Parallel Parking No Fuss, No Drama

9 September 2016 - By Eugene Herbert

One of the problems we encounter when assessing the skills of drivers
who have “cheated” the system when obtaining their drivers licence is that they
can’t parallel park.

Another factor is that it’s seen by some as one of those activities,
like public speaking or visiting the dentist, which some people dread and avoid
at all costs. But in busy urban environments, such avoidance might mean
arriving late to an important business meeting or customer appointment.

For someone driving a vehicle equipped with park assist technology, this
sort of phobia is no longer a concern - technology has come to the rescue. But
what if your parallel parking skills need work and your vehicle isn’t equipped
with such driver assistance additions?

The best approach then is to break down the parking process into
individual steps and practice in a stress-free environment. A car park on a
Saturday or Sunday at quiet times might be a good place for that.

There are 8 basic steps:

Step 1: Find a space that’s at least 1.2 to 1.8 meters longer than your

This will allow plenty of room for both your vehicle and those around
you. By remembering these parallel parking dimensions, you’ll prevent dents and
scrapes while you straighten out your vehicle (later in the process).

Step 2: Use your indicators

Signalling lets the drivers behind you know what you are up to, so they
can give you plenty of space (and hopefully some patience). With parallel
parking, distance matters. After all, it’s something you don't really want an
audience for.

Step 3: Align your vehicle with the one in front of the space you

This is key in making sure your parallel park is on point. Since it’s
hard to correct a parallel park once a mistake has been made, you need to start
off on the right foot.

Step 4: Double-check your blind spots.

Don’t just rely on your mirrors — turn your entire body and head to make
sure there are no obstacles in your way.

Step 5: Start reversing into the space.

Once you know your course is clear, begin slowly reversing into the
space and turn the wheel hard to the left. Be aware of your surroundings,
including your proximity to the cars around you.

Step 6: Turn your steering wheel the opposite direction.

When your front seat lines up with the front car’s rear bumper, turn
your wheel the other direction to start straightening out.

Step 7: Reverse into the space (slowly, now) and start straightening out
your vehicle.

Allow yourself and other vehicles enough room to transition out of the
space once it’s time to leave. Your vehicle should end up about 30 cm’s from
the curb once your parallel park is complete.

Step 8: Give yourself a pat on the back.

To get a better feel for the process, you can watch a video that
depicts and further explains the steps. Just click on the
photo or link below the headline to access the video.

Till next time - Drive Safe …

Eugene Herbert

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