Reasons for failing a UK driving test: Reverse Parallel Parking

Hello I’m Chris. Parallel parking or reverse parking as it’s also known as can be a difficult manoeuvre to get right not only for new drivers but also ones with experience with some doing all they can to avoid it. Parallel parking also makes it into the official top 10 reasons for failing a driving test. So, we’re going to go through the most common problems and hopefully you can learn from them and improve your manoeuvre. If you have to parallel park on your driving test the examiner will say something similar to this… This is the reverse parking exercise, would you drive forward and stop alongside the car ahead. Then reverse in and park reasonably close and parallel to the kerb. Try to complete the exercise within about two car lengths. When reverse parking, you’ll steer left to get the back of the car near to the kerb and then steer right to get the front in. But if you steer right too late or too slowly then you’ll hit or mount the kerb. If you notice early enough that you might hit the kerb then steer more to the right. Or stop, observe, make sure it’s safe and bring the front of the car in driving forward. Finishing too far from the kerb can happen if you steer right too early or too quickly. Again, steer left to get the back of the car in but don’t steer right too soon or you’ll finish too far out. If you notice early enough, then steer more to the left to get the back in closer. If needed, observe, make sure it’s safe and drive forward to perfect the parking. It’s easy to let nerves get the better of you during the driving test and make mistakes that you wouldn’t normally do like steering the wrong way. I’m parallel with the other car. Steering right to get into a space on the left is never going to work and could lead to the front of your car hitting the other one. Parallel parking slowly and in control is essential. You’ll need good co-ordination of the gas, brake and if you’re driving a manual car then good clutch control. Don’t reverse like this! You might have to parallel park on a hill. Again, good use of the foot pedals and parking brake will be important to avoid rolling in a direction you don’t intend to go. If you’re driving a manual car and reversing uphill then make sure that you find the biting point before releasing the parking brake. You might be the best at controlling and parking the car but it’s no good unless you’re observing others and being safe. Have an all round check like you normally do before starting, including the blind spot. Don’t start the manoeuvre unless the road is clear. You don’t want to start only to immediately get in someones way. Observe all around, looking out of the rear window before reversing. Especially look out for pedestrians crossing the road behind and any cyclists approaching. Observe all around again before steering into the space. This is important as the front of your car is about to swing out. If you’re using the side mirror to help with parking then be careful not to stare at it. but continue to observe all around, especially the rear window. Stop if another road user approaches, if they stop, don’t wave them through but if it’s safe then continue to park but keep concentrating and don’t rush. Be careful not to endanger the other vehicle at any point of this manoeuvre. It’s good to start reasonably close to the other vehicle when you drive alongside it but don’t get too close. Stop too close and not only will you make your driving examiner feel very uncomfortable but it’ll be harder to manoeuvre around it and you could cause damage. Some new drivers struggle the front wheels once they’ve parked. With so much steering left, right, left, it’s easy to get confused. If you’re unsure then look out of the rear window which is where you should be looking most of the time and sense which direction the cars going. But don’t rely on what the steering wheel looks like as it might look straight but doesn’t mean the front wheels are. You’ll want to finish the parking with your car parallel to the kerb without the front or rear sticking out. If you really can’t get it right when reversing then observe all around to make sure it’s safe and drive forward but slowly to perfect it. On your driving test, you’ll be expected to reverse into a space of about two car lengths. If it’s not going to happen then again if needed, make sure it’s safe all around and pull forward to perfect the parking. That’s the end of our video on the common problems people have with parallel parking. Hope it helped. If you want to see one way of parallel parking then have a look at our other video, there’s a link in the description. Thanks a lot for watching, don’t forget to subscribe if you can as it helps us to make more videos. Keep safe on the road and see you on the next video.


  1. i can't say how thankful I am for all the effort you put into making these videos. i have my test next week on the 31st. Your videos have really helped me during my lessons.
    Thank you šŸ™‚

  2. 1 , 2 and 8 are the main mistakes for failing the practical test,but not very well explained neither any refference points given to get rid of them. Because in test examiner wants it to be done in first try , you wont get other chance to correct it

  3. Had my practical test today and passed first time thankfully! I had to do an emergency stop and parallel park. One tip for learning parallel parks is turning your steering wheel quite fast, I know you mentioned it in your first point but it usually goes un noticed and in my experience it helps a lot. These videos helped me so much, especially the roundabout video. Thank you!

  4. I pass my test but find parallel parking difficult. Can u make a video about parallel parking between 2 car with a realistic gap?

  5. Great video as always. Passed a year and a half ago but still watching!! Your videos were so helpful when learning how to drive. Thanks so much šŸ™‚

  6. Last week my lesson was perfect this week I did seven wheel spins in the rain (never been on the road in the wet) I burnt the clutch three times it spelt terrible I stalled twice and I was almost ran of the road by a HGV I pulled over and just cried. Why is it I book my test and suddenly I can't drive like a normal person. My instructor said I've gone back to be F1 sennas' daughter. I don't understand

  7. Hi i need help i bought a seat leon ecomotive 2010 and im starting to hate it as im having trouble driving it šŸ™ for example if im pullinh out of jucntion or at traffic lights it chugs ready to stall. I just ise first gear and biting point as thats what i did in my instructors car . šŸ™ i dont know what to especially hill starts on it , its going to be so hard, like when i tried to release hand brake it kept rolling back

  8. You're videos are awesome! Keep up the good work, you're helping so much people may God bless u!
    I used your videos to pass my test in June šŸ™‚ thought I'd come back and create a YouTube account and sub to your content :p

  9. hi, can you make video about reference point, when we should stop while parking, when we should turn, does our position is not to the right or too the left.

    soory my english not well šŸ˜€

  10. I passed my test today with 2 minors! I watched alot of your videos and it really helped me out. Thank you for making this channel for learners and uploading consistent, high quality content!

  11. Is it a sign that my instructor is bad if I've had 15 hours of driving lessons (currently feel very good to drive on my own) but have had no lessons learning manoeuvres?

  12. I got a problem. the kerb near my home bends and parallel parking is tricky. how do I park on a bending pavement reversing

  13. I have got parallel parking today during my test and I have passed it with 9 minors , my advises for those who are going to take their test soon , just treat it as another lesson that you will be having with your instructor , the test time are going faster than your lesson time. Take your time on any junctions, do not rush, wait until the road is clear and safe to merge, indeed you will feel really nervous during the test time, same to I my legs were shaking all the time during the test but just take a deep breath, keep calm and everything will be alright, good luck to everyone are are going for the test soon! Believe in yourself, you can do it !

  14. I know the driving test requires you to park within 2 car lengths but could you please please do a video about how to park in tighter spots where you don't have as much space

  15. My instructor tells me to straighten the car whilst stationery with the handbrake on which is dry steering will that be allowed on test

  16. I failed my test with 2 minors, got bloody unlucky with reverse parking, 1st reason mounting kerb, I did go over driverway exactly the same as shown in video, couldn't correct it sadly. Plus I did have two examiners, one was bloody manager or something what an unlucky day….

  17. Hi Chris, I have a questions…what if I hit the kerb several times during my practical test, Is it automatic serious fault?

  18. how far away is too far away? im struggling to find info about this online – trying to practise this manoeuvre at home and i'm consistently getting about a foot away – i don't know if that's acceptable or not and don't have a lesson for a few days

  19. Hi Chris, can you show me some video on Parallel/Reverse parking on Inclination/uphill with an automatic car like cvt. It will be very helpful.

  20. I did all the observations as you taught in my test last week, and try as slow clutch as my instructor told me, at the end of my test, my examiner told my instructor I was too slow and watch too much mirrors when i did my parallel parking

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