Parallel parking can be a nightmare for even the most experienced drivers, but for novices the manouevre can seem like an insurmountable challenge. Learn to drive in London and the challenge is doubled; not only is it a tricky manoeuvre at the best of times, but you’ve got the additional worry of holding up traffic or causing a mishap.
Instructor training can help even the most nervous of parallel parkers become comfortable enough to nip in and out of the capital’s parking spaces (if they can find one!), but we’ve provided a quick run down of the theory behind parallel parking to set you on your way.
Firstly, and perhaps most importantly, make sure you pick a space that is big enough. If you’re behind the wheel of a Mini, then the chances are you’ll fit in most marked spaces – if your vehicle is a people carrier then you may have to be a bit more selective. Remember, it’s always worth walking further to your car if you know you’re going to find it all in one piece!
Next, pull up parallel to the car in front of the space that you wish to park in, lining up your wing mirrors and stop. Slowly reverse your car backwards using as little gas as possible and relying on the clutch until the back of your car lines up with the back of the car next to you.
Next, turn your wheel left to full lock – as far as it will go. Make sure that you are looking out of your wing mirrors and over both shoulders the whole time; the last thing you want to do is take out an unsuspecting pedestrian!
Begin reversing back very slowly with the wheel still on full lock and stop when the front corner of the car behind you is slap bang in the middle of your rear windscreen. Without moving the car, turn the steering wheel back to the middle position, then back in slowly until your car has just cleared the car in front.
Turn the wheel all the way to full lock on the other side (right) and continue to back into the space. Once your car is parallel to the cars in front and behind, come to a stop. If all has gone to plan, you should be parallel parked! Of course, you can slightly adjust once you’re in, if needed.
Remember, nothing beats instructor training when you’re learning to drive, and your instructor will be able to practise with you until you’re a perfect parallel parker!