When you're learning to drive, it's sensible to take regular driving classes with a qualified instructor. This means that you'll be learning the correct way to drive and you won't pick up bad habits. However, it's also helpful to practice your driving skills between lessons when accompanied by an experienced friend or relative. One tricky manoeuvre that you can practice in readiness for your driving test is parallel parking. Here's a helpful guide on how to do it.
How to parallel park
The key to this exercise is to take your time—don't feel that you have to hurry. Keeping it slow and steady is the way to go!
- After locating a suitable parking space, pull your vehicle alongside the car in front of the space so that its rear is in line with the rear of your car, about an arm's length away from it.
- Bring your car to a complete halt and turn your steering wheel full-lock to the left.
- Remember to maintain your observations; check your side and rear-view mirrors, and look forward to make sure that there's no traffic coming.
- Turn around in your seat so that you can look out of the rear windscreen and begin reversing slowly. Keep the steering wheel in full-lock to the left. If it's easier to turn around, you can remove your seatbelt during the manoeuvre.
- When the front left corner of the car behind you appears to be central in your rear windscreen at an angle of 45 degrees from the gutter, stop reversing.
- When you're stationary, return your steering wheel to a central position.
- Now reverse very slowly, until the front of your car clears the rear of the vehicle in front of you, and then stop.
- While you're stationary, turn your steering wheel full-lock to the right, and then begin reversing into the parking space. At this stage, it's helpful to adjust your left side mirror so that you have a good view of the gutter.
- When your vehicle is parallel to the kerb and not more than 40cm away from it, stop. Return your steering wheel to the middle position. Make sure that your car is in the middle of the parking space so that the vehicles on either side have plenty of room to get out.
Parallel parking is something that you can practice between your driving lessons. Take your time, remember to keep looking around you at all times for other traffic, and follow the simple steps above for hassle-free parking every time!