If you live in a large city, like Chicago, parallel parking is an essential skill to have. You’ll need to learn how to navigate parallel parking spots with ease and confidence. In that respect, here are nine tips for better control, smoother driving and less scrapes when parallel parking.
Parallel Parking Tips
Find a Large Space
Don’t tempt fate. If the gap between cars doesn’t look big enough for you to comfortably maneuver between them, keep driving around the block until you find something with more room. There’s no shame in taking extra precautions if you’re a little nervous.[/vc_column_text][/vc_column][/vc_row][vc_row][vc_column width=”1/1″][vc_column_text]
Look Out for Other Cars
As you approach the parking space, slow down and turn on your blinkers. Keep an eye on your rear view mirror so you’ll see any vehicles coming up behind you. If you know you’ll need a minute to park, wave your hand outside the window so drivers know to pass you.
Align Your Car
The first step of parallel parking is lining up your car with the front-most vehicle. For example, if there’s a red car with a blue car behind it, and you’re trying to park between them, you’ll want to align your car with the red one. Position your vehicle like you’re going to park identically beside it.
Put Your Car In Reverse
Back up slowly while watching your progress through your mirrors. You’ll want to begin your turn at this time, but don’t execute it fully. It’s important to keep both hands on the steering wheel as you turn it. Don’t steer one-handed while looking over your shoulder and putting an arm on the back of your seat.
Take Your Foot Off the Break
While it’s possible to park in starts and stops, that kind of driving also increases the possibility of an accident. It’s better to parallel park in long, smooth and uninterrupted motions, so ease your foot off the brake and keep your car moving.
Maintain Your Distance
Be careful not to get too close with the other cars as you turn. While a certain level of closeness is expected in tight quarters, there should always be 2-3 feet between your bumper and other bumper. Any closer and you risk the possibility of hitting it.
Make A Sharp Turn
When the back half of your vehicle is almost completely in the parking space, give your steering wheel a sharp twist in the opposite direction. This will complete the S-turn and allow your car to straighten out even while it’s still moving backwards.
Shift Back Into Drive
When you can’t go any further back without hitting the other car, twist your steering wheel in its original direction and inch forward to center your vehicle in the parking space. Again, it’s important to move slowly. Going too fast will force you into a drive-reverse-drive cycle as you struggle to keep a proper distance between both cars.
This is absolutely essential for city parking. Panic leads to mistakes, and mistakes cause vehicular damage. Even if you back up too far and hit the curb with your rear tire, just take a deep breath, change gears and fix your error. Keep in mind that sometimes it’s easier to pull entirely out of the parking spot if you are having trouble parking and starting the process over.
At all Top Driver driving schools we take the time to teach our drivers ed students how to parallel park to help prepare them for their driving test and for parallel parking once they are driving. For more information on our where are drivers education courses are take a look at our Locations page.[/vc_column_text][/vc_column][/vc_row]