Learning to Drive: Reverse Parallel Park

Jamie Daly - Mar 29 2022 4:07PM
Learning to Drive: Reverse Parallel Park img

Part 15 in the Learning to Drive series, Reverse Parallel Park. This is where you reverse behind a vehicle, into a free space, usually in between two cars. A challenging manoeuvre that requires great control and precise positioning.

Learning To Drive: Rules On Reversing

Why Reverse? You can acquire a better angle to get your car into the free space. When to Reverse? Where it is safe and convenient. Meaning you should try to avoid doing it on a busy road. How to Perform? It is ideal to complete the manoeuvre in 2 motions. 1) Pull up next to the parked car 2) Reverse behind the car, into the free space. If you find you haven't finished the manoeuvre in the correct position, you are allowed to pull forward to get a better angle. You can only pull forward once on your test without being penalised. Any further corrections and you will incur a driving fault on your test. Pedestrians/ Vehicles? When a pedestrian or a vehicle approaches, stop moving and continue when they have passed.

Learning to Drive: Doing The Parallel Park

What To Expect Whilst learning to drive and on your driving test, you will be asked to pull up next to a parked vehicle and reverse behind it. You may or may not have to reverse in between two cars.

Note: If you are not reversing in between two cars, do not reverse back more than two car lengths.


  • Position the car next to the parked vehicle and reverse until you reach your Point of Turn (An ideal P.O.T is when the left rear window of the car is in line with the boot of the parked car)
  • 2) Apply the handbrake, put the car in neutral and observe for any obstructions
  • 3) Perform a 6 point check and turn to look out of the back of the car
  • 4) Release the handbrake and start reversing
  • 5) Swiftly turn the wheel and slowly reverse back into the free space
  • 6) Use the Left Wing Mirror to see how close you are to the kerb
  • 7) When you are about a foot away from the kerb, slowly straighten the wheel
  • 8) Reverse back so you have adequate free space between the car in front and your own
  • 9) If necessary, pull forward and complete the manoeuvre. You should be parallel with the pavement and ideally 6 inches away from the kerb


Parallel With The Pavement - You may get slightly overwhelmed trying to angle the car correctly and observe for obstructions, so you may neglect to complete the manoeuvre parallel with the pavement. However, it's important to achieve this position, so one end of the car is not sticking out into the road.


P.O.T - Getting your P.O.T correct will have a huge effect on whether you successfully complete the parallel park in an acceptable number of motions.

InsureLearnerDriver HELPFUL TIP

We suggest achieving a 45° angle when reversing into the free space. Once achieved, reverse back until you are a foot away from the kerb and then straighten the wheel. Here's a professional showing you how it's done. < Read Part 14 – Reverse Around a Corner                   Read Part 16 - Show me, Tell me >             

'Learning to Drive' series - full lesson list