Learning how to park a car is one of the most important skills for anyone driving on the road, and as a driving test expert, I can show you everything you need to know. In this guide, we’ll explore different types of parking methods that you need to know to know not only for the driving test but for every day you are on the road.
How to Park a Car : Reverse Bay Parking
Reverse bay parking is used in car parks where drivers reverse their vehicle into a parking space. This method is safer and generally better because it allows for better visibility when exiting the space, especially in busy car parks and its easier to get out the car park when you have been and done all your stressful shopping. The main problem with reverse bay parking is when you come back out of the shop with a trolley full of shopping the spaces are rarely designed to allow a trolley between the cars to get to the back of your car.
There are 2 main methods to reverse bay park. Here’s how you revers bay park using the 45 degree method in simple steps:
Drive towards the bay slowly, keeping a safe distance from the parked vehicles.
Signal your direction if there is anyone that would benefit from it. Check your mirrors and blind spots.
Position your car at a 45-degree angle from the parking space.
Begin reversing while turning the steering wheel towards the space.
Use your mirrors and look over your shoulder to check you are entering the bay accurately while keeping an eye out for other people.
Straighten your wheels once your vehicle is within the lines of the parking space.
Continue reversing until your car is fully inside the bay, then pop the handbrake and neutral and you are finished congratulations.
How to Park a Car : Forward Bay Parking
Forward bay parking is probably the most common technique used in car parks in the UK, where drivers enter a parking space front-first. While this is typically easier for new drivers, it can be harder when leaving the space because now you have to try not to hit anything while reversing out of a busy car park. If you have the option driving through a forward bay is normally the safest option provided its safe to do so.
There are lots of ways to forward bay park but here is one that I always use to teach my learners to drive. Here’s how to do forward bay parking:
Slowly drive towards the parking space while maintaining a safe distance from other vehicles.
Signal your plan to park and check your mirrors and blind spots.
Position your car 90 degrees to the parking space.
Turn your steering wheel fully towards the space and then begin to drive forward very slowly.
As you enter the bay begin looking ahead at an object to decide when you are straight then begin straightening your wheels.
Continue moving forward until your car is fully inside the space, then apply the handbrake and neutral and well done.
How to Park a Car : Parallel Parking
Parallel parking is a method where drivers park their vehicle parallel to the road basically in line wit the road, between two other parked cars. This technique is essential for street parking in busy urban areas such as towns and cities where not every house has a parking space.
Again there are lots of different ways to parallel park but I’m going to show you the example i always teach my learners. If you would like to see other examples check out the guide below. Follow these steps to get parallel parking like a pro:
Find a parking space that is at least 1.5 times the length of your car.
Signal your plan to park if theirs anyone about and check your mirrors and blind spots. If its for the driving test, or on a busy road check out the either guide below for more details.
Park your car parallel (next too) the vehicle in front of the space, keeping a safe distance of around 1 meter.
Turn your steering wheel 1 full turn towards the kerb and begin very slowly reversing backwards.
As your vehicle gets nears the kerb, turn the steering wheel away from the kerb and continue reversing.
Stop when your car is straight with the kerb, and apply the handbrake and neutral.
How to Park a Car : Angled Parking
Angled parking is a technique where vehicles are parked diagonally to the kerb, usually at a 45-degree angle. This is not that common in the UK but is sometimes found outside small shopping areas. The beauty of being able to park a car like this is it makes it easier to forward bay park into the bay and easier to reverse out of the bay. The problems with it are reverse bay parking from one direction is impossible and forward bay parking from the wrong direction make it very difficult. To do an angled park check this step by step guide out:
Approach the parking space slowly, keeping a safe distance from other vehicles.
Signal your plan to park and check your mirrors and blind spots.
Position your car at a 45-degree angle to the parking space.
Turn your steering wheel towards the space and drive forward while looking at and object at the and of your bay or further ahead from the front of your bay.
Use your mirrors and look over your shoulder to ensure you are entering the bay accurately.
Straighten your wheels as your vehicle enters the bay.
Continue moving forward until your car is fully inside the space, then apply the handbrake and select neutral.
How to Park a Car : Safety in Car Parks
Car parks can be busy places, making safety really important for both drivers and people when trying to park a car. Keep these tips in mind when parking in a car park:
Always drive slowly around car park to give you the reaction time you need in case a child or person runs out from between cars..
Be aware of people everywhere, especially children, who may be difficult to see behind parked vehicles
Use your indicators to signal your plan to other drivers if there is someone waiting to it might help them in some way.
Be patient with other people and drivers searching for spaces or exiting their parking spots. In can sometimes get frustrating with how slow someone seems to be taking but we are all in the same boat so don’t rock it.
Parking on the Side of the Road
There are times when you may need to pull over on the side of the road and park. A really important time for doing this is the UK driving test. Check these out below:
Try to park in the direction of traffic flow, with your wheels straight. In the UK you can park opposite to traffic but if its at night you are supposed to have your parking lights on especially on 50 mph or above roads.
Make sure you are parked at least 3 car lengths from a junction and you are not blocking a driveway.
Check for any parking restrictions or signs that stop you from parking in the area such as double yellow lines, single yellow lines and pay to park.
If parking on a hill, turn your wheels towards the kerb to prevent your car from rolling into traffic if the handbrake fails.
Parking with Trailers or Large Vehicles
Parking a vehicle with a trailer or a large vehicle like a van or a lorry can be very difficult due to the massive size, weight, and reduced visibility. Here are some tips and guidelines for parking with trailers or large vehicles:
Practice in an empty car park or quiet location you know of: Before attempting to park with a trailer or a large vehicle in a busy area, practice in an empty car park to familiarize yourself with the vehicle’s size, turning point, and blind spots
Use your mirrors: Large vehicles and trailers often have reduced rear visibility, making your side mirrors extremely important for parking. Adjust your mirrors to provide the best possible view of your surroundings and always double-check your blind spots.
Allow extra space: When parking with a trailer or large vehicle, Make sure you give yourself extra space to turn. This may mean waiting for a larger parking spot to become available or parking further away from your destination to find a suitable space.
Use a spotter if necessary: If you have difficulty seeing the parking space or other obstacles, ask a passenger or a passer-by to act as a spotter, providing guidance and ensuring you park safely.
Take your time: Parking with a trailer or large vehicle requires patience and precision. Take your time, make small adjustments, and don’t rush it.
Reversing with a trailer: When reversing with a trailer, remember that the trailer will move in the opposite direction of your steering input. To reverse in a straight line, place your hand at the bottom of the steering wheel and move it in the direction you want the trailer to go.
Use wheel chocks: For added safety when parking on an incline, use wheel chocks on the trailer or large vehicle to prevent any surprise movement.