Parallel Parking – the facts!

One of the most common ‘fears’ that my students have is learning to parallel park. I believe that this is mainly down to the fact that many parents/people of my age were not taught the manoueuvre as it never used to be part of the driving test. As a result, parents tell their children that parking is really hard’! Their minds are soon changed once they have attempted this manouevure with me as they are now armed with the information they need to do it properly. I have had plenty of people I teach tell me that this is their favourite manoeuvre once I have taught it to them.

After I passed my driving test many moons ago, I had to teach myself how to parallel park. I found I was fine. I took it slowly, observed well and didn’t get flustered. Over the years, however, I became worse and worse and when I learnt to become an instructor, this was the manoeuvre I was most nervous about learning to teach to others. But I needn’t have worried – everything fell into place! I realised that I was rushing, not looking and worrying about other people. In a word, I had become over-confident.

Now, I really enjoy this manouevre, I’m not afraid of what other people thing and I enjoy teaching it.

The instructions I give my students on how to attempt the parallel park is as follows:

  • Pull up next to the car you are going to park behind, leaving a reasonable distance.
  • Check all around, including  including blind spots before you move
  • When the back of your car is adjacent to the back of the car you are parking behind steer towards the kerb
  • As you very slowly move, your car will move out diagonally. Once your car is diagonal with the car you are parking behind then take your steering back to the right to straighten your wheels up
  • Once your rear wheel is close enough to the back kerb, steer to the right to bring your car next to the kerb
  • As your car straightens up with the kerb next to you then steer quickly back to the back to the left to straighten up
  • Don’t forget to look around you regularly and, if anyone is coming up or down the road, then wait and check that they are definitely going to stop for you

In basic terms, the steering is left, right, right left! Remember to keep calm and focussed. As with any manoeuvre, t’s all about control and observation. I also highly recommend some small, round blindspot mirrors to stick onto your usual side mirrors. It really helps you to get a better view of the kerb. I’m all for making life easy!

Stuck with parking? Need help? Need driving lessons? If you live in the Berkshire/Surrey/Hampshire area and are looking for a a Driving Instructor, then, try me! My website is I also provide gift vouchers 🙂

I’ve linked this post up to Emily Davies Writes and 

Next week: What to do if your brakes fail



  1. June 21, 2014 / 4:49 am

    You really make it seem so easy with your presentation but I find this
    topuc tto bee actually something that I think I would
    never understand. It seems too complex and very broad for me.
    I am looking forward foor your next post, I’ll try to gett the hang
    of it!
    kindergarten recently posted..kindergartenMy Profile

  2. May 15, 2013 / 12:28 pm

    Thanks for this! A very handy how-to guide, I find it mainly goes wrong with me if I’m feeling watched. Also, my road is curved which is a nightmare for parallel parking! Have you got any tips for how to judge a curved curb?
    Judith recently posted..A Dutch ChildhoodMy Profile

    • Victoria
      May 15, 2013 / 12:36 pm

      Try to follow it as best you can. You can get some EXCELLENT small round blind spot mirrors from Halfords which you stick on the bottom left hand corner of your wing mirror. It means you can see the kerb and your tyre really easily – cost £3.99 each and worth every penny! I have used them on all my teaching cars 🙂

  3. April 7, 2013 / 4:44 pm

    I used to be able to parallel park. I learnt in preparation for my test. Unfortunately, somewhere between living in the sticks and moving to London, I’ve forgotten how to do it. I’ll use your rules, but I suspect I may be a lost cause…:-)
    Nell @ the Pigeon Pair and Me recently posted..Silent SundayMy Profile

  4. April 6, 2013 / 7:18 pm

    It may not strictly speaking be a ‘hobby’ but it’s something I’ve never mastered! My downfall is definitely that I feel under pressure as everyone is waiting for me….I’m getting better but it’s been 25 years now! Thanks for linking up to #oldiesbutgoodies this week 🙂

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

CommentLuv badge