An essential part of everyday driving, that many drivers fear is reverse parking! It is undeniable that many drivers would rather drive a considerable distance from their destination to find a large parking space, than attempt a Reverse Parallel Park.

The reason for this is two-fold:

1) The individual was taught a complicated procedure for doing the manoeuvre. (Difficult to remember)
2) The individual did not practice the manoeuvre for some time after passing the driving test. (Easy to forget)

In this article we will seek to explain a simplified procedure for executing the Reverse Parallel Park in a safe and efficient manner.

What Size Of Gap Do I Need?

To drive forwards into a parking space between vehicles you will need a gap of at least three car car lengths. If you need to park in any city or town centre it will be almost impossible to find a gap of this size.

Any space smaller than this can only be used if you reverse in. The minimum space that you can reverse into is 1.5 times the length of your car.

It is important that you are familiar with the size of your car. Many drivers often over-estimate the size of their vehicle. To ensure that this doesn’t happen, you should often get out of your car and check the size of your vehicle in comparison to the space you are trying to reverse into. If you do this from time to time your spatial awareness will improve.


If you are not confident with attempting this manoeuvre it is advisable to practice on quiet roads where the pressure will be minimal until you can complete it easily. You should start off by reversing into large spaces or even reversing into a space behind one parked car. By following these steps you will begin to build up your confidence and ability to do the manoeuvre at a reasonable pace.

The Procedure

1) Choose a space that is at least 1.5 times the length of your car.
2) Check your mirrors to see any following traffic.(It is important to see how far behind they are).
3) Signal left and slow down early….following traffic will need a few seconds to understand your intentions.
4) Position your vehicle approx. one metre away from the vehicle furthest forward of the parking space and approx. half a car length past it.
5) Apply your handbrake and select reverse gear.
6) Check all around in every possible direction for vehicles and pedestrians.
7) If clear reverse back slowly until the back of your car is level with the back of the car closest to you.
8) Steer full lock to the left. Check around again, paying particular attention to your right hand side.
9) Keep reversing until the front of your car reaches an angle of approx. 45 degrees or between 0100 and 0200 on a clock face.
10) Steer to the right until the wheel is straight (approx. 1.5 turns of the wheel). Look all around again.
11) Reverse straight back until approx. 0.5 meters from the kerb (normally when the kerb disappears from the left side mirror.
12) Steer full right lock. Continue looking behind for potential hazards.
13) When parallel with the kerb straighten the wheel.
14) Adjust if necessary.


With practice this procedure will make the manoeuvre fairly straightforward. Remember to practice on quieter roads and use larger gaps until your confidence increases. If you require hands on help, do not hesitate to contact us by any of the channels found on this site.