Parallel parking can be very very tricky even for an experienced driver. Often the most practiced manoeuvre of your driving lessons and yet also the cause of many failures. This is why of all the various procedures and manoeuvres you have to perform on your driving test, parallel parking is the part that makes people the most nervous. Here’s a step by step guide to help you through.

Find a parking space

Parallel parking is when you park your car in the space in between two other parked vehicles. To practice parallel parking, firstly you need to find a suitable space that you feel you can safely get your car into without touching any of the other vehicles. Ask yourself, is the space big enough? If there is any doubt at all go and find another place to park. It’s not worth risking damaging any one else’s vehicle as well as your own.

Is it a safe place to park?

Access the parking space, is it okay for you to park there? Are there any double yellow lines? restrictions on which hours you are allowed to park? Parking meters? Will you be blocking a drive way or blocking in one of the other vehicles?

Time to parallel park

Once you have found a space to park, slow down, check your mirrors and pull up next to the car in front of the space, correctly positioned to reverse in. Change into reverse gear and signal using the indicators so that other road users and pedestrians are aware that you have claimed the space and are ready to perform a reverse parallel park.

Checking your mirrors for pedestrians and other road users, slowly and accurately begin to back into the space. Keep checking your mirrors and the road ahead, if you see another vehicle approaching from behind and front stop and wait for them to pass before you continue. When you backing up and aligned with the vehicle slowly turn your steering wheel in order to position your car at a 45 angle. If at any point you feel you are not in the correct position, carefully pull back out and start again.

Back most of the way in and start to turn your steering wheel in order to straighten out and take care not to touch the curb, if you touch the curb during your driving test it is a fail. The final part of the manoeuvre is to tuck the front end of your car in by turning the steering wheel towards the direction of the curb and slowly edging forwards until you arrive in the correct position parallel to the curb.