It’s something the vast majority of drivers dread when faced with no other choice. Parallel parking is a problem for many reasons – but it can become a breeze if you sit down and learn the ins and outs of the process.
Whether you’re fearing your inability to manage the spatial awareness of your vehicle or you’ve never booked driving lessons before, this step by step guide is here to help!
Learning and teaching driving skills can be both an exciting and nervous or stressful experience for everyone involved – especially for those teaching someone to drive. This parallel parking guide such as this will help the teaching and learning easier for both parties.
Before attempting to parallel park
Before you hop in your car and begin practising, it’s important to take the time to check all other aspects that are a key part of parallel parking.
Keep calm and relaxed
As with learning anything, it takes time and practice to get it right. Keeping a clear head and not overthinking will go a long way to making the entire learning procedure a better experience.
- Teaching someone how to parallel park – As a teacher, it’s important to understand that you are there to help someone learn. Patience is key here, as there is likely to be some mistakes made. Ensure that the learner is calm and tell them they can get it right with enough tries.
- Learning how to parallel park – As a learner, don’t put too much pressure on yourself to succeed immediately. It can be easy to feel anxious about learning, but, know that making mistakes is a part of the learning process, so be sure to listen to your driving lesson instructor and do your best to follow their guidance.
Understand the size of your car
A lot of drivers feel that they can’t parallel park because they’re afraid of hitting either the car behind, the car in front, or the curb next to their car.
You can help yourself in this situation by looking around your car while it’s parked and seeing how much space it actually takes up. How much more of the chassis extends out after the wheels? When you feel that you’ve parked too close, how much space is actually left?
Once you’ve determined how much space your car uses, it becomes much easier to parallel park with confidence that you won’t hit anything.
Find a good place to practice
A casual, low-stress environment works best for learning new things, and parallel parking is no exception. Make sure to find a good spot that is spacious and safe enough to practice forward and reverse parallel parking without being a hindrance to others.
Probably the best spot for learning different aspects of driving, such as parallel parking, is a big empty car park which has the right paved road to practice on. They also usually have marked parking spots so you can bring some plastic cones to designate a spot and be free to make mistakes without causing any damage to your car or getting in a road accident.
The basics of parallel parking
Once you’re ready, you can get started on practising your parallel parking. The best way to learn is by getting the steps down and making sure to have the entire process down.
The process to an exceptional parallel park is:
- Move up and stop next to the car in the space in front of the space you’re aiming to park in – aligning your mirrors. Make sure not to park too close to the car in front so you can manoeuvre correctly.
- While you are still fully stopped from step one, turn your steering wheel full lock towards the parking spot you’re targeting.
- Begin to reverse slowly keeping the steering wheel on full lock, making sure to look for pedestrians in your mirrors.
- When your front tyre is parallel to the back tyre of the car in front, stop and turn the steering wheel in the opposite direction, again to full lock.
- Start reversing slowly again and continue checking for pedestrians.
- When you are straightened up in the space, return your steering wheel to its starting position and make small adjustments until you’re correctly parked in the middle of the parking spot.
If you’ve followed these steps, you should have just completed a parallel park correctly!
What to watch out for when parallel parking
Even following the above steps correctly, it can be worth keeping an eye out for some additional factors that may impact your ability to reverse parallel park effectively.
- Positions of neighbouring cars – Sometimes the parking of other drivers leaves a bit to be desired. If one or both neighbouring cars are parked too far over the line, consider whether your car can fit in the empty space.
- Visibility – Being able to see your surroundings clearly is essential to being able to park successfully, but this goes double for parallel parking. Weather conditions such as rain plus the lower light levels of nighttime can make it harder to see, and thus harder to park.
Ace your driving test with Eclipse Driving School
Whether you’re learning – or helping someone learn – how to reverse parallel park, how to do a particular driving manoeuvre or how to parallel park, it can’t hurt to have a professional teacher to help.
Eclipse Driving School has many experienced drivers ready to show learners the right way to be confident when out on the road. Plus, with the Government’s Keys2drive program, every learner driver is entitled to one free lesson with their parents or supervisor!
This is a perfect way for you to get a driving lesson refresher from an accredited driving instructor.
If you want more information about our lessons or our driving school, please contact us today and we’ll be happy to help!