Parallel Parking Driving Lesson
The parallel park, park between two cars or reverse around a car as it’s commonly known is the reversing exercise that most learner drivers fear the most, but with good control of the car and a solid method the manoeuvre isn’t anything to worry about. As with all the reversing exercises control, observations and accuracy are the main factors.
Control – the ability to make the car move very slowly either on the flat or up and down a slope.
Observation – maintaining safe observations around the car and making sound decisions on what you see. If other road users or pedestrians approach your vehicle, stop and give them a stationary car to move around and then continue when safe.
Accuracy – following reference points combined with a slow car will keep the manoeuvre accurate.
On driving lessons or on a driving test you’ll be asked to pull up on the left leaving plenty of room between yourself and the car in front. Then you’ll be asked to drive parallel to the car in front then reverse back, finishing in a parked position close and parallel to the kerb and within two car lengths (no more than a cars gap between yourself and the car in front).
When parked in position 1 use the P.O.M routine and slowly drive to position 2, approximately 1 metre and about half a cars length past. Consider a left signal if another road user is waiting for you when getting ready to move.
When about half a cars length past the one you’re reversing around in position 2, stop and apply the handbrake if your on an incline and select reverse gear straight away. This will let other road users know of your intentions and should stop someone occupying the space that you want. When reverse is selected use P.O.M and if safe looking in the direction the cars is about to move to, slowly move until the rear bumpers of each car line up (position 3) it is best to stop at this point.
At position 3 you’ll need to create an angle to move the car towards the kerb, meaning the front end is going to swing to the right, so a 360° all round check is needed before you continue, if it’s safe start to move the car slowly and do 1 full turn of the steering wheel left. Continue moving until the car is at a 45° angle to the car your reversing around at this point you’ll need to do a full right turn of the steering wheel, this then straightens the wheels to enable us to move towards the kerb in a straight line. Take this opportunity to check around and continue to move slowly in a straight line and at a 45 angle towards the kerb.
When you start to approach the kerb you need to do a full turn right to bring the front of the car towards the kerb to make it parallel, before doing this check around the car to make sure that it’s safe for the front end to move to the kerb.
When your close and parallel to the kerb, do 1 full turn left to leave the wheels straight then stop, apply handbrake and select neutral. There’s no need to move back any further after wheels come straight, 1 full turn brought it in so it will move away with the same steering. Reference points will differ from one pupil to the next and will worked out for you by your Instructor when practising in lessons.
- Pull up alongside the car 1 metre away 1⁄2 a cars length past.
- Select reverse, 360° check and reverse back so the rear bumpers line-up, stop.
- 360° check, slowly move, 1 full turn left and move the car to 45°, check around again.
- When at 45° do one full turn right, continue moving back slowly, check again.
- When at the reference point do 1 full turn right, check around again.
- When parallel to the kerb, 1 full turn left, stop, handbrake and neutral.
- Avoid dry steering, keep the car slow, make effective observations.