The parallel park, also known as the reverse park, is one of the trickier manoeuvres that might come up on your driving test. Control, thorough observation and finesse are required, but with our tips and plenty of practice during driving lessons, you’ll master the reverse park in no time!
How to parallel park
If your driving test examiner wants you to perform a parallel park, they will ask you to pull up on the left, behind another vehicle. Typically, you’ll be asked to pull up behind a car, not in between two, however this is not guaranteed.
Perfect reverse park (parallel park) tips
- Maintain a slow, steady speed. Something close to walking speed would be appropriate.
- Be mindful of the natural curve of the road. This is known as the ‘camber’. Roads with a particularly pronounced camber can slope quite steeply towards the kerb, causing the unwary learner driver to accidentally roll into the kerb, failing the manoeuvre.
- Make sure you maintain observations.
- Don’t rush. You’ve got roughly four minutes to pull off your reverse park. Also remember that you can readjust at any point; as long as you don’t hit the kerb or forget to look around you, you’re fine.
- Drive forwards and stop parallel to and around a metre ahead of the car you want to park behind.
- Leave around half a metre between your passenger door and the parked car.
- Select reverse gear to show other road users your intentions and then check your mirrors and blind spots to make sure it’s safe to move.
- Drive back very slowly and watch for the back corner of the parked car in the middle of your left rear window.
- Check to your right before steering one full turn to the left.
- When the car is at an angle of roughly 45 degrees (generally, when the kerb disappears from your rear window), turn the wheel one full rotation to the right.
- Reverse until the back of the parked car comes into line with the front of your car.
- Continue your checks as you steer full lock to the right.
- Continue to reverse until you come into line with the kerb and the car is straight.
- Once you are in line and a reasonable distance away from the kerb, your manoeuvre has been completed.