Reverse Parking Guide

Reverse Parking Guide (Parallel Park)

Reverse Parking is one manoeuvre which takes a little bit of practice but wants mastered can be very handy when trying to park in tight little streets and in busy town centres.

Why Reverse Park

It’s a lot easier to reserve into a tight spot rather than drive forwards into it. It is very important to be accurate when carrying out this manoeuvre, as space can be tight.

Is it safe to carry out this Manoeuvre?

Before carrying out any manoeuvre we need to make sure that it is safe to carry out. We use a phrase called SCALP.

SCALP – Safe Convenient and Legal Place to carry out the manoeuvre.  (i.e. not blocking drives, double yellow lines etc)
Look out for the camber on the road and ensure you use cutch control to keep the car moving slowly. You should look out for roads with high levels of camber on the road. This could cause the car to speed up rapidly.

Objective of the Reverse Park

To park your vehicle parallel to the kerb (no more than 2 feet), look out for other road users while carrying out this manoeuvre.

Let’s Manoeuvre

The examiner will pull you up before the vehicle which you are going to carry out the manoeuvre on. Take your time before pulling away and use this time to look at your surroundings.

Phrase One

Carry out a full all around observation before pulling away (don’t forget your blind spots), move your vehicle alongside the target vehicle. Park no more than a doors width away and slightly forward of the car (check your mirrors as you pull up you may need to signal if a car is approaching). Secure the car.

Phrase Two

Carry out all around observations, reverse back using clutch control and keep the car moving slowly until level with the back of the target vehicle. Carry out all around observations again and put one full turn of the wheel onto the left (towards the kerb). Keep the car moving slowly.

Phrase three

Keep the car moving slowly until you get to a reference point, your instructor will find you a reference point. At this point turn the wheel 2 full turns to the right. Popular reference points are:

  1. Get the your car to a 45 degree angle to the target vehicle
  2. Imagine the target vehicle is a clock hand, get your car to the 2 o’clock position
  3. Use your right hand door mirror, you can sometimes see a small triangle in the mirror (kerb,car and road)

Phrase Four

When the car is almost parallel to the kerb take one full turn of the wheel back off to the left. Reverse back about one car length from the target vehicle.


You can adjust your vehicle accordingly.

By pulling up to 2 cars lengths from the target vehicle and then moving forward to manoeuvre your vehicle closer to the kerb. Or adjust your vehicle if you are to close to the kerb as long as you don’t go up the kerb.

Common Fail areas

  • Not stopping for other vehicles while manoeuvring
  • Not manoeuvring close enough to the kerb
  • Been too close to the kerb or going up the kerb

Carry out all round observations at all times when reversing. Watch out for road users, pedestrians, cyclists etc.