Hot Learner Driving Tips: Parallel Parking

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Hi everyone, thought I might write a little bit about the reverse parallel park and some of the aspects of the test that isn’t talked about that much.

Being a driving instructor one of the most common things I get asked to teach a student is how to reverse parallel park. If you went and did a survey of all the drivers in Brisbane on how to do it I’m sure you would get lots of different responses. More importantly, most drivers probably avoid doing them in their day to day drive any way. Which begs the question, why is it part of the test and why do we place so much importance on it?

Well, the answer is that it really isn’t that important. The student is allowed 3 movements to get the correct position and even if the student doesn’t get it exactly right (or terribly wrong) it’s only marked as 1 non critical error. The student really needs to demonstrate to the examiner that they are able to control the cars’ speed and that they regularly check to the rear. Many students find it hard to perform to their best in the test, usually because of nerves, and this manoeuvre is tough especially when you know that any collision with the kerb is test over. And for that matter being too wide is a mark also.

The rule book gives an example of how to do this manouvre. The student should approach the parked car cautiously, coming up parallel to the parked car and stopping when the left side mirror is in line with the right side mirror of the parked car. Commence by looking to the rear and reversing slowly until the rear quarter glass window is in line with the rear corner of the parked car. From here we full lock to the left until a 45 degree angle is reached. Straighten the tyres and travel back far enough so that the front left hand side of your car will clear the parked car. Full lock to the right and continue in toward the kerb until the car is parallel to the kerb. It does take a bit of practice to get this right but its more about managing the speed of the car whilst sorting out how fast to turn the wheel. Apart from the placement of the car it is important to note that the student has to give way to any car that is in your lane. So, for the exam the student needs to be very careful about any car that may be coming towards them in their lane. For that matter, if the road is quite narrow the student may need to give way to any cars coming from the other direction if they are going to cross the centre of the road to achieve the right angle.

The correct final position for the reverse parallel park is for your car to be within 1 – 2 metres of the car in front, and within 45cms of the upright section of the kerb.

Hope this helps, remember the examiner is more concerned with driving appropriately for the situation. So, be safe, drive slow and look predominately to the rear!!!