Home Lifestyle How to parallel park like a pro and overcome ‘parallelophobia’

How to parallel park like a pro and overcome ‘parallelophobia’


Humans aren’t designed to go backwards.

File image.

PARALLEL parking is probably one of the most dreaded types of parking, and it’s often made worse when there are cars behind you, or when there are bystanders watching to see how many turns it will take before you can get into a parking bay safely and comfortably.

Marketing director of MotorHappy, a supplier of motor management solutions, Barend Smit said there are several reasons people find it difficult to parallel park.

“It’s quite a technical manoeuvre, which you will only really get right once you practise, and with practise comes confidence. After all, humans aren’t designed to go backwards and then on top of that there’s the worry of damaging your car, or someone else’s,” he said.

Thankfully, parking is getting easier, thanks to new technology and many new cars now come equipped with parking sensors and reverse cameras which could all lead to an accident-free parking experience. However, if you are one of those people who would rather keep looking for a parking spot than taking the spot that requires parallel parking, you could have ‘parallelophobia’.

This step-by-step guide will help you parallel park with ease:

Getting ready

Position your car so that you are parallel to the car parked in front of the empty space. Your rear wheel should be in line with that car’s rear bumper.

Indicate that you’re turning. Check your rear-view mirror and side mirrors. Once everything is clear and you’re sure there are no cars in your blind spot, put your car in reverse.


Slowly reverse your car alongside the parked car until just after your shoulder passes the other car’s back bumper. Start turning your steering wheel to the side you’re parking (most likely left in South Africa, unless you’re on a one-way road).

Slowly straighten your steering wheel as you continue to move backwards.

Continue to check mirrors and your front windshield to ensure you’re not about to hit a car or a pole. When the car behind you is positioned in the middle of your rear-view mirror, brake. Straighten up if necessary – you might need to go forward or back so that you’re aligned, and you’re as close to the curb as possible.


Put your car in reverse and back up towards the car behind you as close as is safely possible without bumping it. Turn your steering wheel to the right, indicate that you’re turning and put your car into drive. Check for traffic and blind spots in the lane you’re about to enter. Slowly drive out. If you feel you don’t have enough space, then put your car into reverse and back out a little, taking care not to bump the curb or any poles that are on the side. Put your car into drive, and slowly exit the parking.

Good to know

“Not surprisingly, parallel parking often results in minor bumps and scratches on your car. Scratch and Dent insurance provides cover in the event of minor chips, scratches, dents and interior damage to the vehicle. It enables you to protect the exterior and interior of your car, keeping your car in showroom condition and ensuring a better resale value if you one day sell your car,” advised Smit.

The Saturday Star

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