The reverse parallel park is something you will learn on your driving lessons. Parallel parking is when you use the manoeuvrability of the car in reverse to fit into a parking space at the side of the road, maybe in between two vehicles.
Before attempting to parallel ask yourself:
- Is this a safe place?
- Is this a convenient place?
- Is this a Legal place to carry out the manoeuvre?
Your knowledge of The Highway Code, road signs,road markings and common sense will help you decide.
You must ask yourself
- Will I be able to control my vehicle here?
Only you can answer this question. If you have never reversed down a hill before you might be unsure of how to control the car, where a more experienced driver may be able to control a downhill reverse with a lot more confidence.
Only when you can answer yes to all four of these questions can you be sure the place is suitable.
Carrying Out The Parallel Park Manoeuvre
On the day of your driving test you may need to do a parallel park. The driving examiner will choose a suitable place to do the manoeuvre and will normally pull you up before the car you are going to reverse behind/in front of.
When you pass your test and you want to parallel park you should choose a gap that’s at least one and a halftimes the length of your vehicle. Sometimes there might not be a car either side of the gap, but for the test imagine it’s a limited opening that’s about two car lengths.
Drive up to the gap slowly to fully assess whether the space is suitable. Use the MSM routine to decide of you need to signal, and then pull up just past the car in front of the gap. Use your left (nearside) wing mirror to help you judge where to stop. You should be parallel to the target vehicle and about one metre away from it.
This is the start of the reversing part so;
Clutch down, select reverse gear, set the gas and bring the clutch pedal to biting point. If you’re going downhill then use brake control with the clutch pedal down.
Look all round making sure it’s safe to continue, taking note of anything you may need to keep an eye on while reversing. For instance, if there is someone walking to wards you on the pavement, you may need to stop at some point if they were to walk behind your car.
Finish your observations and look out of the back window. This is the direction we are going to be driving, so you need to look mostly out of the back window, but checking all round as you go.
Reverse back slowly to the point of turn.This is when the back of your car is level with the back/front of the car you are reversing in behind. You can use the position of the target vehicle in the back left window to help you judge this. If you can see daylight past the back of the target vehicle you have gone back far enough.
Pause at the point of turn and have another check all round. Look out for any other road users and make sure you know whether people are going to wait for you to finish parking or drive past you. When you start to turn your car’s front end wills wing out into the road so this observation is particularly important.
If all is clear then reverse slowly and put a full left lock on (1½ turns left). Keep looking around throughout but mostly look out of the back window. As the kerb disappears in the back window have a check to see that your car is around 45 degrees.If it is then take off the full lock so your wheels are straight,making sure you are slowly moving and you don’t dry steer.
Now reverse straight back slowly so you are fairly close to the kerb but not as close as you would like to end up parked. Use a reference point in the door mirror to help you. Each of my pupils will have their own reference point, but for most a few checks in the mirror will help line up this final point of turn,maybe using the door handle in relation to the kerb as a guide.
When you are at this point you should steer full lock to the right to bring the front end towards the kerb, as you still move slowly.
Keep looking out the back window and checking the left mirror to make sure you are not going to touch the kerb. As the car is almost straight in the gap, quickly take off the right lock and avoid reversing too far.
If the position is not quite right then you can make any last adjustments moving forward and backward slowly. You should, with a little practice, be able to get the car stopped within a couple of car lengths of the car in front and parallel to the kerb.