How To Reverse Parallel Park

Learn how to Reverse Parallel Park with Learn to Drive Driving School. Parallel parking strikes fear into the heart of many learner drivers! Without a doubt it’s the thing that keeps most learner drivers up at night before the driving test.


how to reverse Parallel Park perfectly


Basically all you have to do is pull your car up next to another parked car. Then reverse your car back behind the parked car.

However this is easier said than done. Unfortunately each parallel park is unique, which will require you to make small adjustments during the actual parking. Therefore it is important that you have a definite process that you can follow when parking your car.

Before attempting this type of parking, there are a few skills you should acquire first:

Spatial Awareness

This is knowing where your body is in space in relation to other objects such as the concrete gutter or the other car. While reversing your car you will not be able to see the gutter.  Therefore you will need to be spatially aware of where the gutter is in relation to the rear of your car.

Observation Skills

When you are driving forward, you have 180 degree peripheral vision because your eyes are at the front of your head. However when you are reversing a car you can not see properly behind you. It does not matter which way you turn your head, you can not see behind you properly. Because of this, reversing is more dangerous.

Knowing how to reverse you car

The car responds differently when in reverse than in drive. You should understand the difference and discover how the car responds when you turn the steering wheel whilst reversing.

Different cars have larger or smaller turning circles. Therefore each car requires a different amount of space to be able to turn around. Consequently this will affect when you turn your steering wheel and how much you turn the steering wheel when performing your parking.


Reverse Parallel Parking

Prior to learning how to do a reverse parallel park, you need to familiarise yourself with reversing. Because your car will handle differently in reverse, you need to be comfortable with how the car will move.

When you’re doing a reverse parallel park, you have a limited amount of space to work with. In addition your vision is limited.

Basic steps to Reverse Parallel Park

1. Identify a Suitable Parking Space: Start by finding a parking spot that is sufficiently large for your vehicle.

2. Align Your Car: Position your car so it’s parallel to the car parked in front of the space you’re targeting.

3. Begin Reversing: Turn your steering wheel fully to the left and start to reverse slowly.

4. Adjust Your Position: Once your car is at an angle, straighten your wheels and continue to reverse.

5. Final Alignment: As your car aligns with the curb, turn your steering wheel fully to the right.

6. Reverse into Final Position: Continue reversing your car into the final parking position.

7. Patience and Practice:

Keep in mind that reverse parallel parking requires patience and practice to perfect.

Step 3: Get close enough to the gutter

Depending on the size of your vehicle and its turning circle you may need to stop at about 45 degrees to the gutter. Then straighten your wheels up so that you can reverse in a straight line. Then reverse back until you are close enough to the gutter.

Since the bigger cars need more room to turn you will not get as close to the gutter with a larger car. Whereas a smaller car has a smaller turning circle therefore you can get closer to the gutter with a smaller car.

Step 4: Get close and parallel to the kerb

Turn the steering wheel full lock to the right. Then reverse back until you are close and parallel to the gutter.

Of course this is easier said than done. Because every car handles differently, the amount that you have to turn the steering wheel changes depending on the size and steering geometry of your car. In addition to that, you have the other road users to content with.

Whilst the other vehicles are supposed to stop and allow you as much time and space as you need to complete your parking, the reality is that they don’t.


Reverse Parallel Parking in the NSW Driving Test

As you’ve probably realised by now, reverse parallel parking requires a number of skills to park to the standards expected in the driving test in New South Wales.

In addition to actually completing the reverse park, you are also required to park the car safely and to the standard of the driving test. This means you will have a number of required observation checks that you will need to complete during the park.

In the New South Wales driving test, there are a few things you should to know.

How much time do you have in the test to perform the reverse park?

In the NSW driving test, you’re allowed as much time as you want to park the car. Therefore the examiner will not mark you down if you take longer than someone else to park the car. Unfortunately other road users will not be as patient!

Once you start your to park your car, you may encounter other road users who beep their horn or try to overtake you. Therefore it’s important that you remain calm. Don’t rush or lose focus on what you are doing.

What are the Required observation checks?

Also referred to as ‘Blind Spot Checks or head checks’, this is the most common fail item in the New South Wales driving test. Although a lot of learner drivers are able to park their car, they often forget to perform the required observation checks whilst parking the car. Therefore they end up failing the test because that did not do the required observation checks.

A good tip here is to remember that you need to look and confirm that it is safe before you move the car. Although your mirrors are a tool and you are allowed to use them to assist you in what you are doing. You can not rely on the mirrors.

What is a Crash Avoidance Space?

Whenever you drive a car you are required to maintain a safe distance between your vehicle and the other road users and stationary objects. Surprisingly a lot of learner drivers forget to do this whilst parking the car during the test.

Therefore it’s important that you maintain your crash avoidance space whilst parking your car. You can find more information on this in the “Guide to the Driving Test”. That is the booklet you received from Services NSW when you got your learner license.

What makes Reverse Parallel Parking hard?

When the driving examiner selects a car for you to perform your reverse park on it will be different to the cars you have practiced on. Firstly it may be bigger or smaller than the cars you have practiced on. Secondly it may be parked closer or further away from the gutter than the cars you have practiced on. Thirdly it may be in a busier street that you are used too.

It addition another vehicle may decide to overtake you or beep at you whilst you are doing the reverse park. Furthermore it is not possible for you park the same distance away, or turn the wheel at the exact same point each time you park. Therefore you will need to adjust your steering and your cars position differently for each reverse park.


Learn how to park to test standards

In the New South Wales driving test you need to be able to park your car to the required standard. If you can not park your car to the standard you will not pass the driving test. It will be recorded as an immediate fail item.

Therefore you should learn to park with a quality driving school, so you can learn the necessary skills to pass the test first go. At Learn to Drive we have experienced driving instructors who will teach you everything you need to know for the test.