Lesson 1, Topic 1
In Progress

Parallel Parking

On this lesson, you will learn about the Parallel Park manoeuvre. You will cover:

  • why you need to perform this manoeuvre
  • how to perform the manoeuvre
  • how to deal with other road users

The most important parts of reversing are:

  1. Good observations
  2. Good speed control
  3. Be accurate

What is Parallel Parking?

Parallel Parking is to park your vehicle parallel to the kerb, and in a gap between two vehicles already parked.

You will probably start to learn this manoeuvre using only one car, but you must finish within 2 car lengths as if you have a car behind.

Why Parallel Park?

You need much less space to reverse into a parking gap, than you need to drive forwards into it.

It is also easier to manoeuvre the car into the gap.

How to do a Parallel Park

There are several techniques for performing this manoeuvre. It is not essential to use reference points, but it can be a helpful way to learn how to do it. You must get your own reference points in your own vehicle.

PLEASE NOTE: Target vehicle is the car you want to park behind

Point A – Starting Position

Pull up alongside the target vehicle, parallel to the kerb and about 1 metre away from it.

Drive slightly past the car.


Your left side door mirror lined up with the end of the target vehicle

Point B – Reversing to Point of Steer

You will use the P O M routine

PREPARE the car to move – select reverse gear, set gas and bite

Selecting reverse gear will activate the reversing lights at the rear of the car. Other road users now know what you intend to do. Other ways to inform other road users are:

  • Apply your brakes so your brake lights are activated
  • Signal
  • Eye contact

OBSERVE – check all around, including both blind spots. Look out of the rear window before starting to move.

MOVE – release the handbrake and reverse straight back

Move very slowly (walking pace) and keep checking all around.

If a car or pedestrian approaches, pause and let them pass.

Reverse until your rear wheels are at least in line with the other end of the target vehicle.


Your left side rear door handle lined up with the other end of the target vehicle.

Point C – Steering to a 45 degree angle

You are now at your point of steer.

Pause and check all around, including your right blind spot.

Moving very slowly, steer full lock left.

The front of the car will start to move out in the road.

Keep moving until the car has reached a 45 degree angle (think about a clock face, a 45 degree angle is when you clock would be in between 5 past and ¼ past the hour).

As you get to this angle check in your left door mirror. Keep moving extremely slowly until you reach your reference point in the door mirror.

Straighten the steering.


The back of the passenger side door handle lines up with the edge of the kerb

Point D – Finishing the manoeuvre

At this point the rear wheels of your car are quite close to the kerb.

You do not want to hit or brush the kerb

Gradually steer full lock right as you move towards the kerb.

Steering too slowly will take you too close to the kerb. Steering too quickly and you will finish too far from the kerb. You need to time the steering well. This part takes the most practice, but gets easier over time.

Just as the kerb becomes parallel with the side of the car, keep moving very slowly and quickly straighten the steering.

You are aiming to be between a tyres width and a steering wheels width away from the kerb.


Look in the left door mirror for the kerb and the side of the car to become parallel.

Correcting the manoeuvre

You must not hit the kerb while performing this manoeuvre during your test.

It’s easy to know that you are about to hit the kerb by looking in your left door mirror, especially if you have a blind spot mirror fitted.

(Blind spot mirrors are very useful for manoeuvring and can be purchased very cheaply and stuck onto your door mirror easily)

If you think you will hit the kerb stop the car, move forwards and steer left until your rear wheels are further away from the kerb. Then continue reversing to finish the manoeuvre.

Always move the car very slowly, then if you do get too close to the kerb you will realise before you hit it.

Important Points

1. The most important aspects of any manoeuvre are:

  • Effective observation
  • Good control
  • Accuracy

Accuracy is not as important as effective observations and good control.

2. You should always move the car very slowly when reversing, and give other road users priority.

3. When steering, the car should be moving. Don’t steer while the car is not moving. This is known as ‘dry steering’ and can cause damage to the tyres and steering mechanism.

4. Do not signal while reversing. Your reverse lights will inform drivers behind what you intend to do.

5. Look back when driving back! Don’t rely on mirrors only. You can see more distance behind and to the sides when you turn around and look back.

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