Do you want to park your car in a small space? Especially if you drive a lot in the city, good parallel parking is a must. In this article you can read how you can do that quickly and safely.
Step 2. Find a suitable place
Look for a spot that you can estimate will fit in and that you won't hit other cars. It is best to find a spot that is at least a meter longer than your car. But if you have to, you can also parallel park in a smaller spot; just as much as you can get out of a very small spot if other cars are parked very close to your bumper.
Step 3. Take a good look at the place as you drive by
- Is the spot really longer than your car? If not, keep looking.
- Are you overlooking things? Maybe it's a place where you're not allowed to park because of an exit. Or maybe there is a (short) time limit.
- Check whether the car you are going to stand behind has a tow bar. And keep your own tow bar in mind when estimating how big the place needs to be.
- Is there a high sidewalk next to the spot? Keep that in mind later, otherwise you may damage your paint if you pierce too sharply.
Step 4. Let others know that you are going to park and put the car in the correct position
When you've chosen the spot, turn on your turn signal and slow down. Look in the rear-view mirror to see if someone is right behind you. In that case, you should not apply too hard on the brakes. Brake gently so that the driver sees your brake lights and slowly slow down in a safe manner. Then stand right next to the car in front of the spot, with the center of your car (the spot between the front and back doors) level with the back of the car in front of your spot.
- If there is already a car with the flashing or reversing lights on, it means that he/she wants to park there. Wait quietly until he/she is parked and continue searching.
- If another car comes right behind you, stay where you are and keep your turn signal on. If necessary, lower your window and indicate with your arm that the driver is driving around you.
- The smaller the spot, the closer you have to stand next to the other car. 60 cm is a good distance if the spot is on the large side. Be careful not to hit the car. Pay close attention to the side of your door mirror and the mirror of the other car, but keep in mind that cars are often a bit wider under the mirrors.
- The reason for reversing into parking is actually very simple: you steer with the front wheels. That's why you need to get the rear of the car in place first and then align the front bit by bit.
Step 5. Ask for help (optional)
If you have chosen a really small spot and you have a passenger: ask him or her to get out and indicate how much space you have left. Open your window so you can hear the clues better. Or ask someone on the street to assist you.
Ask your 'assistant' to indicate the free space with his or her hands. Then you can estimate much better how much space you have left
Step 6. Prepare to reverse into parking
Put the car in reverse. Check the outside mirror on your side to see if the street is clear and no cyclists are approaching. Look over your right shoulder at the spot. Turn your handlebars far to the right.
Step 7. Back up into the spot
Gently accelerate and release the clutch, turning sharply to the right into the spot. While you are driving, always check how much space you have and that there are no cyclists riding. Try to drive into the spot so that there is a foot or two or less between the rear wheel and the pavement with about three feet between your car and the car behind you.
- Pay attention: during this maneuver the front of your car will swing slightly to the left. So be careful not to hit a cyclist or parked cars (on the other side of the street).
- Some people like to turn the right side mirror down slightly so they can see the curb. If you can no longer see the sidewalk in your mirror, you are probably a little too close to it.
- If your rear wheel hits the curb you've gone too far; then drive forward a bit and try again.
Step 8. Turn the car right again as you turn into the spot
Turn your handlebars to the left once the rear of the car is properly seated while still backing up (if you have enough space, a good time to start steering back is when your front bumper is level with the rear bumper of the car in front of you). This way you turn the car in the spot and at the same time turn right again, in line with the other cars.
- The front of the car now moves sharply to the right. The rear of the car may move a little to the left.
- When doing this movement, be careful not to hit the car in front of you.
Step 9. Turn the front of the car to the curb and center the car
- If you have a large spot, that means backing up as far as possible without hitting the bumper of the car behind you. When you're close, put the car back into first gear, turn your steering wheel to the right, and carefully move forward toward the curb so you're centering the car.
- In a tight spot you will have to move the car back and forth, just as long until the car is in the right position. Try not to hit the cars in front and behind you; if there is no other option, do it very gently so that no damage occurs.
- The rear wheels should already be in the right place, because there's not much you can do about the position of the rear.
- Drive carefully backwards. Move the front of the car to the curb. Put the car back in first gear, turn the steering wheel the other way and carefully move forward. Repeat this process until the car is properly parked.
- Position your car in the center of the spot. Do not park the car against another car.
- In the case of a very small spot, it is better not to move too close to the pavement in the car at first. The more inclined the car, the longer the diagonal of the car. In that case, it is better to also position the rear of the car by moving back and forth.
- For example, while you drive the car backwards into the spot, keep 60 cm away from the sidewalk.
- When you can't go any further, drive forward with the wheels turned sharply to the sidewalk. Now the car changes position without the rear wheels moving much.
- Turn the car straight while continuing to drive slowly forward. Now you pull the rear wheels forward and to the sidewalk.
- Repeat if necessary until you are in a good position.
- It won't work if you're too far from the curb. Then try all over again.
Step 10. If everything went well, you are now neatly parked
Don't worry if it didn't work out well. Put your turn signal back on, check your mirrors and drive the car out of the spot again. Take your time, start over slowly.
- If you are parked and you want to get out of the car, first look carefully in your wing mirror to see if there are cyclists or cars approaching.
- If you're standing next to a high sidewalk, it's a good idea to ask your passengers to open the door gently. If the door cannot open when the passengers get out, they should not use this door when boarding: the weight of the passengers will lower the car and damage the bottom of the door on the pavement.
- If you park in a shopping street, you can often use the reflection of the shop windows to see how much space you have left.
- Do not return too early or too late, or you will end up too far from the curb. It is more difficult to adjust your position afterwards than if you are too close to the pavement.
- Use the driver's side mirror to see if you've turned in far enough. Compare the side of your car (near the rear wheels) with the side of the other cars.
- Don't take any chances when in doubt. If traffic allows, you can get out and see how much space you have. Usually you have even more space than it seems in the mirrors.
- Try to steer while driving. Even if you move very slowly, it is much easier to turn your steering wheel. It is also better for the steering of the car.
Do not hold the steering wheel at the extreme position for too long, that can also be bad for the power steering system