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Wednesday, February 11, 2009

Safely Parallel Park Your Car

The part of our driving exam we all remember the most is parallel parking. Many drivers, with years of experience, still have a problem with it. With practice and following these tips below parallel parking can be done both safely and with ease.

The first step to parallel parking and to avoid a collision is to let other drivers know your intentions. When approaching a parking spot, check your rear view mirrors for traffic behind you. Keep in mind the drivers behind you are probably not expecting you to slow and stop. As a safety measure, if a car behind is following too closely, look for another parking spot. Warn drivers behind you by lightly tapping your brakes two or three times and turn on your right turn signal as you slow down gently.

Once you have warned other drivers, slowed to a stop, and determined that the parking space is large enough for your car, follow these steps to park:

  • Pull up within two to three feet next to the car in the space ahead. Your rear bumper should be even with the rear bumper of the other car.

  • Shift into reverse, turn your steering wheel sharply to the right and slowly start to back up.

  • Start straightening the wheel when your passenger seat is even with the rear bumper of the other car.

  • Continue backing and turn your wheel sharply to the left once the front of your car has cleared the car ahead.

  • Once you feel you are parallel with the curb, turn your wheel sharply to the right to straighten the wheels.

  • Stop your car before you hit the car behind.

  • Shift into drive and straighten up your car in the space. You should be no more than 12 to 18 inches away from the curb.

  • View a Video Demonstration of Parallel Parking

    If you live in a location where you have to parallel park regularly, you may consider getting a backup warning sensor as an option on your next car purchase.

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