​Science Shows Us How to Parallel Park Perfectly

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Begin turning your steering wheel to the left

Once the front of your vehicle has passed the back bumper of the vehicle in the parking spot in front of you, begin to turn your steering wheel to the left.

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Reverse psychology

Of course, practice is the key to improving any skill, so try not to put yourself under too much pressure to get it right first time. Start by picking a quiet street and reversing behind one car only, then gradually build up to parking between two cars once you’re feeling more confident.

For more official DVSA advice about improving your driving skills, head over to the Safe Driving for Life shop and pick up a copy of The Official DVSA Guide to Driving – the essential skills.

Don’t forget to pay before you leave

Many parallel parking spaces are assigned a parking meter. This is particularly true in major metropolitan areas. Make sure that you remember to feed coins into your parking meter after you parallel park your car.

The perfect parallel parking technique

Indicate as you approach your allotted space slowly and with caution, making sure you are aware of traffic and hazards all around as you slow to a halt alongside the space.

Size up the space to make sure you’ll fit – if it’s one-and-a-half times the length of your car that’s ideal, but you’ll want at least 2ft of clearance at either end of your car to make room for manoeuvring.

Maintaining close attention to surrounding traffic and/or pedestrians, and still indicating, move slowly forward until you’re level with the car parked in front of your space. You should leave a gap of approximately 1m between your two vehicles.

Stop, and take the opportunity to check your mirrors and blind-spot, and make this critical safety check obvious to the examiner by being sure to turn your head.

Engage reverse gear, look over your left shoulder to see out through the rear windscreen, and as long as it’s safe to proceed you can begin reversing.

When your tyres are in line with the rear end of the car you’re planning to park behind, prepare for turning the wheel by pausing the reverse and checking your mirrors and blind spot again for hazards. Some people advise applying the handbrake for this safety check, but either way it’s critical to make sure the examiner is confident you are in control of the car and have good all-round awareness.

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