Dun dun dunnnnn! 😱
It’s the most-feared of all the driving test manoeuvres: the parallel park.
Even drivers who passed their tests many years ago often avoid this form of parking. However, learning how to parallel park needn’t be a nightmare, and with practice, you’ll be slipping into the tightest space with confidence. Here’s how it all works 👇
During the driving test, your examiner will ask you to perform three manoeuvres, which will be randomly chosen from a list. Here’s a quick rundown of what you should expect.
Mirrors, signal, manoeuvre
Although not an actual manoeuvre in itself, you should remember to do this before, during and after any tasks.
Pulling over and driving away
During your test, the examiner may ask you to pull over and pull away. This manoeuvre could take several forms, including:
Also known as a controlled stop, your examiner will give you plenty of warning if he wishes you to perform an emergency stop.
You may be asked to reverse your vehicle for one or more of the three test manoeuvres. These can be a little trickier than the others.
It’s a Saturday afternoon and you need to do the big shop. When you’re at that packed car park and have the confidence to slot into a space, you’ll have this manoeuvre to thank!
There are two forms of bay parking, and your examiner could ask for either:
Pull up on the right and reverse
If this is one of the examiner’s selected manoeuvres, you’ll be asked to pull up on the right-hand side of the road and reverse for approximately two car lengths. Then you’ll rejoin the flow of traffic.
Parallel park at the side of the road
When parking on roads where space is at a premium, there often isn’t room to drive forwards into a spot. Parallel parking allows you to fit into spaces that are only a fraction longer than your car.
We’ve got a full step-by-step guide on how to parallel park below!
The trick with parallel parking is to steer quickly and reverse slowly, to use your mirrors and watch those blind spots. It sounds complicated, but after some practice you’ll wonder what you were worrying about!
Here’s our step-by-step guide to parallel parking:
Do you fail your driving test if you mess up the parallel park?
During your practical driving test, your test examiner will assess how you control the car, observe and react to other road users, as well as how you obey the various road signs and markings.
You’ll pass your test if you have:
You may not even have to parallel park in your driving test. The three manoeuvres selected are random, so there’s a decent chance you won’t get asked.
Whilst carrying out the parallel park, your examiner will be looking out for you:
You may earn yourself a minor fault if you fail to observe everything around you or if you bump the curb.
If you hit one of the parked cars, another vehicle, or a pedestrian, this counts as a major fault and, consequently, a test fail.
Practice makes perfect, and if you’re taking lessons from an approved driving instructor, it can really help to get extra hours behind the wheel.
Providing you have learner driver insurance in place, it’s a great idea to ask a family member to supervise your practice - it’ll save you money on lessons, too.
Cuvva’s learner insurance can be used for 6 hours a day - perfect for nailing those manoeuvres.
Whatever you’re after, you can get a quote in minutes.