PARALLEL PARKING

By the time you learn how to parallel park, you would have already learned the basic skills required to do this exercise. You would have done a left reverse and a turn in the road and you would have almost certainly learned how to emerge at a closed T junction, i.e. all manoeuvres that require the ability to move a car at a very slow speed using clutch control.

Before you undertake a parallel park you must first find a safe and convenient place. The space you choose should be about twice the length of your own car. In addition to the skill of controlling the car at slow speed, to parallel park you will also need proper and good observation. By this we mean that you must have a good 360 degree look around the car to make sure that the area is clear. Please remember that all manoeuvres should, as far as possible, be carried out without causing interference to other road users and pedestrians. The manoeuvre must also be carried out with reasonable accuracy, i.e. upon completion, the car should be no more than the thickness of one of your tyres from the kerb, with neither the back nor front of the car sticking out at an angle.

To carry out a parallel park, you need to draw level with the vehicle behind which you intend to park and go forward until your shoulder is level with the furthermost end of the car with about two thirds of a metre between this car and your own car. Then carry out your POM routine, remember a 360 degree observation is required and, when clear, you reverse slowly, remembering to continue to look all the way round but mostly through your back windscreen. Should any vehicles appear either behind or in front, you should stop to let them pass and remember that before starting again you should refresh your observation. You will continue to reverse until your point of turn. Your instructor will advise you on the point of turn as it will vary depending on the size of your vehicle and the height of the driver. Once at point of turn, you should turn the wheel one complete revolution to the left, but do so only as the car is moving – no dry steering, as this would give you the wrong angle. As you come in towards the kerb, when your left wing mirror eclipses the outside light of the vehicle behind which you are parking, you should change your steering lock to the right, thus bringing the front of your car in behind the vehicle ahead. As you draw level with the kerb you will need to change your lock back to left to straighten the vehicle. If a shunt forwards or backwards is required to straighten the vehicle, this is OK provided you refresh your observations. Please remember that whilst parking you should always look towards the kerb for pedestrians.

Finally, remember that at no time should you park on yellow lines, red lines, zig zag lines or where there is a clearway sign.