How to park a car
Learning to park is one of the first things you can do to build
your driving skills. When you park, you perform many different
actions that will help you on the road - parking requires you to
use a number of driving skills (often at the same time) and become
very aware of the car’s dimensions and how it responds to your
Parking may seem intimidating, but with some good practice it'll
soon be second nature to reverse, start, stop and guide the car
Getting started – take small steps
Begin by setting an achievable learning goal for parking; tell
someone or write down how you think you will go. Later, compare
this to how you went.
Go to a safe and quiet place. Practice the following small
driving actions that make up parking; later, you’ll use them to
learn to park with precision:
- Drive forward at a slow walking pace.
- Drive forward at a slow walking pace whilst steering quickly as
if to pull out from a parked position and then into a parked
- Practice driving slowly and steering in reverse.
- If there is room available, try driving first to the right and
then first to the left.
- Drive at a running speed, stop smoothly, and then do the same
- Repeat the above steps until they take little effort.
- Then take more steps, and so on.
Repeat the steps until you find it easy to do. Aim to fit
parking practice into every driving session. When one type of
parking becomes easy, try doing it in a different place, time, or
Good parking habits
Many good driving habits are connected with parking. When you
park, make sure you check your mirrors before indicating, indicate
for five seconds, and look over your shoulder before pulling
Understand the experience
When you have strong thoughts or feeling about a parking
experience or situation, talk to your parent/supervisor about them,
the effect they have on you, and work out the best way of dealing
Parking avoidance syndrome
Many learner drivers delay learning to park; even some licensed
drivers avoid tricky parking situations.
Here are some of the more common reasons for avoiding it and
some suggestions on how to overcome the hurdles:
|Reason not to try
||Suggestion on how to handle it
|It might cause an argument with your parent/supervisor
||You won't actually be arguing about parking: you’ll be arguing
about something deeper. Work out what it is and you will solve
other problems too.
|You might crash the car
||Take the right-sized learning steps. Start with easier parking
aims, build up confidence and then tackle the more difficult
|Parking increases wear on the car
||Doing lots of non-stop parking can put extra strain on some
parts of the car. Before you start, get reasonably good at clutch
control by driving slowly while steering forwards and in reverse.
Then you can begin to vary the types of parks you do.
|Learning to park is too hard or too stressful
||Consider all the small parts that make up parking; driving
forward, reversing, turning. You can learn these quickly and as you
do, gradually put the parts together. Don't try and reverse
parallel park straight away. Take small steps towards learning how
and you'll find you can do it!
|Parking can wait until later
||Why delay something that can help you learn so much so quickly?
If you learn to park well early, the skills of controlling the car
will become second nature, and this will help you when you're out
on the road.
|It's not that important
||Maybe you think when you get your P's you can choose easy
parks. It's not always that simple, and you can end up driving
around looking and looking... being able to park well can be really
handy, and you can impress your friends.
|Don't know how
||Talk to your parent/supervisor or driving instructor and work
out the steps that you need to take together.