How To Reverse Park

Reverse parking, or parallel parking is one of the big set piece manoeuvres that you could be asked to perform in the driving test, but its one of those important skills that once you know how to do it, it all makes perfect sense.

It's important to practise on a quiet road, especially at first, as lots of other traffic can prove off-putting.

Cars parked in parallel are parallel to the curb, in one line, with the front bumper of each facing the back bumper of the adjacent one.

On your test, the examiner will ask you to reverse into a space of about two car lengths, park as close as you can to the kerb safely, smoothly and under control. The examiner will want to see that you take good all round observation, do not get too close to the parked car, do not mount the kerb, and stop reasonably close to the kerb.

Remember - given time and practise you will be able to reverse into a space one and a half times the length of your car. As an initial step, you need to make your intentions clear. Slow down well before the parking space, and signal into the space. Get into reverse gear as quickly as possible, and the combination of reverse and brake lights will signal your intentions to drivers behind.

Then line up your car parallel with the vehicle in front of the parking space, making sure you are not too close to it. Next, turn the wheel one turn to the left. Look all around to see that it is safe to proceed, as good observation is essential.

Continually look over your left and right shoulder, using clutch control where necessary, to ensure there are no hazards such as pedestrians crossing.

Back up your vehicle so that the rear bumper enters the parking space first. When your car is at 45 degrees to the parking place, slow down, and start turning the steering wheel back to the right.

Continue reversing until the rear of your vehicle is about 2 feet from the kerb. Gradually turn the wheel towards the kerb to bring your vehicle in a straight line with the side of the road. Brake once your car occupies the middle of a parking space.

It is quite acceptable to move forward a small amount to complete the manoeuvre safely and ensure you are occupying the middle of the parking space.

Keep practising this skill until it becomes second nature.