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How to perform parallel parking / reverse park manoeuvre

How to do a Reverse park / Parallel parking manoeuvre printable PDFPrint the parallel park / left reverse manoeuvre PDF tutorial


During the test, the Examiner will ask you to park up on the left on more than one occasion. It will be to assure him that you can park safely and legally and in a way that isn't going to inconvenience others. Also it may be that he is going to ask you to perform a manoeuvre. If you are going to reverse / parallel park, he will park you up on the left behind the vehicle you're going to perform the manoeuvre on. Usually you will park behind one vehicle and not in between two.

Three key skills are needed in order to successfully complete the left reverse / reverse around a corner manoeuvre. These are:
Accuracy - ensuring you do not touch the curb or mount the pavement
Control - keeping a slow car. Think of a slow walking pace. Whilst keeping the car slow, steering must be brisk.
Observation - all round effective observation throughout the manoeuvre.

A. After the examiner has asked you to reverse / parallel park on the vehicle ahead, check your main & right mirror & blind spot & indicate to the right if necessary. Pull up alongside the vehicle not more than one metre away. Stop just ahead of him so that the front of the car lines up with the middle of the passenger door. Ensure you check your mirrors and indicate if necessary. Once stopped, apply the handbrake and select reverse gear.

Reverse parking diagram  

B. Before moving the car take appropriate observations. If any vehicles approach during the manoeuvre, apply the left indicator, stop the car to see what their intentions are. Once clear, slowly reverse the car until the cars are level. When you see the corner of the yellow car in your rear passenger window, this will be a good indication when the vehicles are level.

Whilst reversing, make sure you look the way you are going but also don't forget to check the road ahead for any approaching vehicles and cyclists. If there are any, stop and apply left indicator so they know your intentions and allow them to drive round. If they stop, then continue with the manoeuvre.

Reverse parking manoeuvre

C. Once you see the corner of the yellow car in the rear passenger window, turn the wheel one complete turn to the left. This will put your car at a 45 degree angle and also the front of your car will move out into the road. It is important to have all round observations including looking out your side window down the road.

When the front of your car aligns with the rear of the yellow car turn the wheel to full right lock. Ensure that the front of your car clears the yellow car, if too close, take a little right lock off. Your car will now swing in close to the curb.

parallel parking diagram

D. As you get parallel with the curb, keep the car moving slowly and straighten out the wheels. Check your distance from the curb. If you are too far from the curb (remembering the view from your left mirror from a good parked position will help with this) then correct your position. If you do this by reversing and go back more than two car lengths from the yellow car, pull forward once you have finished, leaving enough distance from the yellow car so you can pull away safely.

Providing you do not hit the curb, finish too far from the curb (within around 12 inches) and do not end up too far from the yellow car, with appropriate observations throughout the manoeuvre it should be successful. Remember to never give up and always correct any errors.

blankRelated information:
Three point turn / turn in the road manoeuvre tutorialThree point turn / turn in the road manoeuvre tutorial
Left reverse around a corner manoeuvre tutorial Print PDFLeft reverse / reverse around a corner manoeuvre tutorial
Bay parking manoeuvre tutorialBay parking manoeuvre tutorial

parallel parking tips