By Jane Woodhams
Published: Thursday, September 7, 2017
Updated: February 20, 2019 at 12:52 pm
It’s a manoeuvre we all learn when getting our licence, but continues to cause dread when we’re faced with the real-life situation. Follow this foolproof guide and you’ll be parallel parking like a pro in no time.
You’ve spotted an ever-elusive parking space up ahead, but before committing to the spot, you’ll need to make sure your car will actually fit. If possible, drive up next to the space so you can judge its size. As a guide, it should be at least 2m longer than your car.
Parallel parking is easier if you use the cars on either side of the space as a guide. Put your left indicator on and drive up so you’re directly next to the car you’re parking behind, lining the back of your vehicle up with the back of theirs. Leave an arm’s length between the two cars.
Check there’s no oncoming traffic. If the path’s clear you can start moving back slowly, turning your steering wheel to the left as you go.
If you have a rear-view camera, it’s still important to turn around and scan the road yourself.
Keep reversing until your car’s at a 45-degree angle – you’ll know when you’re at this angle because you’ll be able to see the car behind you in your back right window.
Next, continue moving back, turning your wheel fully towards the right until you’re in the space. As you’re reversing, look in your left-hand side mirror to keep an eye on the kerb and remember to look out for any oncoming traffic.
Don’t forget to monitor how close your bonnet is to the car in front. If your tyres hit the kerb, you’ve gone too far and you’ll need to move forward to straighten up.
Now it’s time for the finishing touches. First, you should straighten up and make sure your car’s parallel to the kerb. You can do this by checking where your wheels are in your left side mirror.
In SA, you must park as near as practical to the left side of the road. The last thing to do is turn your steering wheel back to the centre, so your wheels are straight again.