Many drivers go to great lengths to avoid having to parallel park. While parallel parking is a little tricky and takes some practice to master, there is no reason to be nervous about this driving skill. Depending on where you live, you may be required to demonstrate your ability to do parallel parking during your driver license examination. Practice your skills before your road test or before you are required to parallel park on a busy roadway. Place two plastic cones or other objects approximately fifteen feet apart to simulate the standard size of this type of parking space. Use the following directions as a guide for practicing parallel parking for the first time.
Note: If you are practicing in a simulated parking space or an empty parking lot, assume that you are maneuvering around two other cars.
Follow these steps to proper parallel parking
Slowly steer your car so that it is parallel to the car parked in front of the empty space. Your car should be 2-3 feet from the side of the parked car.
Check your rear-view mirror, as well as your left and right side mirrors for other traffic. Once you are certain that there are no other vehicles in your blind spot, shift your car into reverse.
Slowly begin to reverse your vehicle along the side of the parked car. Begin to turn your steering wheel to the right.
As your car moves into the empty parallel parking spot, slowly straighten your steering wheel as you continue to move backwards towards the parked car at the other end of the parking space. As you are maneuvering your vehicle, continuously check all mirrors and through your windows and front windshield to ensure you are not in danger of hitting either of the vehicles bordering the parallel parking space.
Once the front of your vehicle has passed the back bumper of the vehicle in the parking spot in front of you, begin to turn your steering wheel to the left.
Continuing to inch backwards in reverse and while beginning to straighten your steering wheel, look into your rear view mirror to see how close your vehicle is to the car in the parallel parking spot behind you.
Once you have your vehicle straight and as close to the curb as possible, you may need to shift into forward to position your car so that there is an equal amount of space in front and behind your vehicle.
Many parallel parking spaces are assigned a parking meter. This is particularly true in major metropolitan areas. Make sure that you remember to feed coins into your parking meter after you parallel park your car.
To exit a parallel park, first put your car into reverse and back towards the car behind you. Back as close as you reasonably can without putting yourself in danger of hitting the other vehicle.
Next, turn your steering wheel to the left and shift your car into forward. Check for traffic in the lane you are about to enter. Making sure that you are not too close to the back bumper of the vehicle parked in front of you, slowly drive out of the parallel park.
Being confident in your ability to parallel park with ease will save you from having to search for a regular parking space in which to place your vehicle. With a few tries, you should be able to get the feel of parallel parking and impress your driving instructor.
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