Parallel parking can be one of the most daunting driving maneuvers, especially for inexperienced drivers or when under pressure during rush hour on a busy street. It involves fitting your car into a tight space between two other vehicles, and it requires skill and precision.
However, with practice and some helpful tips from one of Toronto’s premier valet services, you can become a pro at parallel parking. In this article, we will provide you with some valuable tips that will make parallel parking easier and less stressful, and maybe even fun.
Choose the Right Spot
The first step to successful parallel parking is to choose the right spot. Look for a space that is at least six inches longer than your car and park it in a straight line alongside the car in front of the space. This will give you enough room to maneuver your car into the space. Avoid parking on a slope or on a busy road where you could obstruct traffic.
Use Your Mirrors
Your mirrors are your best friends when parallel parking. They help you gauge the distance between your car and the vehicles around you. Adjust your mirrors to get a clear view of the space behind you and on both sides of your car. Use your rearview mirror to judge the distance between your car and the one behind you and your side mirrors to judge the distance between your car and oncoming traffic on the driver’s side, and point the passenger’s side mirror down so you can see the curb.
Practice Your Technique
Before you attempt to parallel park in a tight spot, it’s a good idea to practice your technique in a less crowded area. Find an empty parking lot or a quiet street and practice backing up in a straight line. Once you’re comfortable with this, try parallel parking between two empty parking spaces. This will help you build your confidence and improve your skills until you’re ready for parking at busy shopping centres.
Check Your Blind Spots
Blind spots are areas around your car that you can’t see in your mirrors. Always check your blind spots by turning your head and looking over your shoulder before you start backing up. This is kind of important as it can help you avoid hitting any pedestrians, cyclists or other vehicles that may be invisible to you as you concentrate on getting your angles right when backing up into the parking spot.
Use Your Brakes
When parallel parking, use your brakes to control the speed of your car if you need to slow down or stop. However, you can’t be moving too slowly as this can ruin your angle of entry into the space.
Back up Slowly
Parallel parking requires patience and precision. Take your time, and don’t rush. Move your car slowly and steadily into the parking space by matching your speed with the amount of turning you do on the steering wheel:
- Start to back up slowly, and turn your wheel towards the curb as you move backwards. Make sure you keep checking your mirrors and have a clear view of the other vehicles.
- Straighten up: Once your car is halfway into the spot, straighten up your wheels and continue to back up slowly.
- Leave enough space: Make sure you leave enough space in front and behind your vehicle to avoid any accidents. A good rule of thumb is to leave around one foot of space between your vehicle and the cars in front and behind you.
It is a good idea to always use your handbrake to prevent your car from rolling.
Use Reference Points
Using reference points can help you park your car more accurately. For example, you can use the curb or the car in front of you as a reference point. Try to line up your car’s rear bumper with the other car’s rear bumper, and use this as a guide to steer your car into the space.
Don’t Be Afraid to Start Over
If you find yourself in a tight spot and you’re having trouble parallel parking, don’t be afraid to start over. Pull out of the space and try again. Remember, practice makes perfect, and the more you practice, the easier parallel parking will become – until they finally perfect self-parking cars.
Ask for Help
If you’re really struggling with parallel parking, don’t be afraid to ask for help. Valet professionals are experts at parking cars in tight spaces, and they can give you some valuable tips and advice. You can also ask a friend or family member to assist you by standing outside the car and guiding you into the space.
Finally, the most important tip for parallel parking is to stay calm. Don’t let the stress of the situation get to you. Take a deep breath, relax your shoulders and focus on the task at hand. Remember, parallel parking is a skill that can be learned and perfected with practice.
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In conclusion, parallel parking can be a nerve-wracking experience, but it doesn’t have to be. By following these tips from valet professionals, you can become a parallel parking pro in no time and even pass the parallel parking during a driving test with ease.
Remember to choose the right spot, use your mirrors, practice your technique, check your blind spots, use your brakes, take it slow, use reference points, don’t be afraid to start over, ask for help and stay calm. With a little practice and some patience, you’ll be able to parallel park like a pro and impress your friends and family with your parking skills. Happy parking!