How To Parallel Park - The Informative Rivervale Guide

How To Parallel Park - The Informative Rivervale Guide

As one of the manoeuvres out on the road that strikes fear in drivers’ hearts, the elusive parallel park can be tricky. No matter if you’re a novice driver or have years of experience, parallel parking can offer up certain challenges. Particularly if you don’t tend to do much urban driving. Worrying as it can be, as soon as you get a grasp on the basics and start putting it into practice, you can easily become an expert at parallel parking.

To help you master this manoeuvre, we’ve put together a handy guide full of tips and advice. So no matter how tight that parking space is, you can feel confident when it comes to nailing it.

What is parallel parking?

First things first, let’s take a quick look at what this task entails.

Essentially, parallel parking is a way to park your vehicle parallel to the road. This usually means there’ll be a line of other cars in the same row. This can offer up some pretty tight spaces. The way in which you’d approach it is to drive your vehicle next to the one in front of the space you want, ahead of reversing it in. Stressed about driving? Find out other ways to reduce stress while driving.

Stock Parallel Parking Snow

How do I parallel park?

Before reading on, these steps are designed with you parking on the left-hand side of the road as it’s usually more common to go with the flow of traffic. If you’re aiming for a right-hand space, simply flip the directions.

Of course, this is a rough guide. If you’re learning to drive, you may find your instructor has a slightly different method.

  1. First things first, assess the space and make sure this is big enough to accommodate your car - if you’re doing this as a part of a test, you’ll find your examiner will assess this part for you.

  2. Check your surroundings and stick on your indicator. This can add to the stress of trying to nail this tricky manoeuvre and you don't need any added pressure! If there is a lot of oncoming traffic, you may want to take a breath and just consider your timing.

  3. Carefully begin to pull up alongside the space, ensuring there are no hazards around when doing so. Make sure to check your mirrors once again for any vehicles, cyclists or pedestrians. Your indicators will take care of letting them know what you’re planning to do.

  4. Make sure you’re leaving enough space between you and the other car - check there’s a minimum of one metre, but you're really aiming for a metre to a metre and a half.

  5. Start to edge slowly forward until the centre of your passenger side front window is lined up roughly with the front of the car.

  6. Once you’ve stopped, make sure you check your mirrors and check that especially important blind spot. Remember that you have time, and this isn't something you need to rush. Check for any oncoming vehicles, cyclists or pedestrians and if you don't feel safe to begin reversing, just wait until you do - it’ll make you feel much calmer.

  7. Once you feel happy to proceed, Now it’s time to kick it into the rear. Slowly begin reversing - remembering that speed here is key, in the slowest of senses. In order to maintain control, it’s crucial to showcase excellent clutch control - keep looking over your left shoulder and through the rear windscreen.

  8. Here, you’ll want to ensure that the rears of both vehicles are level. A general rule of thumb is to make sure you line up the side mirrors of both cars. If you’re still not feeling confident, try moving your car a bit further back before you move on to the next step.

  9. The next step means it’s time to check your blindspot again, as when you start to simultaneously reverse and steer, the front of your car will swing out into the road slightly. Give your mirrors and blindspots another check to ensure there is nothing else oncoming.

  10. As soon as you feel safe enough to do so, you can slowly begin to reverse your vehicle back into the space, ensuring to turn the steering wheel one complete turn to the left.

  11. At the point where you feel ready to straighten up your vehicle, keep checking for other road users. If there is anything oncoming, you’ll need to stop what you’re doing before continuing on.

  12. As a helpful reference point, try to make sure the left corner of your vehicle lines up with the right corner of the one in front. But remember, if you are doing this manoeuvre as part of your test, you can always ask the examiner for clarification as every vehicle is slightly different.

  13. You might be pleased to hear you’re reaching the end of this task - now is the time to steer right full-lock to make sure your car is parallel with the kerb. You’ll want to ensure speedy hands here and slow reversing. It can be tricky to get right, but you’ll soon get used to it. Remember to keep checking your surroundings as you do so and ensure it’s safe to keep moving as you start straightening up.

  14. Keep a keen eye on your left-hand mirror as this is the tool that’s going to help you measure your distance from the curb - you want to ensure a small gap.

  15. If you think you might need to adjust, it's entirely fine to do so until you feel it’s right. Here, all you need to do is move into first gear, moving back to your initial point of turn, always checking if it is clear to do so.

  16. And voila! Parallel park complete.

Stock Cars Parked

Will I be asked to parallel park as part of my driving test?

Whilst not necessarily a strict requirement, the answer is a potential yes. Changes were made to the driving test format back in December 2017 which meant your examiner could ask for one of the below manoeuvres:

  • parallel park at the side of the road

  • park in a bay - either by driving in and reversing out, or reversing in and driving out (the examiner will tell you which you have to do)

  • pull up on the right-hand side of the road, reverse for around 2 car lengths, and rejoin the traffic

Key things to look out for on the test will be as follows:

  • That you don’t park too close to the parked car in front or behind.

  • That you don't mount the kerb.

  • That you park fairly close to the kerb, leaving and that you stop reasonably close to the kerb without mounting it.

  • Straighten up the steering wheel as a final step.

Stock Driving Test

It’s possible to rack up a fault or two on this part of the test if you don’t follow the above or you need to reposition your park as a result of any of these. The key thing to remember is that practice makes perfect, so keep trying and you’ll eventually feel more comfortable should this manoeuvre come up on your test. Alternatively, many of our Luxury brand options have intelligent parking technology which makes parallel parking a breeze! It is important to learn good habits for all journeys, find out the best practices for safe snowy journeys.

Get in touch with Rivervale today on 01273433480 to discuss car leasing, and see if we can match you with your ideal model. Alternatively, you can request a callback for a time that is convenient for you!

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