Reverse and parking are words that can strike fear in a learner driver. Even drivers that passed their test decades ago can feel apprehensive at the thought of attempting reverse bay parking.
However, the idea that reverse parking is something to be feared by both learner drivers and experienced motorists is entirely unfounded. In fact, learning how to reverse park with ease is one of the handiest skills to develop in your driving lessons.
Once you have passed your test and are out on the road alone, you will be glad that you mastered the technique of reverse parking because it makes life so much easier.
What is 90 degree parking?
Before we dive straight into giving you all the tips you need to reverse park like a pro, it is important to clarify just what is meant by 90 degree parking. Just as it says on the tin, 90 degree parking is when you position your vehicle at a 90 degree angle before reversing it into a parking bay.
Why do I need to know how to park from a 90 degree angle?
Wondering why you need to learn how to reverse park at a 90 degree angle? Have you ever been in a multi-storey car park with someone that will do anything to avoid reverse parking into a bay?
They probably drove around and around the car park looking for an easy space that they could drive straight into until you were both dizzy (and probably feeling rather fed up). But, what happens when they finally find that easy to drive into space?
Well, when you return to the car they are going to need to attempt to reverse out of that space, which is likely to be a lot harder and take a lot longer than if they had reversed into it in the first place.
From a safety point of view, reverse parking is often the better option. When you 90 degree park you should have clearer visibility of what is around you.
Conversely, when you reverse out of a space your view may be obstructed by cars parked alongside you, and you may need to continually stop the manoeuvre to allow other cars to pass/
How to reverse bay park at a 90 degree angle
So, now you know why reverse parking is a useful skill, it is time to learn how to do it. The steps that you follow to reverse park are actually pretty simple, as shown below:
Remember to reduce your speed in the car park so that you can be vigilant for pedestrians and other motorists, and so that you can look for a suitable space.
When you spot a parking bay consider whether your car will fit into the space, and whether you will be able to open your doors enough to get in and out and without obstructing the vehicles alongside you.
Don’t forget to check your mirrors and look around for other road users and pedestrians before you start to position your vehicle.
Drive past the empty parking bay and position your car at a 90 degree angle.
Continue to check your mirrors, blind spot, and all around you and lookout for vehicles and pedestrians as you put your car into reverse gear.
Reverse your car until the rear passenger window is level with the white line of the parking bay.
Check around you to ensure that it is safe to move and then turn the steering wheel into the full lock position. If you are reversing from the left-hand side of the space, turn the wheel full lock to the left-hand side, if you are reversing from the right-hand side of the space, you will need to turn it full lock to the right.
Keeping your speed down as you reverse, manoevre your car smoothly into the space.
Straighten up the steering wheel as you reverse to ensure that your car sits parallel between the two white lines of the parking bay.
If your angle is a little off, don’t worry. Simply check around you to make sure that it is safe to do so and edge forwards slightly, before slowly reversing back straightening the wheel as you move.
Practise makes perfect
As you can see, 90 degree parking is nothing to worry about, and mastering this motoring skill will make life on the road far easier for you in the long term. Keep practising and you will be reverse parking like a pro in no time.