Tips for Proper Parallel Parking
July 14, 2011
Probably, the maneuver that most strikes fear in the heart of a new driver facing a behind-the-wheel driving test, is the parallel parking maneuver. Maneuvering your vehicle, backwards, into a tiny parking spot without hitting the vehicle ahead or behind is daunting even for experienced drivers who don’t have to do it very often but it doesn’t have to be all that scary. Just like any other skill, all it takes is practice…. lots and lots of practice.
You shouldn’t start practicing in a real environment with actual cars in front and back; making a mistake while learning to park around real cars could be costly. Instead, you should begin learning how to perform this maneuver in an empty parking lot with a pair of cones or some other type of marker to represent the front and rear bumpers of the car ahead and behind.
Step one – Illuminate your right turn signal to let other drivers know your intentions. Slow down and pull up alongside the other “car” (cone) until your rear bumper is even with the front vehicle’s rear bumper. Check your mirrors for other traffic and don’t begin until you are sure the way is clear.
Step two – Put the car in reverse and turn the wheel to the right. Turn the upper part of your body to the right so that you can clearly see everything behind you. Start backing slowly and steadily into the space behind. When your passenger door comes even with the rear bumper of the front vehicle, stop.
Step three – Turn the steering wheel to the left and continue backing into the space making sure you aren’t coming too close to the vehicle ahead or about to hit the bumper of the vehicle behind. Once your front bumper has completely cleared the vehicle ahead and your car is completely in the space, stop the car.
Step four – Now put the gear shift into drive and ease the car forward until you are completely centered in the space with enough clear space ahead and behind for you to get out later.
Step five – Put the car in park and get out to see if your car is fully centered. There should be roughly, an even amount of space between your vehicle and the vehicles ahead and behind. Your car should be facing straight ahead and not parked at an angle and the side of your car should be no more than 12 to 18 inches away from the curb.
Keep practicing this parallel parking maneuver over and over until it is second nature to you. With enough practice, you will be able to dazzle the DMV examiner with your skill and confidence.