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Driving test manoeuvres - parallel park
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We Are Marmalade

November 21, 2017

Driving test Learning to drive 4 min read

The reverse parallel park often strikes fear into the hearts and minds of learners – however knowing your reference points and practising often can turn this trickster into a piece of cake.

What is the examiner looking for?

  1. Accuracy – You need to park behind a vehicle, whilst not getting too close to it or the kerb.
  2. Control – Keep the speed slow and use the clutch control to help with reversing into the parking space.
  3. Observation – Keep your eyes peeled everywhere when performing this manoeuvre.

Prepare, Observe and Move.

Step by step – parallel park

Your examiner will tell you if and when they wish for you to reverse park the car. Remember the MSM routine before doing anything.

  1. Ideally, stop around half a car’s length in front of the car you intend to reverse park behind
  2. Once you have stopped, you can cancel your indicator and go into the reverse gear
  3. Do all-round observations, and if there are any other vehicles or pedestrians, wait until they have passed before you carry on
  4. Once happy, look out the rear window and proceed to reverse
  5. Continue reversing until the back of your car is level with the car you plan to park behind
  6. When you are happy with the position of your car, stop. You are now at your point of turn
  7. Again, you need to make sure everywhere is clear. When turning, the front of your car will swing out into the road so you need to make sure there is no one around before doing this
  8. As you begin to reverse, steer one complete 360 degrees turn to the left. This will put you at a 45-degree angle to turn into the parking space
  9. Gather your reference point, usually by lining up the left corner of your car, to the right corner of the car you plan to park behind
  10. When you reach your reference point, steer all the way to the right and lock the steering wheel
  11. If you need to adjust your position at any point within this manoeuvre then you should; a parallel park doesn’t need to be one continuous movement
  12. Once you are happy with your position, keep reversing until you are around 30cm away from the kerb and when you’re there, steer 1 turn to the left to straighten up the car
  13. Once you have stopped, apply the handbrake and select neutral


And you’re done!

If upon finishing the parallel park, you find that there is quite a bit of room between you and the car in front, you can pull forward slightly to decrease the gap.

Top tips

  1. Give yourself plenty of time. There is no rush to get these manoeuvres done. Your examiner wants you to do it safely and correctly, not quickly.
  2. You could complete the best parallel park in the world, but if you don’t use your observations it will all be for nothing.
  3. The examiner will ideally pick a quiet road for you to perform the reverse parking manoeuvre, however, this isn’t always possible. If you find yourself performing a parallel park on a busy road, do not panic. The examiner allows plenty of time for you to complete it, and you may find that other vehicles will wait for you.

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