How to Parallel Park - Parallel Parking is Easier Than You Think
You can get it right every time
No Longer Fear Parallel Parking
Parallel parking is one of those skills that we all know we should master, but it's a maneuver that many people fear. Some are so intimidated by the thought of parallel parking that they will do most anything to avoid it, and they would rather suffer inconvenience or pull into a parking lot that charges money than go through the pain of screwing it up.
But, like many life skills, parallel parking is a function of following a few simple rules. When you approach a parallel parking situation you should not have to think about it. Just try to tie your shoes while thinking about the task. Go ahead, try it. Chances are that you will have a hard time tying that knot that you learned a long time ago. The reason for this is that when we develop a habit, a good habit, we should let the habit take over when we need to use it.
There are different theories and countless pieces of advice out there about parallel parking. This article has one goal: to simplify the task and give you simple tips to remember so that you will never have to think about parallel parking again. You will have the confidence that you can maneuver your car into any parallel parking spot, and you will no longer have to drive around looking for a straight-in parking place.
Watch this with the Steering Wheel and License Plate Rules in mind.
Here are the Two Big Rules for Parallel Parking (That's right, only two)
1. The Steering Wheel Rule. Pull up close to the car that you will park behind, and align your steering wheel with the steering wheel of the other car. Don't crane you neck or lean forward or backward. Just turn your head to look at the other steering wheel. Now put your car in reverse and slowly back up while turning your steering wheel toward the curb. An alternate rule, and a ridiculous one, is to line up your rear tire to the car next to you. Fine. How do you see the tires? No, go with the Steering Wheel Rule.
2. The License Plate Rule. As soon as you see the rear license plate of the other car, turn your wheel the other way while continuing to back up slowly. This will bring your car neatly into the space. You will then back up or move forward to position your car a safe distance from the other two cars. Some suggest aligning your rear door with the bumper of the other car. But there are two problems with this: first, how do you align a door that may be three feet wide with a bumper? Secondly, what if you're not driving a sedan but a coupe with no rear door? Go with the License Plate Rule.
The nearby video is good, but you should watch it with the above two rules in mind, substituting them for the rear tire and rear passenger door rules.
Parallel Parking and You
Do you think you're good at parallel parking
Some General Considerations
Size of the space. You will often hear parallel parking pundits, such as the folks in the video, say that the first thing to do is to make sure you are about to pull into a space that is big enough to accommodate your car. Well, okay. But I suggest that this should be so obvious that if you don't realize that you have to do this, you should really turn in your car keys.
Go slow. It's hard not to overemphasize this. If you encounter a problem, slow motion will be your friend. You will have time to hit the brakes before you hear crunch.
Start over. The Steering Wheel Rule and the License Plate Rule should get you into the parking space with ease, but sometimes you just don't do it right. No problem, just start over. The worst thing you can do is to try to overcorrect when you got it wrong the first time. This may eventually work, but it will take you a lot of frustrating time to do it. Just start over.
Like many things in life, parallel parking has a lot to do with your attitude. If you approach a parking space with fear and trepidation, you are likely to screw up no matter how simple the rules are. So I suggest that you approach a parallel parking situation with the mental attitude that it's easy, because it is. Following the two big rules in this article makes parallel parking a cinch. So why not think of it that way?
Copyright ©2012 by Russell F. Moran