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Do you fail driving test if you hit curb?

Curbside Parking

Learn the Do’s and Don’ts about one of the driving skills that every driver needs to master: curbside parking.

A Must Watch Curbside Parking Video for Any New Driver

Curbside parking is not only a driving skill used by many drivers almost every day, it is also a skill that is essential for new drivers to master as it will be tested on the DMV drive test. There are many steps that you must follow in order to curbside park properly, and making one mistake, like hitting the curb or forgetting to S.M.O.G., can result in an automatic fail on your drive test. Furthermore, drivers need to be comfortable with backing up in a straight line alongside the curb. Join professional driving instructor, Micah, as he shows you the Drivers Ed Direct way to curbside park and back up in a straight line.

Basics for Curbside Parking Like a Pro

When Approaching the Curb

  • Always S.M.O.G. (Signal Mirror Over-the-shoulder Go) before pulling over to the curb.
  • Proceed towards the curb very slowly, at a «walking pace».
  • While you want to park within 18 inches of the curb, don’t get super close to the curb. Hitting the curb is considered a critical driving error (automatic fail).
  • When you’re within 18 inches of the curb and your wheels are straight, put your car in park and apply the parking brake.

Related Video: Blind Spot Checks | All Drivers Ed Videos

When Backing Up Alongside the Curb

  • When backing up, look over your right shoulder and out your back windshield 90% — 95% of the time. Only use your mirror as needed, using quick glances.
  • Keep your left hand on the top (12 o’clock position) of the steering wheel. Try to keep the wheel straight without making large movements on the steering wheel.
  • Back up very slowly, covering the brake the entire time. If you do need to accelerate at all, apply very little pressure on the accelerator.
  • Back up until the DMV examiner tells you to stop, and make sure to put the car into park (don’t leave it in reverse).

When Pulling Away from the Curb

  • Always S.M.O.G. (Signal Mirror Over-the-shoulder Go) before pulling away from the curb.
  • If you see a car coming from behind you, let the car pass by before you pull away from the curb.
  • Make sure to put your car into drive before leaving the curb. Some students accidentally leave the car in reverse after backing up, and then auto fail when they attempt to pull away from the curb, but their car is still in reverse.

Curbside Parking Video Transcript

Curbside parking. It’s something you’re going to have to do almost every day as a driver and it’s something you’re tested on. Today I’m going to show you how to curbside park and how to make sure you don’t get an automatic fail on that part of the drive test.

So let’s say you want to curbside park or you’re taking your drive test and your examiner says, «Please curbside park.» We want to start with our signal, check our rearview mirror, right mirror, and blind spot. We’re SMOG-ing in, and then we’re going to want to go into the curb. Now the closer we get to the curb, the slower we want to go so that by the time we get close to the curb, we’re going at a nice slow walking speed. Then we want to try to get around 18 inches or closer to the curb and then when we like our distance, we’re going to stop and then put the car in park, and that’s it. That’s the curbside park.

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Now I recommend getting started a little far from the curb. Give yourself a little extra room from the curb when you first start out curbside parking and then get closer and closer. That’s so you don’t hit the curb and pop your tire or kind of do damage to the sidewall of your tire. Now, real-world, it’s good to get kind of close to the curb because then there’s less of a chance someone is going to hit your car on the left side. But on your drive test, if we hit the curb, it’s an automatic fail. So I tell people,» you’ve got 18 inches. Take advantage of those 18 inches on the drive test.» Let’s say you’re a little far from the curb on the drive test. You’re like 19 inches. Your examiner’s not going to pull out a tape measure and say, «Hmm. Looks like you’ve come a little too far away from the curb there. That’s an automatic fail.» Now as long as you’re about 18 inches or closer, you’re going to get a pass.

Now next on the drive test they’re going to say, «Alright. Please reverse in a straight line and I’ll tell you when to stop.» Now, this is going to be easiest if you put your left hand, top middle of the wheel, and you put your right-hand kind of behind your passenger chair.

Now during this part of the test, we need to look 90 to 95 percent out of our back window. You can use your right mirror, like 5 percent of the time to kind of, you know, kind of manage your distance to the curb. It’s kind of easier to see your car and the curb, but if we use our back camera or rear view mirror, it could be an automatic fail on the drive test. A lot of people I teach just kind of stay facing forward as they try to back up, but that’s a for sure way to fail the test. So we throw our left hand, top middle of the wheel and that’s because then without even looking at the wheel, you know when your wheels are straight because your hand will just be at the top of the wheel.

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Now, as you’re backing up, if you get too close to the curb, we’re just going to turn the wheel a little away from the curb or to the left. That will bring you away from the curb. Now if you’re a little far from the curb, were going to turn our hand to the right or towards the curb. Now that’s going to bring your car into the curb. But you’ll notice I’m just barely turning my hand when I make an adjustment. I’m not turning a ton because that will cause you to go really far away from the curb and you have to counter-steer so it’s best to kind of back up like this. I’ll give you an example.

My car is in reverse. I’m backing up. If I wanna get closer to the curb, I’m going to turn a little towards the curb. If I wanna go away from the curb, I’m going to turn a little away from the curb. Now the trick is to keep your car going really slow. My foot is still on the brake pedal. I’m keeping the car going at a nice slow walking speed. Now at some point, your examiner is going to say, «Alright. That’s far enough.» You’re going to stop and put your car in park. You can set the emergency brake and then they’re going to say, «Alright. Let’s continue straight, put the car in drive. We’re going to release the emergency brake. Now we need to S.M.O.G. so were going to do our left signal, rearview mirror, left mirror, blind spot, and if it looks good, you can pull back out and continue straight. Of course, if a car is coming down the street — if you see one in one of your mirrors or your blind spot, you’re going to let them go if it looks like you could impede their right of way.

Now, that’s the curbside park. It’s a fail on the test if we hit the curb. It’s a fail we don’t S.M.O.G., and other than that, you’re looking pretty good.

Thank you for watching our video on curbside parking. Good luck on your drive test! See you in the next video!

Top 10 Reasons To Fail Your Driving Test For Parallel Park

Are you about to take your driving test? Are you feeling confident or somewhat nervous? Whatever your feelings, let’s give you insight on how to pass your driving test with the parallel park exercise. In this post, we will discuss the top reasons why people fail their driving test because of the parallel park exercise and what you can do to make sure this does not happen to you on your driving test!

  • 1 Number One: Hitting The Curb
  • 2 Number Two: Pulling Away With An Approaching Vehicle
  • 3 Number Three: Failing To Complete The Manoeuvre
  • 4 Number Four: Reversing Back Too Far
  • 5 Number Five: Waving Pedestrians To Cross The Road
  • 6 Number Six: Not Checking Blind Spots Before Steering To The Left
  • 7 Number Seven: Not Stopping For Approaching Traffic During The Exercise
  • 8 Number Eight: Not Leaving Enough Space To Pull Away!
  • 9 Number Nine: Being Too Wide From The Curb
  • 10 Number Ten: Not Putting Your Seatbelt Back On!
  • 11 Share this:
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Number One: Hitting The Curb

Now – this mistake is NOT a full-blown fail! There are a few factors that can determine if you get given a driver error ( a minor fault) or a serious fault: a fail!

If you touch the curb, this error is very different from going up onto the pavement. The examiner will be checking to see how badly you hit the curb. Did you just nudge the curb, touch it, hit it, or mount the pavement. The examiner will also be checking to see if there were any pedestrians nearby.

Touching the curb is a mistake regardless. The learner should ensure that they parallel park with due care and attention for the placement of the vehicle. If you are struggling to see the curb you can:

  1. Lower the wing mirror
  2. Buy some blind spot mirrors.

Driving Test Tip: Please check your mirrors during the exercise. If in doubt stop or slow down, just do not touch the curb!

Number Two: Pulling Away With An Approaching Vehicle

When starting the parallel park exercise on your driving test, the examiner will park you up on the left just before the practice car. If you pull out to start the reverse park exercise without first checking properly, and another vehicle is approaching from behind or ahead of you. Then you will indeed have affected another road user who has priority!

Make sure you check your mirrors and blind spots prior to starting this exercise. You must then respond to what you see prior to moving the vehicle. If you miss another vehicle and move away from the side of the road into position to start the manoeuvre, you will fail your driving test as you have affected another road user.

Some learners do see the approaching vehicle but don’t respond positively to the approaching vehicle, by waiting for them to pass. Before starting the exercise, look everywhere, including pavements, side roads, and the road ahead! Wait for the vehicle to pass before you move off from the side of the road.

Driving Test Tip: Check your blind spots prior to moving off into position.

Number Three: Failing To Complete The Manoeuvre

If you fail to complete the manoeuvre, you will gain a serious fault for the exercise. Which in turn, will result in you failing your driving test. As much as the exercise may distress you if things don’t go well during the exercise. you MUST complete it regardless. You never know! Even with a few adjustments, the examiner may award you with just a minor and not a serious fault!

Stay calm and try to remember what you have been taught. One of the common reasons why a learner may fail due to the parallel park exercise is due to waiting for traffic. Learners may become very nervous when traffic is waiting for them to finish the exercise. Make sure you keep a cool head, and not panic!

Remember: The driver will forget you in 20 seconds, you will NEVER forget that driver if you fail your driving test!

Number Four: Reversing Back Too Far

If you reverse back too far, you may fail your driving test. You MUST be able to parallel park within two car lengths of the practice car. Your car is one length, and the gap between your vehicle and the practice car is another length. Or five metres! I don’t like this rule! As an instructor teaching this manoeuvre within two cars and with just the practice car, the learner knows that there is not another vehicle behind them – so, can easily or accidentally forget this rule.

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Driving test tip: You must pretend there is another car behind you during this exercise.

Number Five: Waving Pedestrians To Cross The Road

You should avoid waving pedestrians across the road. This could be dangerous if you have not checked the road for approaching traffic. You could lead the pedestrians into danger!

Driving Test Tip: Please remember vulnerable road users such as children, or the elderly, often look to drivers for permission, do not get into the habit of waving anyone to cross the road. But also be aware of pedestrians crossing regardless. If you do not respond by stopping, then you will get a serious fault from the examiner.

Driving Test Tip: Keep your hands to yourself. Allow other people or road users to make their own decisions. Await patiently, and only commence once the situation is safe.

Number Six: Not Checking Blind Spots Before Steering To The Left

It is important to check your blind spots (especially the right one) prior to steering to the left. What if there was another vehicle approaching? What could happen? If your bonnet swings to the right and a vehicle was trying to overtake you, you may have a serious accident on your hands. Please check your blind spots before steering.

Driving test tip: Make sure you check your blind spots prior to any steering. This will ensure correct observation, and please respond to what you see! And check properly. Some learners do the action of checking, but don’t actually look!

Number Seven: Not Stopping For Approaching Traffic During The Exercise

If you miss a vehicle approaching you during the reverse park exercise, you will fail your driving test. The examiner may need to intervene by breaking for you, or giving you verbal commands. If you fail to stop (respond) then clearly, you have not seen the vehicle or looked appropriately.

Very often during this exercise, learner drivers can become very consumed with the technical part of the manoeuvre. And fail to keep on checking around the vehicle. If a vehicle turns up whilst you are mid-way through the exercise, remember: you don’t have priority so you must come to a stop until they give you permission to continue.

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Driving test tip: Keep checking around the vehicle at all times. If you see anything coming towards you, just stop and analyze the situation. Do not look in the left-wing mirror too much!

Number Eight: Not Leaving Enough Space To Pull Away!

When doing the parallel park exercise on your driving test, please make sure you have enough space to pull off from the side of the road after you have finished the manoeuvre! If you need to reverse back to get out, you may get a serious fault from the examiner! Their argument: what if someone parks behind you and prevents you from reversing back!

As much as this is a crap reason to fail, the message is quite clear. You need to pretend it is a real-life exercise and you plan on leaving your car. This means, having enough space ahead of you to pull off! You should aim to have a half car length to be able to pull away!

Driving Test Tip: Don’t finish the exercise until you are confident you have enough space to pull off. If you need to make a correction and pull forward, reverse back again if you need to! Take the minor and avoid the serious.

Number Nine: Being Too Wide From The Curb

Yes, you can fail your driving test for being too wide from the curb! The recommended distance is a foot from the curb or 12 inches. Or as the examiner says: reasonably close to the curb! Make sure you are reasonably close to the curb when conducting the parallel park exercise.

Driving Test Tip: If you deem yourself too wide, correct the manoeuvre. The best way to do this is by reversing back and maximizing your two-car allowance and then pulling forward to close the gap leaving half a car length ahead of you! Please recheck your blind spots if you have stopped whilst making a decision prior to reversing back!

Number Ten: Not Putting Your Seatbelt Back On!

If you take off your seatbelt prior to this exercise and forget to put it back on when you drive on, guess what – you will get a serious fault. This is against the law and you should apply your seatbelt when in forwarding gear.

Driving Test Tip: You are permitted to reverse without a seatbelt. This allows you to position yourself without the restraint of the seatbelt. However, please do put it back on once you have finished! Know the laws of the road!

If you have found this article helpful, please leave a comment, share it with your friends and go on and pass your driving test!

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