Location, Location, Location!
You will need to locate a place to park that does not contravene the law, and is both safe and convenient for all. There are many places to avoid parking, such as the brow of a hill or on a bend, or where there are double yellow lines etc.
FIND A SAFE PLACE!
Look up the Highway Code as a reference as it gives good advice on parking. Your driving instructor will also guide you in this matter.
On locating a safe place to park, now follow the Mirror, Signal, Manoeuvre procedure to stop safely.
Use the mirrors to decide if it is safe to pull into the left and stop, and also if a signal is needed. This can be done by observing in the rear view mirror initially then the left door mirror.
Remember the rear view mirror gives the “true distance” that something is behind you, whereas the door mirror is made of convex glass and things can look further away.
Look out for following traffic in your rear view mirror and note their distance from you. In the door mirror look out for a cyclist or pedestrian coming up on your left. Now you have decisions to make.
”TAILGATING” IS ONE OF THE MOST COMMON CAUSES OF ACCIDENT
SEE AND DO
What you see really determines what you should do. A close vehicle directly behind or a following motorcyclist or cyclist to the left of your vehicle could mean that giving an early operation of the left indicator is needed. This will give traffic time to react to your intentions. Also, you may have to spread out your braking gently over a longer distance to minimise risk of a rear end collision. In extreme circumstances, it could be necessary to drive on and look for another parking opportunity-better safe than sorry!
To Signal or Not To signal?
To park on the left consider the use of a left signal. The mirrors will tell you if there is any type of following traffic, but you also need to scan ahead and to the sides for any oncoming traffic, traffic waiting to emerge at junctions, or pedestrians in the vicinity who may benefit from your signal. Signal if there is anyone who could benefit from knowing your intentions. Even if you do signal and there is no-one around it won’t do any harm.
Be really careful not to signal if there is a road on your left before where you intend to park. Doing so could easily result in traffic pulling out in front of you as they will think you are turning left into their road. In this scenario leave your signal until you are half way past the road on the left.
The three stages of manoeuvring are: Position, Speed, Look.
A BIT TOO CLOSE!
Assuming your vehicle is positioned about a metre from the kerb, you will be aiming to park much closer to the kerb – roughly the length of ten to fifteen centimetres away. This will mean easing towards the kerb in a gradual, easy line. To do this, usually less than a “quarter turn” of steering towards the kerb is necessary.
Your instructor may give you a “parking reference guide” to help you judge the cars distance from the kerb. As this point is reached turn the steering wheel smoothly to the right of “centre” to get the vehicle parallel.
Arriving parallel to the kerb, finally return the steering to “centre.” The car should now be rolling in straight alignment with the kerb.
Avoid bringing the car in close to the kerb while travelling at speed, rather take your speed down smoothly before and during moving in.
Apply the footbrake lightly initially, doing so will operate the brake lights and give following traffic warning of your slowing down. Progressively increase braking pressure, aiming to slow the car evenly. When almost stopped, release most of the pressure from the footbrake, which allows the car to stop really smoothly.
The clutch pedal should be pressed down towards the end of the stop – about jog pace – which prevents the engine stalling.
After stopping, apply the handbrake then select neutral.
PEDESTRIANS “ON THE EDGE!”
When parking stay observant, especially look for pedestrians at or near the kerb.
Practice with your “Really Good” instructor until you can park safe and smooth.