Tips on how to Parallel park
11 Nov 2020
Even for the most experienced drivers, parallel parking is a manoeuvre that can still be daunting for many. On a busy street, many drivers can be put off squeezing in a parallel park manoeuvre due to the worry of not being able to execute it, especially with the added pressure of cars waiting behind you.
In this article, we will be giving you tips to ensure that you become an expert at parallel parking. This will make your life a whole lot easier, there is no doubt about it!
Practice makes perfect if you are looking to perfect parallel parking. If parallel parking makes you nervous, you would be best off practicing this manoeuvre on a quiet street or at times where there are not many cars on the road, whether that be late at night or early morning.
An excellent way to perfect your parallel parking is to use the 1:2:1 method. We will discuss this parking tip in more detail below.
Find a parking space that is safe to park in
When you are looking for a space that is safe to parallel park in, it is important to note that an adequate parking space is roughly a couple of metres longer than your car. If the space is not large enough, you will not be able to perform a parallel park effectively. Please note that you will also need to consider whether the car in front will have enough room to open their car boot.
Conduct a mirror check and get in position
Before you attempt a parallel parking manoeuvre you should check your mirrors. This is to make sure that no accidents occur. It is also very important that you also check your blind spot. Once the mirror check has been completed, get your vehicle into a position so that it is half a car’s length beyond the vehicle in front of the parking space you are looking to drive in to. Make sure you put your indicator on to let other drivers know you are looking to park and put your vehicle into the reverse gear.
Begin to reverse slowly, while continually checking your mirrors as you are doing so. Reverse until your car is level with the car in front of your intended parking space. A good reference here is that you will be able to see the end of the other car in your back left or right window (depending on which side you are conducting the parallel park).
Stop, assess and make 1 turn towards the kerb and reverse
Once your car is parallel to the car next to it, stop and assess your surroundings to make sure you are still safe to conduct this manoeuvre. Once you have decided you are safe to do so, turn your steering wheel towards the kerb and reverse until you reach a 45-degree angle. At this point, you will be in a diagonal position across the road. As a reference, the vehicle in front of you should be in line with your passenger door handle.
Apply 2 full turns in the opposite direction
Once you are at a 45-degree angle, if it is still safe and your passenger’s door handle is level with the front of the other vehicle, reverse and turn your steering wheel two times away from the kerb, the opposite way as you have been previously, this is to straighten the car up.
1 turn again towards the kerb
Once your car is almost parallel with the pavement, gradually turn the steering wheel 1 turn to towards the kerb. Your car should now be almost straight along the kerb. Try to leave a reasonable distance between the car in front and behind you and move forward if needed.
If you are currently learning to drive, then a parallel park manoeuvre is something that you will need to perfect in order to gain a pass certificate. Please note, at the time of writing this article, that driving tests are currently suspended due to the ongoing lockdown restrictions.
If you get to stage where you are looking to conduct a parallel park and begin to panic, remember if you are parallel parking into a space on the left: one turn to the left, two turns to the right, then one turn to the left and the opposite if you are parking on the right. As mentioned previously, practice makes perfect when it comes to parallel parking and you will become an expert in no time if you follow this simple method.
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