwise wouldn’t and to most people that means the dangerous area over our right shoulder.
I suppose that’s why so few ADIs use them – because they’ll be teaching their pupils to look into the blind spots and not to rely on mirrors. Well I use mine to see into blind spots – but not the one over my shoulder; it enables me to see into the blind spots created by the sides of the car – I can see the kerb and my rear wheels in relation to the kerb in it. In the picture above I’ve coloured my blind spot mirror so you can see how it’s positioned, you can see that the main near side mirror is not “looking down” at the kerb, the blind spot mirror is, although that can’t be seen in the picture.
Bulls eye is a general term used when describing convex mirrors, and although mine is round they can come in a variety of shapes. They are attached to the main near side mirrors in a variety of ways, mine is stuck with an adhesive pad.
Once in place they can be used to:
- Confirm your position when pulling up to park (In the moving off & stopping lesson).
- Judge the position of the rear wheels in relation to the kerb (when reversing towards it in the turn in the road lesson).
- Judge the position of the car in relation to the kerb throughout the reverse round corner manoeuvre.
- Assist in judging the point of turn (in the reverse round corner, parallel park and bay parking exercises).
Once you’re using them you’ll find that your pupil will find it easier to judge their position when they’re learning how to manoeuvre the car, and the easier your pupil finds things the easier your job becomes.