Parallel Park Help

Manoeuvre Help - Parallel Park

Driving Test Manoeuvre Help

The parallel park is a very useful manoeuvres to learn because of the number of times drivers have to use it.

One of the main concerns pupils have about this manoeuvre in the driving test is whether they will be able to get into a tight parking space. However, candidates are asked to park behind a car, not in between 2 cars, so this isn't a problem.

The other common problem learners have at the end of the parallel park, is trying to remember whether the wheels are straight or at an angle. This is important because the Examiner will expect the wheels to be left parallel to the kerb on a level road.

Parallel Park

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Manoeuvre - Parallel Park

Where will the manoeuvre take place?

During the driving section, the Test Examiner will advise the candidate that they want them to carry out a parallel park. The Examiner will choose the car they want the candidate to park behind.

It will be at a suitable location, which means the road should be: fairly quiet; wide enough to perform a parallel park and with no obstructions (parked vehicles etc.) blocking the manoeuvre.

What's the most important thing to remember in a manvoeuvre?

When Driving Instructors are training, they learn 3 pieces of knowledge that are crucial to teaching pupils a successful manoeuvre.

  1. Observation

  2. Control

  3. Accuracy

What it says on the Driving Test Marking Sheet...

  1. Reverse exercises

    You will need to display the ability to control the vehicle safely whilst reversing to the left, right, when parking on the road or into a parking bay. You must take good effective all round observation throughout the manoeuvre and show consideration to other road users.

Observation - Parallel Park

The Examiner will be watching your observation very closely because it is such an important safety feature of any manoeuvre.

When the Examiner asks you to start the manoeuvre, get the car ready to move off and do the usual observations before moving.

Because other road users won't be expecting your vehicle to stop and perform a parallel park, it's important that you look for vehicles, cyclists and pedestrians, in fact, anyone who might be effected by your manoeuvre.

It's absolutely crucial that throughout each stage of the manouevre, you keep checking all around the car, because the situation can and often does change frequently e.g another vehicle approaching or a pedestrian crosses the road.

As you begin to steer in towards the kerb, pay attention to the blind spot over your right shoulder - this is when the front of your vehicle will swing into the centre of the road

If another road user approaches

Make a decision on what to do; based on safety.

  1. Pedestrians

    Wait for them to cross the road or pass on the pavement. Pedestrians are vunerable and it can be daunting for them to see a car heading towards the area where they're walking.

  2. Cyclists

    Are more likely to cycle past during the manoeuvre, so again, it's better to wait or be prepared to stop .

  3. Vehicles

    Where there's room, drivers might continue past during the first parts of this manoeuvre, so keep an eye out for vehicles approaching and be prepared to stop. If a vehicle stops, make sure you stay aware of what they are doing because they may well begin to move.

    When your vehicle is in the final stage of the manoeuvre e.g. more or less at the edge of the road, it's generally safe to continue moving whilst vehicles pass.

    It's perfectly acceptable to wave a vehicle past, providing there's room to do so. Also, because you are waving the vehicle through, it's your responsibility to check the opposite direction to ensure it's safe for them to do so.

Control - Parallel Park

Controlled Pace

The parallel park requires a slow driving pace for 2 reasons.

  1. It gives adequate time for observation.

  2. It enables the driver to turn the steering wheel quickly in a short distance so the vehicle gets far enough round to complete the manoeuvre.

    NOTE: turning the steering wheel whilst stationary damages the tyre tread.

Good Clutch Control is the key

To crawl along, raise the clutch just inside the bitting point. If the car begins to pick up speed, lower the clutch slightly.

Often the edge of a road slopes down towards the kerb, so as your vehicle approaches the side it may speed up. Be prepared to quickly lower the clutch all the way down, whilst using the brake to control the speed.

Accuracy - Parallel Park

On the driving test, there will be plenty of room behind the target vehicle - you won't be asked to get into a tight parking space!! The general rule is that a candidate will be expected to park within the space of about 2 cars lengths behind the target vehicle.

You should aim to keep your vehicle up to 6 inches (about a tyres width) from the kerb.

If you hit the kerb, as well as being dangerous, there's also a chance of damaging a wheel, tyre wall or body work.

Driving Test Tip

During the Parallel Park, glance into the door mirror to keep up to date with your vehicle's distance from the kerb

At the end of this manoeuvre, your vehicle should be parallel to and up to 6 inches from, the kerb, with it's wheels straight. If you aren't sure, look around and ask yourself if you'd be happy to leave the car overnight? If it feels like it could cause a hazard to other road users, reverse back and/or drive forwards again, to adjust the final position.