With the ever increasing number of cars on Britain’s roads, it’s becoming more and more difficult to find a parking space. So, when you finally do find one, you don’t want to have to drive past it because it means you’ll have to parallel park.
Parallel parking is pretty simple in reality, but many drivers get flustered by passing traffic, the worry of scraping one of the cars you’re parking between, or the worry of hitting the kerb and scraping an alloy.
In the real world you might have to slot into a space that’s not much longer than your car; however, on your test your examiner is more likely to ask you to drive into a space that’s about twice the size of your car, so you should have plenty of room for manoeuvre.
Bearing this in mind, the examiner will be making sure that you remain aware at all times of other road users – especially passing traffic as the nose of your car swings out.
You’ll also be expected to get close to the kerb without hitting it – and obviously you won’t score too highly if you hit either of the car’s you’re parking between.
How to do it
Stop parallel to, level with and not more than one metre away from the car you’re going to park behind. Select reverse, make sure it’s okay to start reversing then drive slowly backwards, watching for the corner of the other car appearing in your side window.
When you can see the rear corner of the other car through your side window, turn your steering wheel to the left one full turn, then check all round to make sure no other cars or road users have appeared since you began your manoeuvre.
Continue reversing until the nose of your car is level with the back of the car you’re parking behind.
Now turn the steering wheel fully to the right, making sure you clear the car you’re parking behind. As you turn the steering wheel the front of your car will swing in towards the kerb.
At this point you’ll be close to the kerb and the car in front, so you need to keep your speed down as you start to straighten out the steering wheel, so the front of your car doesn’t swing in too far.
Check your distance from the kerb and the car in front — the easiest way of checking your distance from the kerb is by dipping your passenger side mirror.
Once you’re in the space you can move back and forth to line things up correctly, but don’t do this endlessly or the examiner will mark you down. Basically, as long as you’re not stuck out into the road and you’re not up the kerb, you should be fine.