Keeping you up to speed
If you are ever feeling a bit down, you only have to look on the internet for YouTube videos of people trying to reverse park their cars and you’ll soon be cheered up. There are dozens of hugely funny films of people spending up to half an hour trying to get their car into a space that a bus could get into comfortably.
But we shouldn’t laugh; if you haven’t been properly taught how to reverse park, then it is not as easy as some people make it look. So how should you go about reverse parking, and are there any hints and tips that will help you avoid your own place in internet infamy?
Reverse parking, or parallel parking as it is sometimes called, is all about position. Unless you get the starting point, the angle and the turning points right, you can easily end up hitting the kerb, scraping your precious alloys or even hitting the vehicles in front or behind you.
Of course, before you start reverse parking, it is important to check that the space is actually big enough in the first place. You should pull up alongside the space and make sure that it is long enough to allow a couple of feet either end of your car. As you get better at reverse parking, this margin for error can be reduced, but you will always need some extra space for the manoeuvre.
Once you have picked an appropriate space, just follow these four easy steps and you should be able to get your car in smoothly and simply:
1. Pull alongside the vehicle in front and stop, checking the road around you to ensure that your manoeuvre will be safe.
2. Begin reversing until your back bumper is level with the back of the vehicle and turn your wheel to the left until you are reversing at a 45 degree angle to the kerb. (If you are not sure of the angle, look in your right wing mirror and aim the corner of your car at the middle of the car behind).
3. As your back wheel approaches the kerb, turn your wheel to the right to straighten up your car.
4. As your car becomes parallel with the kerb, straighten your wheels. You may need to pull slightly forwards if you are too close to the car behind.
If at any point you feel that you have misjudged the manoeuvre, you should always start again. Trying to correct your line half way through will just make things worse.
Trying to reverse park on a busy high street can be incredibly stressful, especially if a queue of watching traffic is building up behind you. So it can be well worth practicing first on a quiet side street to give yourself some confidence.
Of course, if all else fails, you can always buy a modern car with self-parking technology. This not only makes reverse parking easier, but will draw admiring looks from other motorists who will think you have reverse parked with consummate skill. Just remember to keep the windows closed so they can’t hear the beeping!