Reverse Parking - The Reverse Parking / Parallel Parking Manoeuvre

The Reverse Parking / Parallel Parking manoeuvre is one of the reverse manoeuvres that you might be expected to perform on your Practical Driving Test.

Reverse parking / Parralel Parking... Now where did I put that reverse gear ?  Aah yes, there it is. Which way to turn and how much are the commonest points for confusion on the reverse parking / parallel parking manoeuvre.  Get it right and you will feel great.  Get it wrong, don't worry, you can try it again...

At first there will seem to be a little bit too much to do with the reverse parking / parralel parking manoeuvre , but do not worry. Once you have been talked through and completed your reverse parking manoeuvre a couple of times on a quiet road you will find that thankfully; reverse / parallel parking is all beginning to make sense.

The Reverse Parking / Parallel Parking manoeuvre is a relatively simple one as long as you remember the basics.

The Reverse Parking / Parallel Parking manoeuvre is one that you will find easier as you practice it. Once you understand the method for the procedure for the reverse parking / parallel parking manoeuvre; then a little practice is all that is required to polish your skills.

Many people find that once they have passed their driving test the reverse parking / parallel parking manoeuvre is the manoeuvre that they use most often. Parking is at a premium in many towns and cities throughout the country. The ability to reverse park / parallel park is one that you will use many times. Even if you do not live in a busy place I am sure that you visit them.

Reverse Parking - The Reverse Parking / Parallel Parking Manoeuvre

Reverse Parking / Parallel Parking - The aim of the reverse parking manoeuvre

The aim of the reverse /parallel parking manoeuvre is to prove that you can reverse / parallel park into a space, in front of shops for example, should the need arise.

There is no doubt in my mind that this reverse manoeuvre will be useful to you after you have passed your practical driving test.

The briefing for the Reverse Parking / Parallel Parking Manoeuvre

The examiner will of course choose the vehicle that you will use for the reverse park manoeuvre and will get you to pull into the kerb a reasonable distance behind it. If this is not possible they may ask you to pull up alongside a specific vehicle asking you to bear in mind that you are about to perform the reverse park manoeuvre upon that vehicle.

"The vehicle ahead of you is the one upon which I would like you to perform the reverse / parallel park manoeuvre please. I would like you to pull up alongside the vehicle and stop. Then reverse into a parking position parallel to the kerb and within two car lengths of that vehicle".

The examiner will not necessarily use exactly these words but they will impart the necessary information to you.

Reverse Parking - The Reverse Park / Parallel Parking Manoeuvre

Reverse Parking / Parallel Parking - Key points of the Reverse Park Manoeuvre

Reverse / Parallel Parking - Observations

All of the observations in the reverse / parallel parking manoeuvre are all around observations. When you are in the reversing phase of the parking manoeuvre you must remember that an all around observation is necessary before every turn of the wheel.

We never reverse towards a pedestrian on the kerb, so if you see one near to the area that you are reversing towards you must stop and apply the handbrake; wait until they have passed and then perform P.O.M with an all around observation. The same applies if you see another road user except that in this case you would stop and see what they want to do. Let them pass if they can and if they want to. Let them watch if they want to. If they cannot pass because of parked vehicles on the opposite kerb you are expected to recognise this and not stop. If you did stop for any length of time in that position you would merely be blocking the road.

Reverse / Parallel Parking - Effective observations

Effective observation cannot be emphasised enough. It is no use just learning when to turn your head. You have to be looking for movement as well. Turning your head at the right time is of no earthly use if you fail ti see the line of oncoming vehicles. The next time that I see a pupil turn their head at exactly the right time and miss three cars driving towards them will not be the first.

Reverse / Parallel Parking - Speed

Your speed must remain very slow and consistent for the duration of the reverse park manoeuvre using the gas and biting point technique.

Ideally the car should not stop during the reverse parking manoeuvre unless necessary; but in real life this is not always possible. It is better to stop and start again rather than to reverse too fast, simply because too much speed will mess up any manoeuvre.

Reverse / Parallel Parking - Steering

Whilst reversing there are several methods that are equally correct to complete the revese parking / parallel parking manoeuvre. Below I will detail below some of the most popular.

Both methods shown below rely on accurately timed and quick steering.

Reverse Parking / Parallel Parking - Performing the reverse park manoeuvre

Moving off

Your car is stationary and parked so the driving plan is P.O.M.

Preparation - Clutch down, first gear, gas and biting point.

Observation - An all around observation is preferred to check for pedestrians as well as other road users.

Manoeuvre - Move off gently, not forgetting a second shoulder check.

Where to stop

Pull up a normal passing distance away from the target car and half a car length past it.

Check your mirrors before you stop in case you need to indicate your intention to stop to a following road user. They do sometimes pop out of drives or junctions when you least want them to.

Indicate if necessary before stopping for other people. If there is anyone around that you think might benefit from the signal then you should apply it.

Stop and apply your hand brake. Change straight to reverse gear and perform preparation and an all around observation before looking over your left shoulder, if it is clear, and starting to reverse.

The reverse

The sequence for the steering now can vary upon the method chosen for you by your instructor. They will know more than one method and will help to choose the one that is best suited to you. Different pupils are taught different methods if they are not picking up the first one that the instructor teaches them. Instructors prefer different methods even though they can demonstrate them all.

What does not change is that an all around observation is require before each turn of the wheel.

Reverse / Parallel Parking - Method one

The order of steer is left, right, right, left. Each turn of the wheel is one full revolution or 360 degrees whichever is the easiest for you to remember.

Reverse until the back of your car is parallel with the back of the other one and turn left.

At an angle of roughly thirty degrees turn to the right.

Reverse a short distance nearer to the kerb (Just long enough to perform an all around observation as it happens) and then turn right.

Using the left wing mirror as a guide wait until the car is parallel before performing the last turn to the left to straighten the wheels.

Once the car is stationary apply the handbrake and select neutral.

Reverse / Parallel Parking - Method two

The order of steer is left full lock, right full lock, and left to straighten the wheels.

Reverse until the back of your car is slightly past the back of the other one and steer to full left lock.

At an angle slightly beyond forty five degrees turn to full right lock.

Using the left wing mirror as a guide wait until the car is parallel before performing the last turn to the left to straighten the wheels.

Once the car is stationary apply the handbrake and select neutral.

Reverse Parking - The Reverse Park / Parallel Parking Manoeuvre

Reverse Parking / Parallel Parking - What we are looking for in the reverse park manoeuvre?

Co-ordination

Throughout the manoeuvre the speed must be controlled with either the gas and biting point, or the clutch down and brake method. Coasting is not permitted.

Steering should be along the lines of the pull/push method. No crossing of the arms.

Observation

Observations are expected at specific points to ensure that the manoeuvre is carried out safely.

Accuracy

The manoeuvre must be completed within two car lengths of the vehicle in front. You must also finish parallel and near to the kerb.

Other Manoeuvres.

Here are other manoeuvre resources that you may find relevent

Emergency or Controlled Stop

Bay Parking

Turn in the Road

Reverse to the Left

Reverse to the Right

Reverse Parking - The Reverse Park / Parallel Parking Manoeuvre

The Reverse Parking / Parallel Parking manoeuvre is one of the reverse manoeuvres that you might be expected to perform on your Practical Driving Test.

Reverse parking / Parralel Parking... Now where did I put that reverse gear ?  Aah yes, there it is. Which way to turn and how much are the commonest points for confusion on the reverse parking / parallel parking manoeuvre.  Get it right and you will feel great.  Get it wrong, don't worry, you can try it again...

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