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IT’S NOT ALL THAT TEDIOUS: HOW TO CORRECTLY AND SAFELY PARALLEL PARK YOUR VEHICLE

When it comes to learning how to drive, most folks dread parallel parking. Some folks will even park blocks away from their destination just to avoid parallel parking.  The key to trying to parallel park is to stay safe.

How To Plan Parallel With Other Vehicles: Begin By Planning Your Parallel Parking

You need to plan well in advance before you try parallel parking. You want to make sure you’re far enough back. If the road you’re on is wide enough, be sure to warn the other drivers that you’re slowing down and stopping. You can do this by touching your brake pedal.  Next, you’ll need to signal to the right, provided you are parking on the right. Be sure you look over your right shoulder, ensuring that the steering wheel stays straight.

After you’ve made everything safe, move over gradually. Drive straight beside the vehicles you want to park between. You should never try to park at the last minute. You need to plan for this pretty far back so that you’re going straight together with the vehicle, as you approach the vehicle ahead of you. Be sure you have at least couple of feet of clearance.

As you pull beside the spot you’re trying to park in, pause and look at the area. You want to make a quick decision about it. Will your vehicle fit inside the area? You want enough additional feet on both ends of the vehicle. You need to leave room for the drivers of the other vehicles to back up and get out of their spot. After you realize how big the area of parking is, you can continue.  Be sure to go forward and stop. You want to be parallel to the vehicle you’ll be parking behind. Move your gear shift from drive to reverse.

Now, look out your back window, notice if you can see the other vehicle’s tail end corner. If you do, this will be your turning point. If not, you’ll need to look over your left shoulder for people. Don’t worry with traffic right now, as the front end of your vehicle isn’t out in traffic.  Once it’s safe, roll backwards, continuing to look out the passenger window.

What you’re looking for is your front end to clear the car that’s parked in front of you. You’ll need to always check when you get into the parking spot. You don’t want to be a couple of inches away from it; you want to be two or three feet from that vehicle.

Now, maneuver your vehicle into the spot. Again, do some safety checks. See if you have any one coming up behind you. Double check the blind spot, which is generally on your left side. If you’re backing into the spot, your front end will be in the road.

Once you’ve done these things and, you’re able to see the other vehicle’s back end, move into the parking spot slowly, keeping your foot on the brake so you ease into it and slow the vehicle down. The only time your foot should be on the gas pedal at this point is if you need to get the car moving.

Always be looking out that back window, watching for the sidewalk curb, as it gradually disappears because of your vehicle’s backend. It’ll begin from the left side and move to the right. The quicker it disappears, the quicker you’ll need to steer your wheel. Once the whole curb is gone, your steering wheel should be completely turned the other way before you move back further. Glance forward to ensure that your front end has cleared the vehicle in front of you. Once you do that, look back until you stop the vehicle.

Switch gears to drive and move forward, ensuring your foot is still on the brake. Remember, your vehicle tires are pointed toward the road. Straighten them out. If you’re unsure of their direction, slowly remove your foot from the brake and watch where your front end rolls. Correct it if you need to.

It can be a bit tedious to parallel park… but it doesn’t have to be! By being patient (ignoring any honks you may get), you can parallel park. If you’re still having difficulties, speak with a driving school instructor or family member who can parallel park. And, keep in mind, that today’s vehicles do make it harder to parallel park. Thus, you need to exercise patience to successfully pull it off!

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