Ann's Driving School, San Francisco's Woman Owned and Operated Driving School. 415.777.8666

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Stressless Parallel Parking

Judy, owner and driving instructor, shares some of her parking tips with you and readers of Lifetime Magazine, April 2004
To parallel park successfully, you need a space about 4-6 feet longer than your car. Then, it’s all about timing!
1. Use your indicator to signal a right turn*. Stop to the side of the front car (the car you are parking behind), so that the cars are about even and about an arm’s length apart (20-26”).
2. While looking over your right shoulder, start backing slowly, then start turning the wheel to the right. Aim toward the right rear corner of the space.
3. When your front seat is in line with the rear bumper of the front car, stop and turn the steering wheel one revolution to the left to straighten the tires. Continue backing at this angle until your right front fender just clears the left rear fender of the front car. (At this point, your left rear bumper will be in line with the left front bumper of the back car.)
4. Quickly turn the steering wheel to the left and finish reversing into the parking spot. Looking over your left shoulder during this part of the maneuver may help you align with the rear car – or use your rear view mirror.
5. To straighten out, turn the steering wheel one revolution to the right before pulling forward.
Perfecting your skill is a matter of hand, eye, and foot coordination – and timing. Practice this maneuver repeatedly, slowly, until you are comfortable, then you can add more speed. Use an area that’s not busy, such as a parking lot, or a wide residential street so you won’t have to rush. You can use markers (cones, stanchions, lines) before trying this with real cars.
*These are instruction for parallel parking on the right-hand side of the road. On one-way streets, where left-side parking is possible, just reverse the left and right turns.
Click here to download this guide for printing.

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