Reverse parking into a parking stall can be mastered by using reference points.

Blind spots when driving in reverse

The vehicle blind spots page on this site shows just how far you can't see near the ground behind your vehicle. It is 30-45 feet back where drivers can start seeing the ground behind their vehicle.

A 3 foot child sitting on the ground would need to be at least 15-20 feet behind a car, and more behind a truck or van for the driver to just begin to see his head. This is why I teach students to walk around their car before reversing out of a drive way or parking stall. A rear view camera installed in your vehicle can prevent back up collisions that injure and kill many children every year. It's best to avoid reverse parking if possible

Perpendicular reverse parking

Backing into a parking stall ( normally one that is against the curb) is actually safer because your biggest blind spot is behind your vehicle. There is less chance small children will be in the stall you are backing into than in the isle of the parking lot you would back out of.

having said this, sometimes in a busy parking lot there are too many people and vehicles that make reverse parking in the stall a bit hazardous.

If you have a stall you can pull through, pull through to avoid backing.

Steps for reverse parking in a perpendicular stall

Step 1.

When you see the stall you want to back into, pull about three full stalls ahead of the one you are aiming for. Notice in the top pictures below, the mirror is slightly before the last line of the third stall ahead of the one you will back into.

However, the more accurate reference point will be looking over your shoulder in the back side window at the FIRST line of the stall you are backing into.

In the bottom pictures above, notice the first white line of the stall you are aiming for is toward the back half of the back side windows. It looks a bit closer up on the left side because it is closer to you. From the drivers position it will actually appear closer to the black divider of the smaller window than what it may look in the picture.

Step 2.
Once your vehicle is in this position, you are ready to turn the wheel fast in the direction of the stall as soon as you let your foot off the brake. (Controlling your speed with your brake).

In these pictures you can see the position of the vehicle tires before you start turning. Notice the back tire is near the center of the stall AHEAD of the one you are turning into just before you turn.

Though since you can't see the tire it's not easy to determine where that is without another reference point.

If you delay turning even for a couple seconds you will overshoot the stall. Likewise if you start turning before your tires are moving you will undershoot the stall. (provided you used the correct vehicle position)

Notice the Corolla is coming into the center of the
stall using this position.

Remember the two important rules when parking is move slow and turn fast. Also remember to always look behind when your car is moving in reverse.

Step 3.
Keep your wheels turned all the way left or right until you see your vehicle is straight with the lines of the stall.
By looking at any stationary object ahead, you will be able to tell when your car is straight.

You can see the vehicles in the pictures are parallel with the stall lines though the tires are still turned right. Turning the tires straight before you are even with the lines will bring you closer on the side of the stall opposite of the direction you were turning.

Turning after you are even with the lines will bring you closer to the stall line the direction you turned.

Step 4.
At this point you should be about half way in the stall as seen above. Bring your car to a near stop and check your side mirrors to see if you are coming inside the lines.

You may need to stretch your neck a little to do this because your mirrors should be positioned to see vehicles beside you more than the ground.

If you are only half way in the stall you should be able to see the lines and have enough room to adjust left or right if you are too close on one side.

(The further out of the stall you are, the better you can see the lines in your side mirrors).

In the pictures above you can see barely an inch of ground between the vehicle and the line. This lets you know you are in the center of the stall.

Some of my students think reverse parking is easier than head-in parking because they can use their side mirrors to help them in the stall.

Step 5.
Make sure you are in the stall without bumping the curb or parking stop.

when you are slowly backing in the stall once you are straight, look in the back side window. You can look through either window, however, looking over your right shoulder is easier.

In the pictures below you can see the parking stop is just forward of the center of the window on either side. This will let you know you are in the stall with the tires about 1-2 feet from the curb behind.

The other reference point you can use as seen in the two pictures on the bottom above, is looking for the side mirror to be about at the tip of the stall divider line on either side.

However, stall divider lines can vary in length so using the curb in back is more accurate.

Using these reference points when reverse parking in a perpendicular stall, your vehicle tires should be about 1-2 feet from the curb, without the rear of your car hanging over the curb as in the picture below.

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Angle reverse parking

Most reverse angle parking you might do will be toward the right side because you want the angle facing your vehicle the way you will be reversing into the stall.

In a one way angle parking isle that would only be to the right.In a two way parking isle if you backed in toward the left you would be aiming the wrong direction for going in and coming out.

Having said this, some cities have one way streets with angle parking on the left side, intended only for backing into, as in the picture below. This is when you would use reverse parking to the left in an angled stall.

Steps for reverse parking in an angle parking stall

Step 1.
Line your car up so that your side mirror is directly under the first stall line three stalls ahead of the one you will back into as seen in the top pictures below.

Step 2.
Look in the back side window the direction you will turn.
On the left side you will see the first line of the stall you are aiming for, a little forward of center in the window. (In perpendicular parking you see it further back)

On the right side you will see the first stall line just near the front corner of the small window.
As soon as you let lightly off the brake turn and use your side mirrors to get parallel with the angled lines.

Step 3.
Back into the stall until your cars front end is in the lines without your cars back end hanging over the line or curb.

The reference points for doing this is different on each side

Backing in angled Left

Backing in angled right

The line in the back side window you are looking at is the divider line of the stall behind.

Notice that backing in left, the line is closer up in the left window and further back in the right window.
While backing in right is just the opposite, closer up in the right window and further back in the left window.

Now some angled parking stalls have the middle divider line separated for every two stalls. As seen in the picture below

This would be different reference points as shown below

Backing in angled Left with separated divider lines

Backing in angled right with separated divider lines

Notice when backing left with separated divider lines, the divider line is in about the same position on the left side as with connected divider lines, but the line in the right back side window is much further back in the window than when there are connected divider lines.

Backing right with separate divider lines shows the lines slightly further back in the back side windows on both sides than with connected divider lines.

When using these reference points for reverse parking in an angled stall, your vehicle should be in the stall without your back bumper hanging over the line like in the picture below.

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