This lesson emphasizes on Reverse parking/parallel parking and parking in the bay, where you park between two other cars. Reverse or parallel parking makes use of the vehicle’s manoeuvrability in reverse gear. This exercise enables drivers to make use of parking spaces that cannot be driven into. All the skills required to reverse park are the same which are used while reversing and turning he car in the road. To prevent damage to the vehicle, drivers must avoid any temptation to turn the steering wheel while the vehicle is stationary.

The necessary skills are;

1. The POM/MSM routine when moving off at the start of the reverse

2. The manoeuvring skills involving use of clutch and gas pedal or just the brake pedal in coordination with the steering.

3. Using the reverse gear.

It is important to turn in the seat so as to see properly through the rear window while reversing.

Reverse Parking

Under Control

Co-ordination of the foot controls with the steering

Not Reversing

Too fast

Excessively slowly


Correctly Steering for intended course


hitting or mounting the kerb

being too far from or close to the kerb or parked car

With Observation

Where to look

Before reversing

While manoeuvring


Sensibly on whats seen (MSM)


Below are some of the important things to remember while learning the parallel parking technique;

 The importance of using the POM/MSM (Prepare Observe Manoeuvre/Mirror Signal Manoeuvre) routines.

 Control : co-ordinating the foot controls with steering and not reversing too fast or too slowly

 Accuracy: in completing the exercise within two car lengths from the parked vehicle in front and parallel to the kerb.

 Observation: before starting the reverse, during the reverse, at the point of turn and also while giving way to other drivers, cyclists and pedestrians where necessary.

To practise this exercise choose somewhere quiet and you need only one parked car (reverse parking). When you are confident enough go on to use two cars parked no less than two car lengths apart (parallel parking). Before moving away and pulling up alongside the parked car to start the exercise, remember to make sure there is no traffic around and ensure the MSM routine is followed.

Reverse parking behind one parked car: This exercise can be divided into four stages as below;

1. Starting to reverse -

 Begin in a straight position, level with and no more than a metre (3 feet) from the lead stationary vehicle.

 POM routine –

Preparation: Select reverse gear as part of the preparation.

Observation: The reversing lights will inform drivers that approach from the rear of your intention. Signal left if it will help another driver. Consider brake lights to confirm that you are waiting for any vehicle to pass if safe. After the normal observations watch to make sure that you look mainly over the left shoulder to the rear and include forward glances.

2. Starting to steer left-

 Manoeuvre – When the rear of your car is in level with the rear of the stationary vehicle, start to steer left so that the car moves slowly.

3. Steering to the right –

 When the car is nearly half way in (that is when the steering wheel aligns slightly with the rear of the lead stationary car) steer quite briskly to the right.

 Observation: Check the danger of clipping the stationary lead vehicle. Glances in the nearside mirror are permitted, but should not be at the expense of looking to the side or through the rear window. Use a sight line with the offside of the lead stationary vehicle to assist accuracy.

4. Straightening the steering wheels –

 As your car comes close to the kerb, steer left and finish with the wheels straight.

Parallel parking between two parked cars: Start by practicing parking behind one parked car first. To do this manoeuvre, you will need a parking space of at least one and a half times the length of your car.

Drive forward past the empty space and use the footbrake to stop parallel to the car on your left hand side. Don’t stop more than a metre from the car as you may cause greater obstruction than necessary. Press your foot down on the clutch and select reverse gear, then lightly press down on the accelerator and raise the clutch close to the biting point. Check all round for other road users, look over your left shoulder through the rear window. If the way is clear, drive back very slowly. Watch for the rear corner of the car to your left in your rear side window. When you can see it, check all around and if safe turn the steering wheel to the left one full turn. Check the road both ways and then continue reversing very slowly at an angle into the space. When the front of your car is aligned with the rear bumper of the car in front, turn the steering wheel fully to the right, which will swing your car towards the kerb. Using clutch and


brake controls slow the car right down, straighten the steering a little as you do so. You should be close to the kerb, but if not, you can move forwards and backwards to get it right. You will get a feel for how close you should be the more you practice. Avoid letting your tyres touch the kerb and don’t steer while stationary, as this is bad for your tyres and steering.

Below are some tips to remember while practising this manoeuvre;

1. Adapt the method for reverse parking behind one parked car.

2. To help judge when the car is half-way in, the offside of the car should be lined up with the near-side headlamp of stationary car behind your parking space.

3. Don’t allow the rear nearside tyres to touch the kerb or be too far out. Instead, it is better to move forwards and then backwards again to correct any errors or straighten the car up.

4. Focal points inside the car can help achieve an accurate manoeuvre. It shouldn’t be necessary to use in-car markers such as matchsticks or sticky labels to denote a focal point in the rear or side windows.

5. Site lines or reference points outside the car help judgement of the cars position.

6. It is usually necessary to use mirrors as an aid when reversing, so glances, such as in the nearside mirror are necessary and acceptable.

Bay Parking: Bay parking is an essential practical skill at the end of any journey. As with reverse parking behind a car, this exercise makes use of the vehicles manoeuvrability in reverse gear. On test it may be assessed at the start or end of the assessment where the Centre has parking bays. All the skills required to bay park have been learnt whilst reverse parking.

The necessary skills are;

4. The POM/MSM routine – ability to combine safe observation with good co-ordination of all the cars controls. Accurately parking in the square between the lines in one bay.

Bay Parking

Under Control

Co-ordination of the foot controls with the steering

Not Manoeuvring

Too fast

Excessively slowly


Correctly Steering for intended course

Equal positioning between the lines

Without Risk of

being too close to a wall or fence nehind the car

With Observation

Where to look before reversing

Where to look while manoeuvring


Sensibly on whats seen (MSM)


Being able to carry this exercise out successfully demonstrates that the driver is totally familiar with the size and positioning of the vehicle. Bay parking a car isn’t difficult to master, it just needs enough practise using some simple techniques. Below three essential skills are required to successfully demonstrate this manoeuvre;

1. Vehicle control - co-ordinating the foot controls and steering.

2. Accuracy – knowing when and how much to steer to park the car.

3. Observation – being aware of any traffic including pedestrians.

Choose somewhere quiet where you won’t inconvenience others. Drive past the bay in the direction of the road. Select reverse gear. Check all around, including your blind spot, for obstructions and pedestrians. Then turn your steering wheel in the direction of the bay, reversing very slowly into the space. Keep looking all around as you reverse as well as glancing in your mirrors to check your position. Gradually straighten the steering. Park as neatly as possible with all your wheels within the lines. Press your foot down on the brake, apply the handbrake, and select neutral.


Frequently asked questions-

1. Where should you not park your vehicle?

You MUST NOT stop or park on:

 the carriageway or the hard shoulder of a motorway except in an emergency

 a pedestrian crossing, including the area marked by the zig-zag lines

 a clearway

 taxi bays as indicated by upright signs and markings

 an Urban Clearway within its hours of operation, except to pick up or set down passengers

 a road marked with double white lines, even when a broken white line is on your side of the road, except to pick up or set down passengers, or to load or unload goods

 a tram or cycle lane during its period of operation

 a cycle track

 red lines, in the case of specially designated ‘red routes’, unless otherwise indicated by signs. Any vehicle may enter a bus lane to stop, load or unload where this is not prohibited

Use off-street parking areas, or bays marked out with white lines on the road as parking places, wherever possible. If you have to stop on the roadside:

 do not park facing against the traffic flow

 stop as close as you can to the side

 do not stop too close to a vehicle displaying a Blue Badge: remember, the occupant may need more room to get in or out

Eco- safe tip : Always perform your manoeuvres with a warm engine, it is much more eco-friendly.

Food for thought – (You should give a think to the below and discuss this with your instructor)

What reference points could you use to help achieve an accurate manoeuvre?



Contents of this lesson are taken from:

DVLA – The Official Highway Code

Adi News Magazine

LDC Driving School’s YouTube videos

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