Reverse parallel parking is an essential driving manoeuvre that is a part of the practical driving test. To pass their test, learners must successfully perform at least two of the following manoeuvres:
- Reverse parallel park
- Hill start
- Reversing exercise
- Turn around
- Automatic gear change
Surprisingly, even experienced drivers often struggle with this manoeuvre. The existence of automatic reverse parking functions in some vehicles highlights the difficulty many face with this task. However, relying on technology is not an option during a driving test; drivers must know how to execute it manually.
Learners should regularly practice their driving manoeuvres to prepare for the unexpected challenges that may arise during the test and to become proficient drivers once they earn their P-plates.
Four steps to help drivers master the art of reverse parallel parking:
- Choose the car in front of the desired parking space as a reference point. Position your vehicle about half a meter to one meter away from it, aligning the vehicle’s front wheel with your left side mirror.
- Engage the reverse gear, and check your mirrors and blind spots for any approaching vehicles or pedestrians. Then, turn your gaze over your left shoulder to initiate the manoeuvre.
- Gradually reverse straight back until the car beside you appears in the centre of your left-hand rear window. Then, while maintaining a slow speed, quickly turn the steering wheel to full lock, causing the rear end of your car to head toward the curb.
- Once your left-hand side mirror aligns with the bumper of the other vehicle, and your car is at approximately a 45-degree angle to the curb, begin turning the steering wheel to the right. Continuously assess the clearance to the car in front of you as you reverse until you achieve a parallel position within 45 centimetres of the curb. Remember to leave at least 1-2 meters of space between your car and the vehicles in front and behind.
By following these steps diligently and practicing regularly, drivers can master the reverse parallel parking manoeuvre and enhance their overall driving skills.
Don’t get discouraged if the manoeuvre is not perfected on the first few attempts. Instead, learners should restart the steps from the beginning and continue until it becomes second nature.