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Parallel Parking Tips for Beginners

Meenakshi Iyer
These days, learning to parallel park a car is a must-know for all car drivers. Here are some tips, especially for novices, that can guide you to park your car without much strain.

Now Cars can Park Themselves!

Self-parking technology enables cars to park themselves, thus, freeing you of the ordeal to parallel park. This feature is found in models such as Lexus, Toyota, Ford, Volkswagen, Škoda, etc.
Nowadays, owing to the heavy congestion on streets in city areas and space crunch problems, the task of parking a car has become very strenuous and intimidating. There are some careless people who still don't bother to learn the precise technique of parking a car, thus, making it a herculean task for other car drivers as well.
And, with the menace of number of vehicles only steeply rising and space getting narrower by the day on roads, parking a vehicle is only going to get more backbreaking and tiresome.
So, just knowing how to drive a car is not everything as one must also be aware of the intricacies of parallel parking. In this article, I have tried to get together some useful pointers for parking your car safely and quickly.

Easy Tips to Parallel Park Your Car

Studying the Parking Area for Space

Tip: In simple words, look for space that is slightly greater (a meter longer) than what your car needs.

Analyze the parking area for the right space for your car to fit in so that you can park your car conveniently without ramming into another. Do make sure that the space you have chosen is not a problem while you try to drive out of the parking space.

Lining Up Your Vehicle

Tip: It is always good to utilize the turn signal while you are attempting to drive up next to the car that's parked in front of you. You may even have to roll down the window and wave your hand out in case a driver hasn't realized that you are trying to park.
Slowly move into the car parking space, and align your vehicle with the car right in front of you. As you do this, take a quick look into the rear-view and driver-side mirror just to ensure that no car is right behind you, in case you need to make some adjustments while parking your car into the chosen space.

Putting Your Car in Reverse

Tip: While doing the reverse, remember to push (the top of) the wheel the way you want the car to go.

This is the first part of your S-turn. Move the steering wheel sharply (towards the right) and as and far as possible to make the front wheels curb.
Now, put your vehicle in reverse and begin to slowly back up. In case you want to readjust your angle or wish to begin all over again, then there's no harm; just drive your car forward and start again.

Straightening the Wheels

Tip: Keep checking the passenger-side mirror (have it pointed down) to see the curb. A rule of thumb states that if the curb disappears, you have probably gone too close to the curb.
Ascertain that your driver-side rear view mirror is in line with the rear bumper of the car beside you. Straighten the wheels by spinning the steering wheel in the other direction, and move your car back so that your car is halfway into the parking space.

Positioning Your Car in the Center

Note: Shift your steering wheel to the right again to move forward to the curb while centering your car in the parking space.

This is the last part of your S-turn. Turn the steering wheel to the left and continue to maneuver your car backwards and as far as you can; make sure that your car is placed within a good distance of the car parked ahead of you.
In other words, you should eventually bring yourself into a central position so that there is adequate distance between your car and other two. At this point, if all has gone well, you have succeeded in parking your car parallel to the next one.

Things to Remember

Here are some parking tips that should help a beginner park his/her car.
✦ Roll down your window and wave your hand out in case you want to signal to another driver and let him know you are trying to park.
✦ You can also make use of car indicators while attempting to park.
✦ Assess the parking space well so that you don't have to drive inside and then make your way out.
✦ Shift gears to move forward in case your rear tire makes too much contact with the curb.
✦ If you notice that a car is parked at an angle, don't attempt parking next to it. Look for another space instead.
✦ Look out for one-way instructions to keep yourself from trouble.
You can initially begin by parking your car on roads that have no obstructions at all, and later switch to roads wherein there is space between two cars after which, you can experiment on busy streets. Go step by step; you might take more time, but at the end of it all, you would be brimming with confidence for having mastered the skill to park a car.
Also, training from a driving school will help in understanding the nuances of driving. And yes, you must practice parking time and again, till you are confident about your parking skills. You may not be the first person to have mastered the art of parallel parking, but then you are also not the last. Good luck!