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nearside and offside on a car
white clock learner driver3 minute read Guides Learner Drivers

Nearside and offside on a car explained

You may hear the terms “nearside and offside” when people are describing car parts. If you’re a driver, it’s helpful to understand what these terms mean. We’re going to clear up exactly what is nearside vs offside on a car.  What is…

Kate O'Brien
by Kate O'Brien

You may hear the terms “nearside and offside” when people are describing car parts. If you’re a driver, it’s helpful to understand what these terms mean. We’re going to clear up exactly what is nearside vs offside on a car. 

What is nearside on a car?  

The nearside on a car is the side that’s closest to the kerb. The nearside is often called the passenger side; so, the nearside front is the front passenger seat on a car. The nearside rear is the passenger side of the car in the back seat.  

If you’re looking for a particular car part, it may be described as “nearside”. For example, it may be called the nearside front light. If you’re trying to keep your car in tip top condition, check out our essential car maintenance checklist. 

Is nearside left or right in the UK? 

In the UK, nearside is the passenger side which means it is the left side of the car. So, if your driving instructor asks you to check your nearside mirror, they’re asking you to check your left mirror. Whereas, the offside is the right-hand side of the car.  

Still looking for a good driving instructor? Check out 6 things to think about when choosing a driving instructor. 

What is offside on a car?  

No, we’re not talking about the offside rule in football. The offside on a car is the side that’s furthest away from the kerb. The offside is the driver’s side of the car; so the offside front is the driver’s seat in the front of the car. The offside rear is the driver’s side of the car in the back seat.  

If you’re looking for a particular car part, it may be described as “offside”. For example, you may be looking for the offside rear tyre.  

Also, just in case you were actually looking for information on the offside, here you go.  

Nearside vs offside 

offside vs nearside on a car

Turning at a crossroads  

When there are two vehicles opposite each other at a crossroads, you can choose to turn offside to offside or nearside to nearside.   

Nearside to nearside turning  

turning nearside to nearside diagram

This is the most common way of turning at a crossroads. This kind of turning allows vehicles to check out the passing distance with the vehicle in front that is turning from the opposite direction.  

The potential hazard when turning nearside to nearside is that the vehicle turning can block your view of oncoming vehicles on the road ahead. For this reason, some crossroads will mark out the road to make sure people turn offside to offside.  

Offside to offside turning 

The offside to offside method gives a clear view of oncoming vehicles. There are some downsides though. If there’s more than one vehicle turning right from either side of the road, the road is likely to get blocked up as the second vehicle will be waiting close behind the first.  

Learning to drive? 

If you’ve got a driving test coming up, it may be worth practicing nearside to nearside turning at a crossroad outside of your lessons. With our learner driver insurance, you could get cover from 2 hours up to 180 days to practice with a friend or family member.  

Kate O'Brien
Kate O'Brien

I'm the social and content executive at Veygo and have been driving for 5 years. I love driving and the freedom it gives you!

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