Reverse Parking Exercise

As traffic volume increases on the roads, you will definitely find parking places tough to find at times. There will be many times when you will need to use reverse gear to fit into a parking space between two vehicles that is inaccessible in a forward gear. Although reverse gear has more manoeuvrability, try not to attempt the impossible! You need a gap of at least one – and – a half times your vehicles length. The following information describes one possible method and is intended as a guideline.

Exercise Stages

On finding a suitable gap:


Check all your mirrors to decide if there is any traffic behind you well before slowing down. Remember, what you see behind can go a long way to determining what you will do about the road ahead. If someone is following you very closely, you may need to carry on, or signal left very early before slowing, or slow very gradually to give the driver behind time to react.


If there is traffic behind, generally it is best to give a left signal to warn you intend to stop on the left.


Now pull up alongside the vehicle leading the gap. Aim to be about a bonnet’s length past it, and about an arm’s length away from it’s side.


Okay, now it’s time to select reverse gear and then prepare accordingly – will you be reversing uphill, downhill or on the level? When reverse is selected a white reverse warning light/s illuminates on the rear of the vehicle.


Look all round really carefully, and give way to any traffic, or pedestrians who could be affected by your vehicle reversing.. Remember, the vehicle reversing would be the one causing the hazard.


Now certain it is clear to move, release the handbrake and manoeuvre back in a straight line until the rear of your car is just slightly past the rear of the “target” vehicle. At this point – known as the “point of turn” – stop to look all round again. If you are sure it’s safe, steer 1 revolution to the left as you move slowly. The front of your vehicle will now begin to “swing” out, so keep checking around in case you need to stop. As your car nears an angle of about 45 degrees to the kerb, it will be time to steer back to the right until the front of the vehicle begins to slowly “swing” in towards the kerb. Just before the vehicle arrives parallel to the kerb straighten the front wheels by taking some of the right “lock” off. Once stopped, apply the handbrake and select neutral.

Normally, this exercise takes a bit of practice, and your “Really Good” driving instructor will be able to offer you various tips and guides to make the manoeuvre easier.