Reverse Parallel Park

Please note that I teach this manoeuvre different to other instructors, the main reason is that I don't do it that way naturally and find that if your starting position is off or your angle/timing is out then it doesn't work. Because of this many of my students found this a very hard and intimidating manoeuvre.

I took a couple of my more confident students and experimented with teaching them the method I actually use, they found it much easier. So I took some students who were less confident and again they preferred this method. Finally I taught some students who hadn't done it yet and they were totally surprised at how easy the 'Parallel Park' manoeuvre was.

So this is now the method that I teach, the 'straight back' step 4 is what makes it work, this step is able to compensate for any of the errors that will make the usual method fail. If you don't like it, don't use it, if you prefer the other method go for it! I'm not trying to say just use it, but I do recommend trying it :)

The Manoeuvre

Reverse Parallel Parking

The Stages


1. As you approach the space you intending to park in, show your intent by indicating left.

 Reverse Parallel

2.  Line your car up about 1m away from the car you are parking behind and stop when your mirror is just past theirs or your head is about level with the other cars front wheel. Keep your indicator on and put the car in reverse.

NOTE: Keeping your indicator on and the car in reverse lets other cars know what you are doing, even if you aren't moving yet.

 Reverse Parallel

3. Make sure you have a good look around to make sure it is clear. Once clear, looking out of the back window, start reversing.

REMEMBER: You are not allowed to reverse when you have traffic approaching from behind, unless they have left plenty of space AND are trapped by oncoming traffic.

 Reverse Parallel

4. When you can see past the back of the other car in the back passenger side rear window turn your wheel all the way to the left (move the top of the wheel toward the curb as that is the direction you want to go) nice and quickly.

 Reverse Parallel 

5. Continue until the car is approximately 35-45 degrees then straighten the wheels and continue back in a nice straight line using your side mirror to help you judge your distance from the car and the edge.

 Reverse Parallel 

6. Once your back DRIVER side wheel has crossed over the line or when your PASSENGER side mirror lines up with theirs (or covers their driver side tail light) turn your wheel fully to the right so the front of the car comes in. Continue reversing until your car is straight; then stop.

 Reverse Parallel

 7. Finally check the following 3 things:

  1. Distances from:
    • the car in front
    • the car behind
    • the edge
  2. The car is straight.
  3. Where relevant, the car is in the lines.

Once you have completed the manoeuvre take the car out of gear and engage the park brake.

When you are ready and it is clear and safe to do so, pull out and find another car to try behind, if you are having difficulties please don't hesitate to contact me for help or even book in a lesson it's much easier to understand this way.