To know and understand how to safely reverse park your car at the side of the road or park in a car park.


To know the skills required to be able to safely park your car in these situations.


  • To be able to park your car safely and with consideration for others

  • To be able to use car parks

On your driving test:

On test: Parking

Assessment criteria: Parking

Driving Examiner Guidance: Parking


Every time you take a car out you will finish with a parking manoeuvre. This may be a simple pull over at the side of the road or it could be more involved.

Parking sign

When parking in any tight space make sure you move the car under full control with lots of looking.

At low speed how fast the car moves will be decided by 3 things:

  • How high up you bring the clutch

  • How much gas you give

  • The slope of the road

Balancing these 3 things will take a bit of practice.

Because this sort of parking is normally in a tight space keeping a good look out is important. Have a good look around to make sure no one is in your way. Keep an eye on your side mirrors. This will tell you how close you are to things like the kerb or the lines of the bay you are parking in. As you go back also make sure you have a look behind you through the rear windscreen.

Reverse Parking.

Lady taking effective observation when parking

Sometimes known as parallel parking this allows you to reverse into a smaller space than you could drive into. Make sure the space is big enough, so at least 1.5 car lengths.

Stop along side the car you are parking behind and about one arm’s length away from it. Steer the back in, then the front. As with all manoeuvres keep it slow so that you have time to look and steer. Use your passenger side mirror to help you judge where the kerb is. Moving slowly will give you time to correct anything if you make a mistake.

Remember the front will swing out when you back in. So good all round observation is important. Always look out for passing traffic, oncoming traffic and pedestrians.

Car Parks.

Southsea car park opp. Queens Hotel

Always follow signs and markings in car parks and only drive in the correct direction. Keep your speed low when driving around a car park. Remember children can appear from anywhere.

Generally you are better off parking under a lamp post rather than a tree. Parking where you can be seen is much better from a safety point of view. If the car park is covered put your lights on so others can see you more easily.

You will usually need to park with other vehicles on each side of you. Check that the parking space has enough room to park safely and that you will have enough room to open your doors safely. Always try to park in the centre of the space. This is so the people in the cars next to you will be able to get into their car.

In a car park, it is usually best to reverse into a parking space. This gives you a better view when you later drive away. Some large companies insist that everyone backs into a space. So that if there is an emergency evacuation everyone is driving in the same direction to get out.

When you need access to the boot such as when you are doing a big shop. Parking forwards into a space is a better option. If you have parked forwards then take care when reversing out. As pedestrians and other vehicles may pass behind you and they are harder to see.

The trick with bay parking is to give yourself enough room to either drive in or back in.


When parking your car always be observant and look out for other road users and pedestrians.

Use your Mirror, Signal, Manoeuvre routine.

Always park with consideration for others – do not park too closely to others and do not cause an obstruction.

When in car parks always follow the directional signs and be aware of pedestrians.

Make sure you know where you can legally park your car and where you should not park.

You should know how to:

  • Reverse park into a space.

  • Use a car park

Further Reading:

The Highway Code Rule(s): 202, 238-252

Driving The Essential Skills: Section(s) 9