Stage 1: Become a Parking Expert
During Stage 1, you’ll be spending an awful lot of time in an empty parking lot. So, take advantage of it by having your teen practice parking the car. In this early stage, we suggest limiting your parking practice to 90-degree parking and angled parking. Leave parallel parking for later lessons.
At first, make sure there are empty spaces on both sides of the target space. Stay away from other cars as well as spaces on the end of a parking lot. Also, begin with angled parking. This is much easier than 90-degree parking.
Challenge your teen to see how close they can come to perfectly aligning their car in the center of the space. After they pull in, have them get out of the car and see how well they did. Most new drivers end up too close to the driver’s side. They also have a tendency to not pull in far enough. Having your teen get out of the car and examine their position helps them gain spatial awareness of their car.
Angled parking spots are easier to navigate than 90-degree spots. They also create more parking spots in a given area than perpendicular spots. Angled parking spots can only be entered from one direction and must be entered “head-on”. Backing into an angled spot is never preferred.
How to park in an angled parking spot
- Position your car so that there is at least five to six feet between your car and the other parked cars.
- Once you find a space, signal. Continue driving forward until you can see the center of the parking space you wish to enter.
- As soon as you see the center of the space, turn the wheel sharply, about half a turn, and proceed slowly into the space.
- Once you come to a stop, straighten your wheels so that you begin backing out straight when you wish to exit the space.
90-degree Parking (aka perpendicular parking)
Perpendicular or 90-degree spaces are a little bit more difficult to manage than angled parking spots. They are especially treacherous for new drivers and can act as powerful dent-magnets. So, make sure that your teen has become proficient in an empty parking lot before trying this with other cars present.
How to perpendicular park in 90-degree parking spaces
Follow the steps below to master this parking challenge.
- As you approach the space, keep at least eight feet between your car and the cars in the row you are parking in.
- After you signal, position the car so that the front bumper is just beyond the taillights of the car immediately before the space.
- Now turn the wheel sharply and slowly enter the space.
- Pull ahead far enough so that your rear bumper isn’t sticking out of the space. Straighten your wheels.
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