Parallel Parking


One of the most common things drivers avoid doing is parking; parallel parking to be specific, even though it is part of the G2 road test. It can actually be easier to complete than most people realize. Part of your success is finding the right steps for you and practicing them often enough to be consistent with those steps. The following are a few easy steps to make it easier for you.

The first part of parallel parking is to find a space large enough to fit your vehicle. You should look for a space 1.5 to 2 vehicle lengths long. Once you gain confidence with parallel parking, you’ll be able to park in smaller spaces. Since you’re just getting used to parallel parking, it would be a good idea to practice on a quiet road. Practicing on a busier road with heavier traffic may put added pressure on you, which may cause you more frustration.

To start the maneuver, signal right and drive up and stop beside the lead parked vehicle and parallel to it at approximately one metre away and slightly ahead of that vehicle. Select reverse as soon as you stop so your reverse lights activate. Your signal and reverse lights will communicate to anyone approaching from behind you will be reversing and they would either go around you or wait well back.

Once you know it’s clear all around your vehicle, begin moving your vehicle slowly in reverse at approximately walking speed. When you can see the rear corner of the parked vehicle you are next to in the rearmost side window of your vehicle, begin steering at average speed all the way toward the curb (right) while looking behind you over your shoulder. Shifting onto your right hip may make this maneuver easier to do.

Continue steering all the way and when your vehicle reaches close to a 45-degree angle to the curb, begin steering at average speed the opposite way as far as the steering goes. Keep steering and avoid stopping. As you continue to steer, have a quick glance at the front passenger side corner of your vehicle to ensure it is passing the corner of the parked vehicle. It should miss it with ease as long as you keep the vehicle moving continuously.

As you now approach the parked vehicle directly behind, keep looking over your right shoulder at the vehicle behind you as that will help you get straight and parallel without getting too close to it. Look through the parked vehicle behind you so you can use your peripheral vision to judge when you are parallel with the curb. If you have a backup camera, you could take a very quick glance when you’re getting so close to the vehicle behind you that you know when to stop.

Once you stop, you can either begin to straighten your wheels while still in reverse, or you can pull forward to straighten your wheels. If the space is a little on the small side, pulling forward is safer and easier. Look through the parked vehicle so you can use your peripheral vision again to help remain parallel to the curb. Steering quickly will help you remain parallel. Once you’ve straightened your wheels, put the gear selector into park and you’re done. Not too difficult now was it?