Reader G. sent me the link to this video of someone trying and failing miserably to parallel park and giving up after spending more that five minutes, even though the space was so large you could have parked an ocean liner there. I have seen and posted videos like this in the past but this is absolutely the worst I have seen. It is excruciating to watch.
The driver does not seem to know the basic fact that to parallel park, you have to back into the space. You can only go in head first if there is plenty of space. In this case there was but the driver messed up anyway. For those who know this basic fact but still find it hard, here is a set of steps that, if followed exactly will guarantee that you get it right every time.
- 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.
Most people do not stop when gong from one step to the next and this can cause problems.