Tips for Parallel Parking

The thought of parallel parking can strike fear in the heart of even the most experienced drivers writes Geraldine Herbert

Parallel parking is generally considered a challenge for any driver to master and unless you are one of those people who park on the street outside your home every day, the chances are it’s not a skill you will have forced yourself to master.
A few easy tips can take the stress out of parallel parking and could mean not wasting valuable time looking for the perfect space.

1. Take it slow
Don’t attempt to parallel park if there are a stream of cars behind you or you are under pressure for time. By taking your time you will have more time to correct yourself if you misjudge the space.

2. Choose your space carefully
Select a car parking space that is ideally one and a half times the size of the car you are driving as this will give you plenty of room to get in, and more importantly, get back out.

3. Position your car correctly
Stop alongside the car you plan to park behind and position your car about 2 feet away, if you are too close to the car you risk hitting the kerb before you are parked but if you are too far away you will park too much away from the kerb. Once happy that you have left the correct space, check your mirrors and then turn your steering wheel towards the kerb and start backing up slowly. When your car is close to the kerb turn the steering wheel in the opposite direction and slowly back up to bring the front of your car close to the kerb. Then you need to straighten up, you may need to move your car back and forth slightly to get this right.

4. Don’t Panic
If you are not happy with your angle of approach, pull back out and start over. Don’t get unsettled by bystanders or other cars, just relax and concentrate.

5. Practice makes perfect
It is easy to get frustrated and give up trying but it is worth persevering, once you conquer your fear and get to grips with parallel parking, it will feel like second nature. Remember practice makes perfect so if possible practice at home or on a quiet street.

If you are still not convinced and would rather drive an extra mile for a space rather than attempt to parallel park the good news is that it may be a thing of the past very soon. More and more new cars now come equipped with park-assist systems, that let onboard computers to take all the stress out of parking including parallel parking. With one press of a button, you could be parking like a pro.

Geraldine Herbert

16th January 2021


Author: Geraldine Herbert

Contributing Editor and Motoring Columnist for the Sunday Independent and editor of wheelsforwomen. Geraldine is also a regular contributor to Good Housekeeping (UK) and to RTÉ Radio One, Newstalk, TodayFM and BBC Radio. You can follow Geraldine on Twitter at @GerHerbert1

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