Some years ago, I attended a function at my daughter’s high school. These events are very well attended and parking is hard to get but I found a space and parked and was walking towards the building when a car came to a stop in the middle of the street where there was a parking space and a woman jumped out. I knew her because she was the mother of my daughter’s friend. She gave me her car keys and asked me if I would park her car for her in the space because she did not know how to parallel park.
Parallel parking was never a problem for me. It is not that I get it right every time. On occasion, I have to pull out and start again and at others I have to go forward and back several times before it is parked correctly but it is usually pretty smooth. But it completely baffles some people, as can be seen from this effort captured by an amused onlooker. (Warning: language)
One person has provided step-by-step instructions that, if followed exactly down to the letter, guarantee success every single time. The creator of this says that parallel parking is not a ‘skill’ that comes with practice. It is something that anyone can do right off the bat if they only follow these directions EXACTLY.
- Drive around until you find a spot that looks big enough.
- Pull up even to the front car. If your cars are different lengths, line up the back of your car with the back of the front car as best you can. You don’t have to be exact here.
- While stopped, turn your wheel all the way to the right. ALL THE WAY. Don’t move forward or back while doing this!
- Turn around and look out the back of your car.
- Begin backing up. Your car should start turning into the spot. Don’t turn your wheel away from the all-the-way-right position!
- Stop backing up when the right-front corner of the rear car is in the exact middle of your rear windshield. If you imagine a line extending backwards from your car along its centerline, you stop when the right-front corner of the rear car reaches that line.
- I said STOP.
- While stopped, turn your wheel back to the middle position.
- Back up slowly until your car just barely clears the front car, then stop again.
- Turn your wheel all the way to the left. All the way! Stay stopped while you do this.
- Now keep backing in. Don’t turn your wheel away from the all-the-way-left position!
- Once your car is parallel, STOP and then turn your wheel to face forwards again.
The author thinks that most people mess up because they are turning the wheel while still in motion and that the key is to STOP at the places indicated and turn the wheel to the new position while stopped. That seems to be the secret to getting it right each time.