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In the car park

American Government Special Collections Reference Desk

In the car park

Tim HillerbyMorgan
December 20, 2009

Tim HillerbyMorgan
http://www.driversedcompany.com

How to park a car?

This article is for anyone who has struggled to park at the supermarket on a Saturday or find a space in town.

The parking exercises were added to the driving tests in the early 1990s. They were introduced to tackle the rising number of car park bumps. They also increase the number of parking spaces in which you can park.

Learner drivers practice these manoeuvres in their driving lessons. The driving instructor will teach them the best techniques for them. The techniques in this article will suit most readers.

Remember - if you struggle with any aspect of driving contact a local driving school. They will be happy to help for the price of a driving lesson.

Parallel Park

Why do I need to know this?

This is possibly the most useful of the set manoeuvres.

In many towns, most of the parking spaces are on the road, alongside the kerb.

The chances are that you will need to fit in between two cars. If you drive into the gap, you will need at least four car lengths. If you reverse in to the gap, you will need about two car lengths. Reversing in increases the chance of being able to park.

How do I do this? Before you start

1.Check that the gap is big enough

2.Check that you are not going to hold up traffic

3.Check that the car behind you knows what you are doing

The manoeuvre

1.Draw alongside the car around which you are going to reverse. Position yourself as though you were going to pass it in a narrow road.

2.Stop with your shoulders level with the other cars door mirrors. Make sure that your car is straight and the steering wheel is straight.

3.Quickly take your seat belt off and put the car into reverse.

4.Look out of the left rear window. When you see the corner of the other car steer to the left until your car is at an angle of about 45 degrees to the kerb. It should be at about 45 degrees.

5.Look at the front of your car. Steer gently to the right.

6.When your tax disc is pointing at the kerbside corner of the other car steer hard to the right until the car is parallel with the kerb

7.Stop the car when it is close to and parallel with the kerb.

Points to note

Make sure that you finish with the car within two car lengths of the car in front. You should not block any driveways to your left

If, in your test, you are going to block a drive tell the examiner "I am going to reverse clear of the drive, but it will take me more than two car lengths from the car in front". Unless the examiner says so - get clear of the drive.

The Bay Park

Why do I need to know this?

It is normally safer to reverse into a parking bay. Imagine that you are at Tesco's on a busy Saturday. You have driven straight into a parking bay. You are reversing out after shopping. How far do you have to reverse before you see the child that has run off from its mum? Same situation, but you reversed into the bay. How far forward do you have to go before you see that child?

It is safer to reverse into a parking bay. You can see more when you pull out again.

Unless the parking bays are at an angle or other drivers have parked badly you should reverse into the parking bay.

This is the same skill as reversing around a sharp corner or onto a drive.

How do I do this?

There are two methods.

The straight bay park, and the angled bay park.

We will look at the straight bay park. Ask your driving school or driving instructor to take you through both methods.

Before you start

1.Chose your bay. It is normally easier to use the parking bays to your right.

2.Make sure that it is big enough. Can you get out of the car when you are parked? Don't laugh - it does happen.

Doing the bay park

1.Start this exercise some way forward from the nesting space.

2.Position the car towards the centre of the lane. Make sure that you let people know what you are doing. Put the car into reverse as soon as you can.

3.Look over your right shoulder, reverse back very slowly, steer the car into your target bay.

4.As the car straightens up check your door mirrors. Make sure that the car is in the centre of the bay. Straighten the car and the steering wheel.

5.Look behind you - you do not whant to hit another car. Points to note It is vital that you keep checking all around you as you reverse into the parking bay.

----------------------------------------------------
The Drivers Ed Company manage the BTEC in Driving Skills. This combines the work of driving instructors, driving schools and learner drivers. The online course runs alongside driving lessons to form a powerful driver training aid. This course will improve pass rates and reduce deaths on the roads.
http://www.driversedcompany.com

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