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How to Parallel Park

Parallel parking is probably the trickiest reversing manoeuvre that you will need to learn for your driving test. Follow these simple steps and you will be able to perform the perfect parallel park.

If you get this manoeuvre in your test, your examiner will ask you to pull up on the side of the road in a location where there will be a parked car in front of you. They will then ask you to perform a parallel park behind the car. You have two car lengths in which to complete the manoeuvre.

Step 1

Pull up alongside the parked car between 0.5m and 1m from it with your door mirror level with the front of the car. Select reverse gear so that your reversing lights come on and other drivers can see what you are doing.

Diagram for starting point of parallel park
Door mirror with front of parked car

Step 2

Look all around the car to make sure it’s clear. If there is a car approaching then make eye contact with the driver and confirm whether the approaching car will wait or go past. When its clear, reverse straight until the back of your car is just past the back of the parked car. Line up the back of the parked car with your back seat. Look through the back window whilst reversing.

Diagram of parallel park prior to first turn
Align back of parked car with back seat

Step 3

Look all around the car again, particularly over the front right corner since as you start your turn, the front of your car will swing out into the road. If all is clear then turn the steering wheel one turn to the left fast as you continue reversing slowly. Keep reversing until the reflection of your door handle in the door mirror is just on the pavement. At this point, your car will be at an angle of 45 degrees to the kerb.

Diagram of parallel parking - 45 degrees to the kerb
View in door mirror of door handle just on the pavement

Step 4

Turn the steering wheel two turns to the right fast as you continue to reverse slowly. There is likely to be a camber in the road towards the kerb, so make sure the car does not speed up as it goes downhill. Continue reversing until the reflection in the door mirror shows your car parallel to the kerb. Before the car comes to a halt turn the steering wheel one turn to the left.

During this step, if you are heading too close to the kerb, turn the steering wheel to the right; if you are heading too far from the kerb, turn the steering wheel to the left.

Diagram of parallel park final position
View in door mirror showing car parallel to the kerb

If you have finished more than two car lengths from the parked car, then drive forward a little.

Maintain good all-around observation throughout the manoeuvre. If any pedestrian or car approaches, stop and wait until clear before continuing. Don’t rush. Take your time.