How to Reverse Park Your Car Like a Pro [Infographic]

How to Reverse Park Your Car Like a Pro [Infographic]
Image: iStock

Drivers who reverse parallel park their cars without even thinking about it are the target of my envy. For me, and others in a similar situation, it’s a prolonged nightmare where every turn of the wheel does the opposite of what you were expecting. Meanwhile, multiple bystanders are watching your attempts in a mixture of amusement and pity. To them I say, keep the snickering to yourself.

Fortunately, it’s possible to correct your shocking parking antics by following a few simple tips. This infographic explains how to pull off three types of parking on your first attempt, every time.

The trick is knowing when to turn and what to use for reference points while reversing. The infographic below from UK car dealership T W White & Sons explains how it’s done. (In short: line up the back of your car with the car you intend to park behind, then fully turn the wheel towards the curb and start reversing. Stop moving backwards when you see the right corner of the car behind you in the middle of your rear view mirror and turn the wheel away from the curb and finish reversing.)

In addition to reverse parallel parking, the graphic also contains tips on front and reverse bay parking. Practice with some Tonka toys and then hit the nearest car park to try out your new skills.

[Via T W White & Sons]

This story has been updated since its original publication.


  • I mean, you should never turn your wheel while the car is not moving, it’s not good for it. A slight movement back or forward while you turn is much better.

      • You scrub the tires more when you are not moving, try doing it on your grass at home and see how much damage it does. Mostly though, moving the car slowly while steering is a throwback from when power steering was in far fewer vehicles, now though, it’s pretty ubiquitous.

        • Doing it stationary also puts more strain on the moving parts as there’s more exertion involved for the car, power steering or no, than when the wheels are in motion, creating wear and tear faster :). Not by a large amount, but every bit counts ^_^

        • More important is that the steering mechanism suffers greater stress when turning the wheels when stationary.

      • I was taught that turning the steering wheel while stationary creates spots on the tires that make them wear out quicker.

    • please think about what you have said. how many times do you reverse park, where you need to turn the wheels while the car is stationary compared too how many times you turn the wheels while the car is moving on the road, and going forward. very very few in comparison.

      so then the DAMAGE you claim is really minute. additionally we are not talking about the car mechanism being made of, say wood which would wear awar quickly. the mechanisms are made from steel, and hardened wear resistant steel at that. aslo they are lubricate with lubricant. so really any damage you suppose is soooo minute as to be not of consequence.

  • Parallel parking should be taught as part of car control, as it was in the past, in order to obtain a driving licence, much easier with an automatic gearbox, although many drivers cannot park correctly in a simple ‘front-forward’ car park bay.

    • I can’t speak for other states, but here in SA it’s a requirement to get your P1s (and the current bane of my existance!)

  • Next lessons – ‘how to handle roundabouts’, ‘when to use indicators’, ‘how to drive at an even speed’ and of course ‘why driving too close to the car in front is bad’.

      • how come? i was always confused by this (more recently introduced comparitively) rule and thought the car on the right of a two lane roundabout was about to cut in front of me.

  • Having recently spoken to an ex driving instructor, it seems madness how easily some incompetent people get a drivers licence. The instructor told me that often the parents of ‘young Jimmy’ put pressure on the instructors to just pass their kid.
    He said that even though the learner was not progressing in their driving, the parents would get angry they are paying lots of money and the kid is still needing lessons, so the instructors would just pass the kid to take the easy way out.

    • Those instructors should be informed when their badly trained students end up causing accidents where other people are hurt.

      As in ‘Look at the hurt and damage your laziness, cowardice and incompetency caused! Your name has been given to the families of those hurt / killed. Don’t be surprised if they hold you responsible’.

    • That ex driving instructor I’m glad if they conceded and passed those types of drivers. I actually helped get a driving school in my towns license revoked after they passed my sister without doing an official test because they couldn’t be bothered anymore. Unfortunately couldn’t also get sisters license revoked as well. In 5 years has caused 5 minor accidents and a major. Her car has 27 unique dents scrapes and scratches.

      We need legislation to remove licenses from bad drivers. But as long as you’re sober when you crash into people to get a free pass it seems.

  • Reverse parking should still be part of the driving test, which I wrote here ages ago and I have seen many failed attempts by an SUV driver to reverse park, along with several attempts to park between vehicles in a car park.
    Hopefully the coming changes will have learners passing a test to prove 100% concentration, vehicle control in all conditions, not just learning to go and stop..!!

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