In 1994, Ontario introduced a graduated licensing system that made parallel parking a requirement to get a final “G” license. Fast forward 18 years, many drivers still avoid parallel parking like the plague. And if they do attempt it – many parallel parking attempts end after second or third attempts still without full satisfaction.
The reasons for these failures may be attributed to the fear of hitting another vehicle; a confidence issue to properly parallel park; and the embarrassment of people watching your multiple failed attempts. One bad parallel park in the eyes of family and friends can instantly make you feel like a less than average driver.
How do we do eliminate your fears and perform a flawless parallel parking? There is no scripture or exact science to it; however these simple three steps can be your guide to impress everyone.
The approach: Sometimes we want a certain spot right in-front of our destination or have trouble finding a spot, so we try to squeeze in to the impossible small spot. In those instances, we’ve failed before we began, so be sure to find a space that your vehicle can fit in. Once your spot is located, signal to indicate your intention to other road users, lower your speed to a minimum level and check the traffic from all directions.
The process: Align your car with the other parked vehicle preferably mirror to mirror. Signal and check all mirrors for on-coming traffic and for any pedestrians in your blind spots. Change gears into reverse and start turning your steering wheel to the right for a full 360 degrees and slowly move your car backwards until you can see the plate number of that parked vehicle. At this point you should be at an angle of 45 degrees in a “V” shape. When your passenger door is aligned with the rear bumper start to slowly turn the steering wheel to the left until your car is straight. If you are not straight you should still have the space to rock your vehicle forwards and back until you reach a straightened position. Put your car into park, pull up your hand brake and you are finished.
The resumption: Start your car, signal, check for traffic, lower your hand brake and put your vehicle in reverse. Reverse back to see the back tire of the parked car in your front and then put your car into drive and slowly accelerate out. Cancel your signal and keep driving. Remember, the more you practice the easier it will be and the more skilled you become. Good luck!