How to Parallel Park at the Beach Like a Pro – Skill Builder # 1
Ah, parallel parking, something we all dread. Well, at least a certain member of the family does that I had to swear I wouldn’t name. Don’t get me wrong, it’s not my favorite thing to do either, but I can do it in one go and it does cause a little bit of panic. Especially when there are others waiting, watching, and ultimately judging our parallel parking skills.
It’s Too Crowded Nowadays
Here is how the parallel parking story usually goes. You’re driving the 101 scouring for a spot and wishing for the good old days when it wasn’t so crowded and you could slip into a spot easily on the first time around. But this is your third time around and you’re almost ready to give up and just go home.
Then you see the surfers you saw loading up their van on your previous two drives through, finally drive out of the middle of a car sandwich. You drive up hastily as there are others slowly driving behind you, hunting for a spot as well.
But the excitement of getting a spot quickly gives way to panic.
OMG What Do I Do Again?
You think, awesome I got a spot, but oh no now I have to parallel park. What do I do again? OK put on the blinker, no wait, is this spot big enough?
Oh no, now there’s a biker coming, and a car. OMG now I have to just do it.
You pull up to the car in front, sweating now, then start reversing and turn the butt of the car into the spot.
Oh god, now I’m up the curb almost hitting a pedestrian.
OK pull out again. OMG now more cars, just waiting for you to fail at this parallel parking attempt and flee in total humiliation.
Bikers too are waiting now or shaking their fists as they ride out of the bike lane while you shimmy your way back and forth. Finally, the car is completely out of the bike lane, not up the curb and also not too close to either car in the car sandwich.
It’s a Useful Skill to Have
See the complete and utter agony of the parallel park? It’s a skill and one we, at least in suburban north coast San Diego don’t get to practice very often. However, with the increase in population, and tourists in the summer coupled with the terrible parking at the beaches, it’s a useful skill to have.
Additionally, if you ever travel to a foreign country you may have to parallel park in a parking spot even tighter than here.
So, here at Coastal Adventurer we pledge to help you build skills for your everyday coastal life in the first of our skill builder series.
Skill building: How to Parallel Park at the Beach like a Pro.
Step # 1: Assess if your car can fit in to the spot.
Step # 2: Pull up next to the car in the front. If your car is roughly the same size, you can line up the side mirrors.
Step # 3: Start reversing. Turn your steering wheel in the direction you want the rear of the car to go. If the car is on your right, turn right. On the left, turn left.
Step # 4: Reverse slowly and watch your rear view mirror. Once you see half of the car behind you straighten up the steering wheel.
Step # 5: You should be in the spot sufficiently. Now you can move forward a tad, but leave enough room between you and all the cars so you don’t park anyone in.
And there you go. Simple enough, but check out this short video to see it done as well.
Once you get really good you can always try for the Guinness World Record of the Tightest Reverse Parallel Park.