June 18th, 2020 by Fix Auto USA
Let’s face it — most drivers forget how to parallel park in the months and years after they earn their driver’s license. Yet, parallel parking is a valuable skill. If you know the ins and outs of parallel parking, you may land your dream parking spot.
What Is Parallel Parking?
Parallel parking refers to a parking maneuver in which you fit your car in the space between two vehicles. Generally, parallel parking requires you to select an empty space that is at least 5 feet longer than your car. You can back your car into this space, then move it forward, so there is sufficient room between your vehicle and the cars in front of and behind it.
You may have practiced parallel parking as part of your training to earn your driver’s license. In addition, you may have been required to parallel park your car as part of your driving exam. However, parallel parking skills can deteriorate if they are not used regularly.
Is There a Parallel Parking Trick?
There is no parallel parking trick that drivers can use to quickly and safely parallel park their cars. But, with ongoing practice, you can become more comfortable with parallel parking. As a result, you’ll be well-equipped to parallel park your car at any time.
Must-Know Parallel Parking Tips
For drivers who are searching for easy tips for parallel parking, here are eight parallel parking tips you need to know:
1. Find the Right Spot
Consider your car and the size of the parking spot before you try to parallel park. If your vehicle appears too big for a parking spot, look elsewhere. Otherwise, you risk bumping into the car parked in front of or behind that parking spot.
2. Activate Your Directional
Turn on your car’s directional to indicate to other drivers that you are preparing to parallel park. Pull your vehicle as close to the empty space as you can.
3. Put Your Car in the Right Position
Put your car parallel to the empty space where you want to park. Place your car in front of the empty space, with about 2 to 3 feet between your vehicle and the car parked to your right (in front of the space where you plan to park your car).
4. Check Your Rear and Side Mirrors
Glance at your rear and side mirrors and check your blind spots. Then, when you are ready, shift your car into reverse.
5. Back-Up Slowly
There is no need to rush into a parking spot, especially if you are parallel parking. So, slowly back up your car as you make your way toward the empty space.
6. Maintain Control of the Steering Wheel
As you back into an empty space, gradually turn your car’s steering wheel to the right. Then, straighten the wheel as you make your way into the parking spot. Continue to check your rear and side mirrors to ensure you are not at risk of hitting any cars surrounding your vehicle and the parking spot. Next, after your car moves past the rear bumper of the vehicle in the parking spot in front of the empty space, turn your steering wheel to the left and move into the parking spot.
7. Finalize Your Position
Ensure your car is as close to the curb as possible. You should also position your car so that vehicles parking in front of and behind you have ample room to pull in and out of their respective parking spots.
8. Look for a Meter
Cities and towns often have meters in place for on-street parking spots. Thus, keep an eye out for a parking meter and pay the meter before you leave your car.
Finally, take your time to parallel park your car. In doing so, you’ll ensure that your vehicle is safely parked in a spot. You’ll also make it easy for yourself and the cars in front of and behind your vehicle to enter and exit.
What to Do If You Bump a Car While You Parallel Park
If you inadvertently bump a car while you parallel park your vehicle, there is no need to panic. Instead, you need to take responsibility for your error.
If you are parallel parking and strike a car while the driver is absent, leave a note with your name, address, and other pertinent contact information on the vehicle. Or, if the driver is present, call the police and exchange contact and insurance information with the other driver. Try to stay calm, cool, and collected throughout the accident, take photos of any damage, and get an accident report from the police officer on scene. You should also report the accident to your insurance provider.
In many instances, damage caused by bumping another car while you are parallel parking is minimal. If you’re upfront and honest about bumping a car, the driver of this vehicle may even be willing to forgo an insurance claim.
The Bottom Line on Parallel Parking
Parallel parking can be difficult, even if you’re an experienced driver. Thankfully, the more often you practice, the easier it becomes to parallel park. And as you become more comfortable with parallel parking, you should have no trouble parallel parking to consistently get the best available parking spot.
This blog post was contributed by Fix Auto Salinas a leading industry expert and collision repair shop servicing the Monterey County.