Backing around a corner on the Washington state driving test

Backing around a corner and looking out the rear window.

Well, it looks like it’s time to write a post about backing around a corner. I’ve been getting a lot of questions about this one, so here goes.

If you’re taking a driving test in Washington state, you’ll have to back around a corner

This is called the backing maneuver or just simply “backing”. The backing maneuver tests your ability to control the car and use proper vision when you’re driving in reverse. This maneuver is usually conducted on a quiet residential street or a street with low traffic.

The examiner will have you pull over to the side of the road just after an intersection. Or, they might have you turn into an alleyway and stop. Then they’ll give you instructions to back around the corner.

The most important thing to remember when backing around a corner

Whenever you drive in reverse, you need to turn around and look out the rear window. Don’t back around the corner just using your mirrors! If you don’t look out the rear window when you drive backwards, you will lose points for using poor vision.

Obviously there are some exceptions. For example if your vehicle has a camper or something obstructing the view out the rear window, they’ll let you use your mirrors. But otherwise, you need to turn around and look behind you for the entire maneuver.

When you turn around and look behind you, keep one hand on the steering wheel. Before you start going around the corner, look all around you to make sure there are no vehicles approaching. Before you reverse through a crosswalk or enter the intersection, stop and look both ways behind you for pedestrians.

Some other things to remember about backing:
Stay within 18 inches of the curb
After you get around the corner, you have to drive backwards in a straight line
Keep looking behind you

Eventually the examiner will say “Stop”, and then “re-enter traffic.” Before you re-enter traffic, be sure to signal, check your mirror, and then look over your left shoulder to check your blind spot.

This video shows you the backing maneuver:

Washington driving test prep courses

If you already know how to drive, and want to learn exactly what you need to do on the driving test, you should check out our online test prep course, Washington State Driving Test. We offer two versions of this training, taught by a former DOL Master Examiner:

The free course gives you five video lessons in your email inbox. The free course is designed to give you a broad overview of the driving test and introduce the key concepts you should know.

The premium course is even better. It has nine video lessons that take you behind the scenes to show you the Washington driving test from an insider’s perspective. You’ll see every maneuver performed, with detailed instructions on what to do and what NOT to do on each part of the test.