New drivers will know what I’m talking about.
In the first few months when I got my car, I would rather spend fifteen minutes waiting for a vertical parking lot even when there were plenty of empty parallel parking lots around as I was not confident of doing parallel parking.
But now, give me the tightest spot and I can still slot my car in without breaking a sweat.
Talk is cheap so here’s an image of my car parked so near to the curb that I’ve to take a picture to show off to my friends:
Now that my ego is boosted, let’s go back to the topic of how to parallel park.
I’m still not an expert, but when I see an empty parallel parking lot, I’ll seize it just like a vertical parking lot.
Here’re the tricks to park like a boss that I wished someone told me back when I was a newbie.
1. Gauge your car’s length with the lot before committing
Don’t just go with “feel” for this: you can stop beside the empty lot and take a glance.
There should be, if possible, at least 1.5x length of your car so that you won’t have difficulty going in (and getting out).
If so, you can move on to the next step.
2. Stop slightly in front of the car in front of the lot, but not too far from it
And when you reverse, turn your steering wheel immediately and reverse in at 45-degree.
Your car should always remain close to the car in front; don’t leave too much space, if not you’ll not have the room to move closer to the curb.
3. Reverse slowly and check your mirrors at all times
The trick is to always ensure that you’re just centimetres away from the car in front of you. Initially, you can do so with your side mirror: Just keep on staring at it until almost half of your car is in the lot.
4. Lean forward to gauge the distance between your bonnet and the car in front
When your car is halfway in and you need to turn your steering wheel to adjust into the lot, you’ll face the fear of grazing the car in front of you.
Just lean forward so that you can see more of your car bonnet—that will lessen your fear.
If you can’t do that when reversing, you need to go back to driving school.
5. Once in, reverse as much as possible to the car behind
You’ve got reverse sensors to help you, don’t you?
So just reverse ALL the way back so that you can adjust your car easier.
Just for the record (and for me to show off), my car has no reverse sensors, so if you’re just like me, simply open the door, look out and reverse.
You should be very familiar with that since we (the sensors-less drivers) do that regularly.
6. Make as many adjustments as you want
You’re in the lot. You’re not obstructing anyone.
Just adjust as many times as you want. I once went front and back like, twenty times maybe, just to get the car completely in (but I remember it was an illegal parking spot, hence I’ve to ensure it’s very close to the edge).
Adjust to your heart’s content!
7. Get help
Trust me, it has been proven that people live to increase their self-esteem, so if you ask for help from any driver, they’ll gladly help to guide you or even park for you as that makes them feel good.
So essentially, you’re doing a good deed. I’ve personally helped someone park before (but it was a disaster because I was not used to an automatic transmission—let’s leave that for another day).
Now, what are you waiting for? Follow these tricks and you’ll parallel park like a boss! Just, erm, tell me where you’re parking so that we can avoid that area, though.