I like writing about business. This one is about the business of parallel parking. Really.
I see people getting it wrong all the time. I just want to help.
Straight up… I am an excellent parallel parker. No matter what car or van I’m driving, I can pull into a space six inches longer than mine. Here’s a few tips to help you become parallel parking deft. I’m skipping all the regular stuff… like stopping, signaling, how far to pull up alongside the other car before backing in, the angle you’re going to take. That comes with practice.
You’re in position to back into the slot between two cars. Sweet.
Facing forward, with your left hand on the steering wheel, reach across your body with your right hand, grabbing the shoulder strap over your left shoulder. All together now… turn your head hard right, twisting your torso, pulling the shoulder strap with your right hand, resting your right bicep over your seat back. Let your buttocks raise a skosh, if needed.
This creates the freedom for you to be nimble and able, high on your new visual perch. You are now in the assertive parking position… ready for action.
This is no time for whimp-i-ness. In your new bad-ass parking-pose (sure, have your passenger bud take a pic and send it to me). You’re ridin’ high, can see better than ever before, ready to be a player. Though you still won’t be able to see the curb and car bumper behind you, you can see better than ever before. By the way… I’m not here to coach you on the math or geometry of this maneuver, just with a few athletic moves and a ‘just do it’ attitude.
Back up. Do the best you can on the angle. Go slow, steady, and don’t be worried about tapping the bumper behind you. I do it all the time. Bumpers are made of rubber and a little tap won’t hurt a thing. The real question is: are you willing? If not, this technique is not for you… and neither is awesome parallel parking. I’m just sayin’.
You might have tapped the bumper, maybe not… but in your heightened sense of athletica, with the altitude of your attitude… you were willing to.
Thaz right, We now come to bumper number two.
Release your relaxed-dominant-back-right facing orientation to a new relaxed and equally attitudinal mindset… facing fully forward with both hands on the wheel. Once again… slow and steady, this time forward. Inch along. If you’re there… you’re there. If not, keep going until that perfect kiss of off the front bumper. Now you know your limits… nothing left to guess… “it’s physics time”. If you’re straight in… just ease back a skosh, turn off the motor, give your passenger buddy a celebratory high-(holy-yes)-five.
You may not have done this in just the two steps (backing in once, going forward once)… no problemmo. Knife back and forth as needed, improving your angles, each time assuming the proper body- positioning. If you’re starting out… have a look first to see if anyone is in either car. Make your choice. After a while, you won’t much care… I have done this while people are in the car. Just have look a together afterwards… see that there’s no scratch what-so-ever, and say, “sorry”.
With practice, athleticism and attitude, you’ll get better fast.
Park with confidence. Keep me posted.