Saturday, April 29, 2006

good motoring
Parallel parking

H.Kishie Singh

The right way to park a car
The right way to park a car

Look around you in a parking set and you will find that Indians donít park, they simply abandon their cars. This is also the reason why a lot of car owners complain about scratches and bumps they get in a parking set. Too bad, itís all their fault, they do not park properly. Most people canít even park between the painted lines in a parking lot due to sheer indiscipline and a devil-may-care attitude.

A much more difficult move is to park on the side of a road when all cars are parked along a sidewalk or kerb. Most drivers simply drive nose into a space. This leaves the rear end of the car sticking out into the road and could invite a rear-end bump. The proper procedure here would be parallel parking. This involves squeezing in between two cars that are already parked and parking parallel to the kerb.

This move requires skill and practice. In any country abroad if you canít pass the parallel parking test, you donít get a
driverís licence.

Here is how to park parallel. Find a place about two meters longer than your car. Pull up along side the car you are going to park behind. Check your rear-view mirror, having two exterior mirrors is a big help. Put on your left hand indicator and engage rear gear. This puts on your reversing lights. This warns cars behind you of your intentions.

Now start reversing. When your rear wheels have passed the parked cars rear bumper, turn your steering wheel, left hand down, till your wheels are at full cut. Once your front bumper has cleared the parked carís rear bumper, turn your steering wheel in the opposite direction all the way. Keep reversing.

Surprise. Surprise. If you have carried out the move correctly, your car will park snugly into the parking spot. Now straighten the wheels and park so that there is at least 30-40 centimetres in between the car ahead and behind you. This will make sure that these cars donít bump and scratch your car.

To exit, check your exterior rear-view mirror, put on your indicator and reverse till you are almost touching the car behind you. Bumping him would be a sign of poor driving. Now, right hand down, cut your wheels all the way to the right. Your car will exit easily. Check your rear view mirrors and ease your way out into the traffic.

A word of caution. Today most cars have power steering and nearly all cars have radial tyres. The weakest part of a radial tyre is the sidewall. If you are stationary and turn your wheels from one end to the other, you will be putting damaging stress on the sidewalls. To avoid this, keep moving slowly rather than standing still.

If everyone parked in between the painted lines in parking lots and parked parallel along roads, the parking chaos in our city would ease considerably and almost immediately.

Be a concerned citizen and park properly.

Happy motoring.