Parallel parking in Prague is sometimes a bit of a struggle. Aren't you one of those who can cram the car into any available space, and by finding a free space for you, the biggest job is just beginning? Don't worry - we have some rules and tips for parallel parking that you can use going forwards.

Don't let parallel parking make you nervous - you always have plenty of time for it. If the driver behind you honks or gestures, the problem is primarily on his or her side. But always make sure you use turn signals in time, to let others know you intend to park and do not brake in front of someone in the last seconds. Then all you have to do is stay calm and follow these simple rules.

Parallel parking step by step

1) The available parking space should be at least half longer as your car. We all have slightly different estimates and depth perception, and especially for beginners, it can be hard to estimate if a parking place is big enough.

Tip: If you have the "luxury" of having multiple parking spaces to choose from, choose the one in front of a car similar to yours - especially in terms of length. Such a car will be a great tool by which you align yourself in a "starting position."

2) Stop roughly at the level of the automobile in front of the free space. Keep about a metre away from your parked car - for a more comfortable spin and also keep a comfortable distance from the curb in your last two steps.

Tip: For the same size cars, the mirrors of a parked car and our car should be on the same level. If the car is significantly smaller or larger, we try to align the trunks of the cars.

3)  Turn the steering wheel "at full speed" towards the curb (to the right in most cases) and slowly back away. The car starts to copy the circular zone around the car in front of you.  Stop when your vehicle closes the curb at a 40-45 degree angle.

Tip: You must always park on the side of the driving direction, otherwise there is a risk of an unpleasant fine. Only when parked lengthwise in a one-way street, you can also park on your left.

4) When our car's middle column (by the passenger) is level with the trunk of the parked car in front of us, turn the steering wheel a turn and a half to the left (to the "straight" position - the shape of the steering wheel, as well as the automaker's sign, may be an aid) and reverse.

Tip: Here, it helps if you adjust the passenger rear view mirror (lower down) so that you can see the curb and rear wheel of your car.

5) Continue until the front passenger column of our car passes the rear of the vehicle in front of us and the rear of our car is roughly 30 cm from the curb. Then we put the "full go" to the left and align the car with the shoulder. Then we just level the car - we pull as close to the car as possible behind us, align the steering wheel (or lightly, with sensitivity, turn right) and move forward.

Citymove: parallel parking

A few more tips for parallel parking

Back up safely. When parking, reverse slowly and only control the speed with a clutch. Keep your right foot ready over the brake, not the throttle. If it "dies" while you're parking, nothing happens - it's much worse to panic, add gas and "tap" the car behind you.

What if you can't? If you see when you first turn the steering wheel that you've got it wrong, don't try to fix it with an intricate twitch. Just drive back to the level of the car in front of you, consciously align your car again and start 'from scratch'. If you can't get it right, it may be too small, but maybe it's also in your head - sometimes it helps to drive away and try to take it easy in another place further away.

Won't it go better up front? No - when reversing, the turning point of the car is approximately on the rear-wheel axis. For the whole manoeuvre, much less space will then be sufficient for reversing than for parallel forward parking, which is only advisable if the parking space is really large (roughly the length of two of your cars).

citymove: parallel parking

There's no shame in training

The theory is familiar to many of us, but to park perfectly on the first try, that is to have a good guess, not to be fooled by the size of the car in front of the available space or curvature of the road. This is all best practised directly in a real environment and ideally with someone who manages to park very well and can advise.

Who to park with? Definitely, someone who doesn't panic unnecessarily and can explain how to do it. If you don't know anyone who has enough patience, don't be afraid to approach an expert - every driving school offers lessons (in Prague, for example, the NOBE driving school or the Hele Karlín Driving School). But you can also get in touch with pros from special projects (not only) for women, like, Jedu sama or Drž volant.

Where to train? A lot of driving schools focus on teaching safe driving and knowing the rules, and tips and tricks for parallel parking are given at the end of the last hour. Not only can beginners have a problem, but also people who haven't driven for a long time or perhaps live in a place that doesn't force them to park lengthwise. You can practice this skill in any free parking lot with cones that you can buy in shops with sports goods. When you feel comfortable with the cones, move to a quiet street, and practice parking in a "natural environment." Ironically, two-lane streets (in Prague, for example, the Podolska embankment) are also suitable, where others can easily pass you by, and you won't be unduly stressed that you're holding someone back.