Parallel parking is hugely important to master, please take you time read this section over and over while visualising in your head.
Parallel park …
‘I would now like you close to the kerb, stop the car within two car lengths and parallel to the kerb. Move off when you are ready’.to demonstrate the Parallel Park exercise. Pull up alongside the vehicle in front of us. Reverse back keeping reasonably close to the kerb, stop your car within two car lengths and parallel to the kerb. Move off when you are ready.’
For this manoeuvre, all you’ve got to do is focus on getting the rear wheel next to the kerb but not allow it to run into the kerb. Of course you need to do all round observations and watch out for any traffic – but just focus on getting the rear wheel next to the kerb and this way it doesn’t matter whether it’s a car you’re reversing around, a van, a skip or even a big pile of rubbish.
To begin the exercise, select a quiet side road ensuring that you choose a safe and convenient place to stop next to the kerb. Ensure that you don’t block or obstruct any entrances or driveways and that you don’t stop opposite another vehicle or obstruction.
You should stop your vehicle on the left-hand side of the road about 2 or 3 car lengths before the vehicle you are intending to parallel park behind. Decide if you need to signal to any other road users as you stop. Handbrake on and select neutral.
At this point it would be a good idea to adjust your left-hand side door mirror downwards so that you can see the left rear wheel arch and the left hand kerb.
Some instructors will suggest you use other vehicles as reference points. But if you line up your door mirror with the back door handle of the car you’re reversing around, if it’s two door car it won’t work or a van it won’t work. Some will tell you at a certain point to turn the steering to full lock and when you reach an angle of 40 degrees to turn the wheel away from the kerb. But this gets very complicated and difficult to remember. Instead, just focus on where that rear wheel is, don’t allow it to go into the kerb and you’ll end up parked.
Remember POM POM …
Remember POM POM. Prepare, Observe, Manoeuvre. Select 1st gear ready to move off.
Take a good look all round the car being aware of any other road users such as vehicles, pedestrians or cyclists nearby, and wait if necessary or in doubt.
As soon as it is clear and safe to move off, drive the car forwards very slowly, under strict clutch control, turning the steering wheel to the right. Aim to pull up alongside the target vehicle keeping a door width away and side by side. Stop your car. Handbrake on. Select neutral.
Select reverse gear …
Select reverse gear. Find the clutch ‘bite’ point to take into account any camber of the road and to ensure that your car will not roll forward. Take all the time you need to be certain that you have the ‘bite’ point as the accuracy is much more important than the speed at which you get the car ready to move off.
Put your hand on the handbrake ‘ready’ to release it – but DON’T release it yet.
Remember to concentrate on POM POM. Prepare, Observe, Manoeuvre very slowly under strict clutch control.
Once you have the ‘bite’ point, you are now ready for the ‘O’ of POM POM, Observation. Look out of every window of your car to make sure that the road is absolutely clear. If anyone is approaching, wait to see what they do next. If they wait for you, you should continue. If they continue, you should wait. So effectively you don’t need to make the decision. ‘they’ make it for you, and you just do the opposite to what ‘they’ do,
When you are satisfied that it is safe to proceed, you have reached the ‘M’ for Manoeuvre part of the exercise. Release the handbrake and watch over your left shoulder maintaining strict clutch control to keep your car moving very slowly backwards. Keep a constant lookout for approaching road users from in front and behind.
When you ‘feel’ that your rear bumper has just passed the back of your target vehicle, turn the steering wheel ‘towards’ the kerb, whilst maintain strict clutch control. If necessary, because of the camber of the road, you may need to use the footbrake to control the speed of your car.
Now watch the left-hand door mirror. When you ‘feel’ that the rear wheel – nearest the kerb – is getting closer to the kerb, turn the steering wheel gently and gradually ‘away’ from the kerb.
Keep a constant lookout for approaching from in front and behind. When you ‘feel’ that your car is straight and parallel with the kerb, turn the steering quickly ‘away’ from the kerb to ‘straighten up’. Stop the car. Handbrake on. Select neutral.
If necessary, move the car forwards again, but remember to allow yourself enough room to move off after you have completed the manoeuvre.