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How To Parallel Park

A video of a nervous motorist repeatedly failing in a parallel parking manoeuvre has gone viral on the internet – highlighting one of the most common problems faced on the roads. Drivers of all levels of experience can run into trouble when trying to park between two cars, with research suggesting that even those who have held a licence for years can struggle.

About one in six say they are not confident parallel parking, but if you follow a few simple steps, there is nothing to fear and you will get it right first time:

  • The key to successful parallel parking is to have confidence in what you’re doing, so stay calm, breathe deeply and concentrate on the matter at hand. Perhaps turn off the radio, put out your cigarette and put any conversations with your passengers on hold.
  • Most importantly, and it may seem obvious, make sure the space you are aiming for is big enough for your car to fit into without scraping those in front and behind. The gap needs to be a few feet longer, so pull up alongside it and check.
  • Now indicate in the direction of your target space and move forward until you are directly alongside the vehicle which will be in front of you when you have completed parking.
  • Keeping an eye on your rear-view mirror to see where the car behind is, and the wing mirrors to watch out for the kerb and other road users, turn the wheel in the direction of the kerb and begin to reverse very slowly into the space.
  • As you approach the kerb and are about a foot away, quickly turn the steering wheel to full-lock the other way and keep going slowly. This will cause the front end of the car to swing into the space to sit snugly behind the car in front.
  • Still going very slowly and monitoring your mirrors, turn the wheel back to the centre and straighten up the wheels as you come to a stop. You should find yourself nicely parallel to the kerb.
  • If you find yourself too close to the car behind and with a bigger gap in front, you may now move the car slightly forward to sit in the centre of the parking space.
  • All done. Now you can get out, marvel at your skills and wonder why you were so worried in the first place.
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