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How to Parallel Park and Other Parking Tips

Many people struggle with parallel parking and reverse parking. These tips will help you park safely no matter where you’re going to or coming from.
One of the strangest things about learning to drive is realising just how complicated certain aspects can be, such as how to parallel park. It’s all fine when you’re on an open stretch of road... but if you’re anything like us, things become a lot more complicated the minute you have to manoeuvre yourself into a parking space.

Don’t worry, though - in this blog post, we’ll run through some top tips to help improve your parallel and reverse parking. We recommend that you book your parking space ahead of time, especially while you’re learning. After all, you don’t want the stress of trying to find a space added on top of getting the hang of reverse and parallel parking.


If only it were that easy.

 

How to Parallel Park


Just do a bit of fancy maneuvering and reverse in, right? Well, kind of.

It can look simple, seeing all those cars neatly arranged in lines by the side of the road - but getting there can be a nightmare. As anyone who has ever stayed up worrying themselves sick the night before a driving test can confirm, parallel parking is one of the more complicated things you have to do when driving.

These 3 parallel parking tips will help you get through it.



1) Find the right spot to park


It sounds obvious, but it’s harder than it looks. You should make sure the space you’re trying to get into is actually big enough for your car. Leave a couple of feet on either end of your vehicle - around a third of your total car length. Remember, forcing your way into a too small gap can create a whole new set of problems when it’s time to leave!

If you’re unsure, pull up slowly and judge the space from up close.


We sure are, Marge. We sure are.


 

2) Take your time while parking

Another simple, general tip, this one - but also another crucial one. Whatever you do, don’t rush! While going slowly can be frustrating, taking your time is crucial to parking safely and successfully. 

Trying to rush into a spot can increase your chances of making a dangerous driving mistake, and making you more distracted and less likely to be aware of other road users.



 

3) Move and steer your car correctly

While you should probably have some idea of how to manoeuvre your car, there’s no shame in using a few tricks to make sure you’re doing it right. After all, our brains aren’t exactly optimised from birth for steering huge chunks of metal and machinery into tight spaces. 

Luckily, we can break the process down into a few easy to follow steps:

  • Edge forwards until the centre of your front window is lined up with the front of the car in front of your space.

  • Check your mirrors and blind spot. Reverse until your back tyres are lined up with the back of the car in front.

  • Check the road around you. When it’s safe to do so, turn the steering wheel one complete turn away from the parking space. Reverse slowly.

  • Once you can see the kerb in your mirror and you’ve cleared the car in front, turn your wheel full lock in the opposite direction. Remember to steer quickly and reverse slowly - and go easy on the pedals! 

  • Straighten up as necessary. Make sure you’ve left enough space for the cars on either side to leave. 




 


How to Reverse Park

Now that parallel parking is out of the way we can address its little cousin: reverse parking. While reverse bay parking is probably not quite as feared by learner drivers as parallel parking, it can still be a pain. 

Luckily, with bay parking, you don’t need to worry about whether or not the space available is big enough - even the tightest bays should be able to fit your car. The space is there, you just need to get into it. 

These 2 tips on how to reverse park should help for those cases where you can’t just drive on in (which should be all the time, if you ask us - reverse parking rocks).
 

1) Position your car correctly

Once you’ve found an empty bay, position your car straight (aka perpendicular to the bays) and about a metre away from it. 

When you’re looking for a space, you should also keep an eye on the overall layout of the car park. As always, observation is crucial when manoeuvring. You can also make things a lot easier for yourself by staying away from areas likely to have a lot of through-traffic, such as entrances and exits.


 

2) Take your time to park and be safe

Just like parallel parking, reverse bay parking is much easier when you take things slow - not to mention much safer, as well.

Once you’ve carefully checked your windows and blind spots and you’re sure it’s safe to move, select reverse gear and move backwards until the first line of the bay aligns with your front car door.

Once you’re lined up, turn the wheel towards the parking spot until you reach full lock. Reverse slowly on full lock until you’re in the bay. Now straighten your wheels and reverse straight in.

And there you have it - you’re safely tucked away in your bay, and you haven’t made any new enemies by clipping another car’s wing mirror or scratching their paint job. Good job.


If that huge lorry can reverse park, so can you.
 

We hope that you’ll find these tips helpful the next time you’re out on the road and need to parallel or reverse park. Whether you’re commuting to work, going shopping, or just getting out and about, following these tips will help take some of the stress out of parking. 

For longer trips, longer stays, or journeys you’ve planned ahead, though, you can’t beat booking your parking space in advance. Check out some of our options here at Stashbee for a quick and easy way to book the perfect parking spot.

Alex

24th Dec 2020




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