How to reverse park a car

Written by kathryn hatter
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How to reverse park a car
Reverse park a car between one or two other cars. (city parking image by robert mobley from Fotolia.com)

In England drivers call it reverse parking, and in the United States drivers call it parallel parking. Whatever you call this manoeuvre, many drivers choose to avoid it, if possible, believing it is too difficult to execute successfully. Reverse parking is a common portion of many standard driving tests, so all beginning drivers should spend time learning the parking process and becoming comfortable with how to reverse park a car.

Skill level:
Moderately Easy

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Instructions

  1. 1

    Select a parking spot that is at least 3 feet longer than your car so that you can fit your car into the space. Spaces with a car to the front and the back or only in the front are suitable for reverse parking.

  2. 2

    Slow your speed when you see a parking spot. Signal your intention to park by activating your blinker in the appropriate direction.

  3. 3

    Stop your car so it is even with the car parked to the front of the parking spot. Make sure your car is approximately 3 feet away from the front car with your back bumpers even.

  4. 4

    Look behind you (both with your mirrors and over your shoulder) for other vehicles and pedestrians, then place your car in reverse.

  5. 5

    Continue watching from all sides while you slowly let up on the brake pedal. Turn the steering wheel hard to the right as the car begins to move backward. Keep checking on all sides of the car as you move backward slowly.

  6. 6

    Move the car backward until you are approximately halfway into the parking space.

  7. 7

    Turn the steering wheel back to the left at this point and continue moving the car backward. The car should straighten and align into the parking space. Keep backing up until you are within approximately 1 foot of the car to the back then stop the car.

  8. 8

    Place the car in drive and move the car forward slowly to centre it in the parking space. Adjust the steering back toward the right slightly, if necessary, to straighten the car in the space.

Tips and warnings

  • If you hit the curb when you are reversing into the parking space, place the car in drive and pull back out of the parking space 3 to 4 feet. Place the car back in reverse and this time turn the steering wheel to the left sooner to avoid the curb.

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