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Embarrassing problem

Discussion in 'Personal' started by giraffe, Dec 12, 2011.

  1. InkyP

    InkyP Star commenter

    I never learnt how to do it properly because it wasn't in the test when I passed. One day when I was in a hospital waiting room I found step-by-step instructions with diagrams in an old Reader's Digest and it was a revelation! I wouldn't say I was brilliant and I'll always look for the bigggest space but I can do it now.
  2. I have days where I can do it perfectly first time, and then there are days where I do the shunt back and forth and then drive away.
    If the road is fairly quiet I'm calmer and find it much easier to succeed first time than when it is busy. Lots of cars waiting make me feel pressured into getting it right first time.
    I find it much easier now I have a car with power steering than I did with my old car which didn't!
    I remember not long after passing my test and getting my first car, turning up to my job in a bar and trying to park outside. It was a beautiful summers night and the bouncers were outside on the door. They stood and watched me for a good 10 minutes, shouting 'helpful comments' and totally wetting themselves at my pitiful attempts at parking. Eventually, I stopped the car in the middle of the street, got out, threw the keys at one of them and got them to do it for me! I've still not lived that one down!

  3. Don't worry about it! The reverse is true in our house - I'm the one who's good at parking whilst MrDinx parks 3ft from the kerb at a jaunty angle. My sister-in-law is particularly bad at reverse parking, so much so that they had to get their driveway widened after she knocked down the front wall twice! It's easy if you practise. Even easier if you have power steering and a tiny car. My best advice would be to get a tiny car - I can squeeze my tiny Amica into and out of virtually any space.
  4. My ex-husband didn't drive, so I did all the driving. At first I used to hate any sort of 'manoevre' but practise, practise, practise was key. Eventually you seem to be able to do it without thinking.
    Also learning not to give a toss what anyone else thinks! (Especially blokes!)
    I have to parallel park outside my house all the time, so have got used to it.
  5. magic surf bus

    magic surf bus Star commenter

    Might I suggest that every time you park at a supermarket or school car park, you should deliberately reverse in - anything involving reversing helps build your spatial awareness and car handling.

    Six years ago we bought a 20 foot long 12 foot tall camper van, and nobody showed me how to park it. The only way I learned was by putting myself in increasingly demanding parking situations and working out a solution. Manoeuvring it on a packed steep-sloping terraced Italian campsite with narrow roadways and low hanging trees was one such occasion. I'm not so proud that I won't ask Mrs MSB to hop out and guide me in on occasions as the rear visibility in that vehicle is lousy.

    What I'm trying to say is, regardless of the vehicle there's no substitute for just making yourself do it and getting practice as a result. Avoiding it achieves nothing.
  6. giraffe

    giraffe New commenter

    Shortly after passing my test I did drive to school on Saturdays to practice reversing into bays. I knew I'd have to find out about my own car by practising and so did a few bays - left bays were really accurate, but right bays seemed to straddle the bays with the line exactly under the middle of the car.
    Instead of keeping on practising, I had an idea that I was being caught on the CCTV and imagined the security staff might be getting a giggle from it, so drove home sheepishly.
    It's the idea of someone watching me that really puts me off, and it's great to hear I'm not the only one. Thanks all for sharing your small shortcomings in the parking department.
    As a late learner, I do tend to think that everyone knows how to do it better than me. Even though I do ok on motorways and scary roads. I drove back from HEathrow, M25/M1 at the weekend after dropping off my husband and daughter. I'm used to driving another daughter to and from a local village with twisty one-ways, agressive drivers, miniroundabout at the top of a steep hill and single lane passing places in the dark - in fact am just about to go out now in a storm to pick her up now. Never thought I'd be able to do all that.
    It's just the parking betweek two cars in the street that has me all red and bothered.
    Will practise!
  7. As you say Giraffe, the first part of the manoeuvre...getting the angle right before you reverse, is what it's all about. However, this is not just a woman thing.
    I have seen many men try several times to reverse into a space next to the kerb and misjudge it. The difference is, they speedily re-try...and sometimes get it wrong again. Stop and watch them occasionally. They don't see it as a big deal if it's not right first time...it may be a macho thing that they just go for it again, without much self-criticism. Often women tend to become apologetic and flustered...I adopt the male approach...I just re-do it. It's no big deal.
    Giraffe, it's one of the hardest things to do when you are behind the wheel.
    I refuse to buy into the 'women are **** at parking' stereotype. I am not. I usually get it right, but like men, I sometimes get it wrong too. I can also read maps...I am much better at it than my partner...and his sense of direction is appalling too! It annoys me that it's often women themselves responsible for proliferating the myth that women just can't drive/map-read every bit as well as men.

  8. Ive been driving for about 5 years and still avoid it too. I tried to do it the other day and bodged it up so just drove off to find something else! I just cant do it.

  9. I used to have a real fear over parallel parking and would never attempt it. Then I llived on a street where if I wanted to park my car anywhere near where I lived i'd have to suck it up and parallel park. I practised when the road was quieter, and also looked for opportunities to give it a go in other places when it wasn't that busy.
    I still have difficulty judging the size of the space i need and wish i could get around this!
  10. lurk_much

    lurk_much Occasional commenter

    The trick is not to care.
    I think our car just drops in tidily as it prefers not to be left somewhere looking really stupid.
    (Which I will do if it mucks me about).
    I don't take any gip from it.
  11. modelmaker

    modelmaker Occasional commenter

    Out of interest, why is it called parallel parking?
    I'd have more naturally thought that parallel parking was the sort of thing you'd do in a carpark. i.e. alongside another car.
    Surely the thing we're talking about would be more aptly described as linear parking?
  12. magic surf bus

    magic surf bus Star commenter

    On a related driving phobia note, in later life my Mum developed a thing about making right turns across traffic. Whenever she went out in her car she would only choose routes that involved left turns and roundabouts.

    If all else fails with the parking, heed the words of Obi-Wan Kenobi, switch off the SatNav, and use The Force ;-)
  13. Doglover

    Doglover Occasional commenter

    I suppose it is parallel, because you pull up beside the car in front, and then reverse back, parallel to it, and into the space.
  14. giraffe

    giraffe New commenter

    Thank goodness for sat nav.
    Knowing that someone else is taking care of the navigation means I can focus on all the other challenges of motorways and roundabouts. Mine times its reminders perfectly to make certain you are in the right lane. And I love the way it has a quick think if you take a wrong turn and then gives new instructions with a little friendly sigh (or do I imagine that bit?)
  15. I am useless at parallel parking. My ex used to get in a right huff with me about it. I could do it OK when I was learning to drive and I do agree with other posters, it is a practice and confidence thing. I now will look for a space that I can drive into easily and that looks like it will be minimal fuss and effort to get out of. Another pet hate of my ex! My mum, on the other hand, despite not being a particularly confident driver, can parallel park quite well!

    I also have the fear of getting lost...I panic for days about driving somewhere new in case I get lost. .
  16. Ruthie66

    Ruthie66 New commenter

    I avoid going to new places by car and try and do it by public transport 1st then I can recce parking options. I should probably get a satnav, especially if they warn you to get in the correct lane early enough.
    Maybe I'll start a new thread about which ones are good and get some recommendations before I splash out.
  17. My father has been known to park up to a half a mile away from where he needs to be to avoid parallel parking and will also get my mother to park the car for him if he can get away with it!
    He failed his driving test first time (my mother, my sister and I all passed) and when my sister and I were learning a couple of years ago repeatedly said that if he had to take a driving test now he would fail because he can't manoeuvre properly.
    My mother claims her ability to do practically anything in a car comes from learning to drive in an unrelible antique in Nigeria in the 70s!

  18. I have to admit that I wondered what 'parallel parking' actuaaly is. I assume it means parking parallel to the kerb, as you would when slotting into a parking space. I really enjoyed riding a motorcycle; it feels like an extension of your own body, as you maneuvre it around its centre of gravity. Car driving, though, just seems to be more like watching a frenetic world go by through surrounding windows, so never achieved more than a minimal degree of grudging competence in car driving.
    Having learned to drive in 1967, I am a contemporary or Reginald Molehusband; or even of George, the cartoon character from Ministry of Transport information films, who also had trouble parking. Had it not been for a 'flu epidemic, in progress at the time I took my driving test, I might still be driving around with 'L' plates. Throughout my driving career, I avoided maneurvres, such as 'three point turns' or reversing around a corner, if I possiby could. I would rather pay for off-road parking, rather than endure the public humiliation of displaying my ineptitude behind the wheel. Possibly, I could have raised money for charity by passing off my inablilty to park as a 'street theatre' event!
    You are not alone!
  19. This wasn't on the test when I passed.

    I learned to do it by winding my window down and shouting at the nearest male (or groups of males) could they just guide me in.

    A group of young men go into an ego contest at who can give better advice to get you into the space.
  20. jubilee

    jubilee Star commenter

    Females generally have fewer accidents and I think it's because we worry more and avoid 'tight' situations, whereas male drivers might carry on gung-ho.
    You need to get more practice with just driving the car and parking where you feel comfortable. I can now parralel park in much shorter spaces than I dared to try when I first started driving alone (20 years after passing my test as a student!)
    I can remember going down into my small town centre which is less than half a mile from my home and parking even further out on the other side of town!
    I took refresher lessons from a driving school that used the Peugeot 205 car that I had won and it was a huge advantage being schooled in manouevres in the same car model that I would be using afterwards.

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