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Old 07-02-2014, 08:28 PM   #1
Saucyminx
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How to teach someone to parallel park?

I'm currently teaching both my kiddos to drive. My son has it pretty much nailed, (which is good since he has to drive himself to college come August), except for the parallel parking, which of course he needs to pass the test.

Now, I can parallel park like a pro. I have shoehorned my little buggy into spaces with less than 6 inches on either end--but I can't figure out how to impart that knowledge to my offspring.

I've asked for both help and advice from the outlaws, my older brothers, and even the ex. They all act like they have never heard of such a thing so no help from that quarter.

Any tips?
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Old 07-02-2014, 08:48 PM   #2
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I was just talking about driver's tests today. Who came up with the brilliant idea that 16 yr olds were old enough to get behind the wheel? My daughter is only 10, but the thought of her driving in 6 yrs scares the crap out of me!

My father had me practice in our driveway with picnic tables standing in for the other cars. Then we moved on to a quiet side street that the DMV used. during the road test.

On the way home from that, we had to go over a very busy, very narrow street. Out of nowhere he says "Park the car." I told him I couldn't park the car on that street, there's too much traffic. "Park the car." But there's too much traffic, I can't park the car here.

He told me I had two choices, sit here with people honking at me or park the car. I parked the car. I had tears in my eyes, but I parked that car on the first try.

To this day, every time I have to parallel park I hear him say:
"Back it up; cut the wheel; aaaand tuck it in." LOL

So I guess my answer is picnic tables and tough love. Good luck! To both of you!!
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Old 07-02-2014, 08:51 PM   #3
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I can offer no advice, but am happy you're teaching them. We don't have to parallel park for our driving test and I never learned to do it well. Parallel parking scares me to pieces. Good luck!
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Old 07-02-2014, 09:22 PM   #4
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Quote:
Originally Posted by imemkay View Post
I was just talking about driver's tests today. Who came up with the brilliant idea that 16 yr olds were old enough to get behind the wheel? My daughter is only 10, but the thought of her driving in 6 yrs scares the crap out of me!

My father had me practice in our driveway with picnic tables standing in for the other cars. Then we moved on to a quiet side street that the DMV used. during the road test.

On the way home from that, we had to go over a very busy, very narrow street. Out of nowhere he says "Park the car." I told him I couldn't park the car on that street, there's too much traffic. "Park the car." But there's too much traffic, I can't park the car here.

He told me I had two choices, sit here with people honking at me or park the car. I parked the car. I had tears in my eyes, but I parked that car on the first try.

To this day, every time I have to parallel park I hear him say:
"Back it up; cut the wheel; aaaand tuck it in." LOL

So I guess my answer is picnic tables and tough love. Good luck! To both of you!!
My son is actually 18. He said he wasn't ready at 16 and I didn't push. He got his permit at 17, so we've been takin it nice and slow. My girl is 16 and chomping at the bit. She's the one who worries me. lol

That sounds like a great idea, but no picnic tables and no driveway--we just moved to an apartment complex so parking lot. I wonder if I could do it with big boxes. . .

My dad's tough love driving tip was I had to learn to back the whole way up the back alley and keep it straight before I was allowed to take my test. That skill has come in handy more than once.

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Originally Posted by JtohisPB View Post
I can offer no advice, but am happy you're teaching them. We don't have to parallel park for our driving test and I never learned to do it well. Parallel parking scares me to pieces. Good luck!
They are real fuckers about it around here. My son's best friend was off by 1 1/2 inches and they failed him--you have to be less than 12 inches from the curb.
I worked in the city at one point, so had to do it more often than not unless I wanted to park on an island in the middle of the Susquehanna river and walk across the bridge every morning--and that sucked total butt in the winter!
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Old 07-02-2014, 09:34 PM   #5
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I'm sure you could substitute large boxes. Same idea.

We had to parallel park for our test, but other than that, there isn't much need for it. It's a good skill to have, though. I have friends who will park waaay out of their way just to avoid it.
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Old 07-02-2014, 09:54 PM   #6
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Aaahhh...I've been there, and rather recently; PA can be brutal. Big boxes will work fine; most PA DMV's use the barrels, and you can practice there with your young'uns after hours.

Here's a clear step-by-step guide...

1. Pull alongside the car ahead of the space you want. Align your rear axle with that car's bumper. Turn the wheel toward the curb at full lock.

2. Back up until the center of your inside rear tire aligns with the streetside edge of the forward car. Straighten wheel, continue to reverse.

3. When your outside tire aligns with that same edge, turn the wheel the other way.

4. If all went according to plan, you're in the space, bodywork intact. Get out and admire your work.

If your kids are visual learners try this :



It's a British parking image, but it shows by steps where they need to cut their angles; you could reverse it for American (and all other non-Brit) roads.

I hope it goes well for you!
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Old 07-02-2014, 10:01 PM   #7
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Quote:
Originally Posted by imemkay View Post
I'm sure you could substitute large boxes. Same idea.

We had to parallel park for our test, but other than that, there isn't much need for it. It's a good skill to have, though. I have friends who will park waaay out of their way just to avoid it.
How was your vacay btw??? Ha, 4 posts and I've hijacked my own thread.

Quote:
Originally Posted by wildebird View Post
Aaahhh...I've been there, and rather recently; PA can be brutal. Big boxes will work fine; most PA DMV's use the barrels, and you can practice there with your young'uns after hours.

Here's a clear step-by-step guide...

1. Pull alongside the car ahead of the space you want. Align your rear axle with that car's bumper. Turn the wheel toward the curb at full lock.

2. Back up until the center of your inside rear tire aligns with the streetside edge of the forward car. Straighten wheel, continue to reverse.

3. When your outside tire aligns with that same edge, turn the wheel the other way.

4. If all went according to plan, you're in the space, bodywork intact. Get out and admire your work.

If your kids are visual learners try this :
*snip*
I hope it goes well for you!
Thank you so much! My son is very visual--and loves diagrams so that will probably help a lot. I also didn't know we could go after hours to the dmv course. I'm going to have do that. I've been taking them to random parking lots, and my son out on the road. I'm going to need a vat of henna to cover the gray it's causing.
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Old 07-02-2014, 10:34 PM   #8
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You know you've got a problem when you hijack your own thread!

We had so much fun! It ended up just being my daughter and I and we had a blast.
Her favorite ride was Soarin', which was surprising given how worried she was about flying. Meeting Chip and Dale was the highlight of the trip, though.

Next time, though, we'll go in February or March.
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Old 07-02-2014, 10:39 PM   #9
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Saucyminx, when I was a kid, a long time ago, I too had to parallel park to get my license. I lived in a small town and the DMV place was fairly close. Anyway they used plastic pylons tpo mark the place they tested the parking. I took a tape measure up there and measured the distance between the poles and the distance from the curb. Went home made some pylons from scrap lumber and practiced about a 1000 times.

Wife is from PA and says they used traffic cones when she had to park. You might try doing the measuring or have him to it then use some cardboard boxes set to the same distances for him to practice with. Secondly, take him with you and find a place for you to park and as you park tell him what you are doing, when you are turning the wheel and what direction, do that a couple of times then let him practice with the boxes.

I think you may find it easier to tell him what you and doing and why as you are doing it instead of sitting in your home and just talking about it.

I hope this helps.
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Old 07-02-2014, 10:44 PM   #10
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Originally Posted by JustaSCOUNDREL View Post
Saucyminx, when I was a kid, a long time ago, I too had to parallel park to get my license. I lived in a small town and the DMV place was fairly close. Anyway they used plastic pylons tpo mark the place they tested the parking. I took a tape measure up there and measured the distance between the poles and the distance from the curb. Went home made some pylons from scrap lumber and practiced about a 1000 times.

Wife is from PA and says they used traffic cones when she had to park. You might try doing the measuring or have him to it then use some cardboard boxes set to the same distances for him to practice with. Secondly, take him with you and find a place for you to park and as you park tell him what you are doing, when you are turning the wheel and what direction, do that a couple of times then let him practice with the boxes.

I think you may find it easier to tell him what you and doing and why as you are doing it instead of sitting in your home and just talking about it.

I hope this helps.
I had to visit the Comcast service center yesterday and parallel park while we were there and I did show and describe, but he was just lookin at me like I was goofy. (Which hey, it's a fair cop). I took my test about 100 years ago, and it was cones, but then again, it was administered by Staties back then too. Now it's all DMV employes who may, or may not, be less bitter.

I appreciate all the help I can get. I think he just needs some confidence so we will most certainly be breaking out the moving boxes I saved.
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Old 07-03-2014, 02:54 AM   #11
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Driving is part learned and part intuitive, the learned part is easy, the intuitive, well, not so much.

The above diagram is a good base for how, the problem is, depending on the size and turning radius of your vehicle, that "base" may not actually work, this is where intuition comes in. As a driver, you need to know exactly where the corners of your vehicle are and exactly where the tires are, this comes with practice and experience.

As for what you can do with your critters . . . Get yourself 4 large moving boxes, Home Depot or any box store will have them for a few bucks each. Assemble and stack the boxes two high and 6' further apart than the length of your car. Follow the guide above, and have them adjust accordingly for the vehicle they are driving.

At 6' longer than your car, this gives them 3' on either end to maneuver into the space. Let them practice with this, and as they get the hang of it, slide the boxes closer together 6" to 12" at a time and let them keep practicing.

While a standard parking spot may long enough for the average car, we all know that most other asshole drivers don't know how to park in their own spot, which leaves you with much less VERY frequently, hence getting them used to the process of parallel parking, and then decreasing the available space.

Dare I say it, there is a show available on youtube called Canada's Worst Driver. The show itself is virtually unwatchable due to the ignorance of the knuckle draggers on it, HOWEVER, for each of the challenges, the host goes through the steps, driving the vehicle himself, to show how to do the challenge. It is this bit that you need to pay attention to the most. Driving is more about common sense than anything else. Slow down, calm down, and focus on the task at hand. Driving backward is no harder than driving forward, why is parallel parking any different? Know what you're driving, be aware of what you're doing and what is around you, and you'll be fine.
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Old 07-03-2014, 05:42 AM   #12
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Saucyminx View Post
My son is actually 18. He said he wasn't ready at 16 and I didn't push. He got his permit at 17, so we've been takin it nice and slow. My girl is 16 and chomping at the bit. She's the one who worries me. lol

That sounds like a great idea, but no picnic tables and no driveway--we just moved to an apartment complex so parking lot. I wonder if I could do it with big boxes. . .

My dad's tough love driving tip was I had to learn to back the whole way up the back alley and keep it straight before I was allowed to take my test. That skill has come in handy more than once.



They are real fuckers about it around here. My son's best friend was off by 1 1/2 inches and they failed him--you have to be less than 12 inches from the curb.
I worked in the city at one point, so had to do it more often than not unless I wanted to park on an island in the middle of the Susquehanna river and walk across the bridge every morning--and that sucked total butt in the winter!
WHAT is WRONG with kids today? My oldest boy expressed enthusiasm but as I recall didn't get his permit or drivers license on time. Wrecked two cars before he was 18.

Wanting better performance out of my oldest daughter I taught her to drive stick at 13. She was good at it, then multiple moves and reluctance by her Mom to get her a permit, she didn't drive till almost 17... by 18 she had 4 accidents including one as bad as one can imagine.

Understandably the next girl has been reluctant to drive and only finally got her learners permit at 17.

At a loss I thought I would start encouraging the next boy early. He is eligible for a learners permit in 45 days. Talked to him about it this morning. I get a shrug.

This same boy I was asking him what sort of car or truck he wanted to build with me for him..no idea. I said "What kind of car would you be LEAST embarrassed to be seen in?

"I dunno, something with 4 seats and good gas mileage?"

Shaking my head.
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Old 07-03-2014, 05:46 AM   #13
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Good luck, Saucy. I will pray Master and Miss Minx stay safe, be smart and park like pros.

I failed my test the first time yet parked perfectly. I still bang out reverse parking better than anyone I know.
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Old 07-03-2014, 07:42 AM   #14
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The way my dad taught me is how a New York Driving Test person taught him ( not during the test ). This was supposedly highly unethical of her to do, but there it is.

In addendum to the diagram and what Nipplemuncher said about intuition and knowing where the corners are...

The difference to what I was taught opposed to the diagram, was:

Your car should be within 1 foot away from the adjacent car.
You should start turning hard when your front wheels are adjacent to the adjacent car's front seat ((agreeing with position 1 in the diagram) regardless of how long your car is to the other car)).
Then, by position 2 in the diagram, you should start turning hard in the reverse direction. This is very tricky and you should always be looking at the front while doing this (watching the corner that will brush the car ahead).
After the front corner has cleared you can start reversing the turn of the wheel and should start looking behind you to ensure your rear bumper doesn't touch the car behind you's front bumper (but come as close as possible).
A minimum of pulling forward and turning the wheel toward the curb might be required to center the car in the parking space.
(stop and straighten your tires).

It is important to point out that in most municipalities, when you parallel park, it is important that your tires MUST be within one foot of the curb and your car is parallel to the curb.
It is also important to note that you should never STOP when you are going through these steps. If you do, you have reduced how easily the car will turn. Thus you should always be creeping the car through all these steps (in either method you do it).

The benefit to parallel parking this way is that you can park with a minimum of space fore and aft (about a foot in either direction). Both people, the one in front and behind, might be ticked off because they are used to parallel parking with 3-4 feet fore and aft, BUT the concept of obtaining a driver's license is that YOU have a mastery of control of YOUR vehicle no matter what the circumstance. In other words, that they do NOT know how to parallel park using the above method shows a lacking of their driving skills and doesn't reflect poorly on you.

The method shown in the diagram might bring you within one foot of the curb, OR you might be 2 feet away from the curb or more. Thus you have to start seesawing your car back and forth trying to get within the described 1 foot distance.
Using the method I described, if you do it properly (and this is where intuition comes in handy) you should not need to seesaw the car in any fashion.

To pull out, simply reverse the method I described.
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Old 07-03-2014, 08:32 AM   #15
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Yep, I was taught that one foot from the other car too (well two side mirrors so it's similar I guess) I don't work in feet sorry.
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Old 07-03-2014, 08:41 AM   #16
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Quote:
Originally Posted by NippleMuncher View Post
Driving is part learned and part intuitive, the learned part is easy, the intuitive, well, not so much.

The above diagram is a good base for how, the problem is, depending on the size and turning radius of your vehicle, that "base" may not actually work, this is where intuition comes in. As a driver, you need to know exactly where the corners of your vehicle are and exactly where the tires are, this comes with practice and experience.

As for what you can do with your critters . . . Get yourself 4 large moving boxes, Home Depot or any box store will have them for a few bucks each. Assemble and stack the boxes two high and 6' further apart than the length of your car. Follow the guide above, and have them adjust accordingly for the vehicle they are driving.

At 6' longer than your car, this gives them 3' on either end to maneuver into the space. Let them practice with this, and as they get the hang of it, slide the boxes closer together 6" to 12" at a time and let them keep practicing.

While a standard parking spot may long enough for the average car, we all know that most other asshole drivers don't know how to park in their own spot, which leaves you with much less VERY frequently, hence getting them used to the process of parallel parking, and then decreasing the available space.

Dare I say it, there is a show available on youtube called Canada's Worst Driver. The show itself is virtually unwatchable due to the ignorance of the knuckle draggers on it, HOWEVER, for each of the challenges, the host goes through the steps, driving the vehicle himself, to show how to do the challenge. It is this bit that you need to pay attention to the most. Driving is more about common sense than anything else. Slow down, calm down, and focus on the task at hand. Driving backward is no harder than driving forward, why is parallel parking any different? Know what you're driving, be aware of what you're doing and what is around you, and you'll be fine.
Always good advice from you handsome.

Quote:
Originally Posted by query View Post
WHAT is WRONG with kids today? My oldest boy expressed enthusiasm but as I recall didn't get his permit or drivers license on time. Wrecked two cars before he was 18.

Wanting better performance out of my oldest daughter I taught her to drive stick at 13. She was good at it, then multiple moves and reluctance by her Mom to get her a permit, she didn't drive till almost 17... by 18 she had 4 accidents including one as bad as one can imagine.

Understandably the next girl has been reluctant to drive and only finally got her learners permit at 17.

At a loss I thought I would start encouraging the next boy early. He is eligible for a learners permit in 45 days. Talked to him about it this morning. I get a shrug.

This same boy I was asking him what sort of car or truck he wanted to build with me for him..no idea. I said "What kind of car would you be LEAST embarrassed to be seen in?

"I dunno, something with 4 seats and good gas mileage?"

Shaking my head.
Hmmm I didn't take it like that. When I was 16 I knew I was not mature enough to drive around a 2000lb deathmachine so I waited until I was 17 and a bit more sure of myself. He did the same thing, so I took that more as him making a mature decision about what he was ready for. He is much more careful about everything--more so than I ever was and I respect that. Actually, I'm a little glad about that, (even though I know he misses out on some fun of being an irresponsible teen.)

Quote:
Originally Posted by Rainshine View Post
Good luck, Saucy. I will pray Master and Miss Minx stay safe, be smart and park like pros.

I failed my test the first time yet parked perfectly. I still bang out reverse parking better than anyone I know.
I passed mine on the first go--but by the time I went for the license, I had become an experienced chauffer since my parents were much older. And there are times I think I could parallel park my lil Geo in a shoebox if I needed to. BTW--very sexy new AV Mrs.!

Quote:
Originally Posted by LWulf View Post
The way my dad taught me is how a New York Driving Test person taught him ( not during the test ). This was supposedly highly unethical of her to do, but there it is.

In addendum to the diagram and what Nipplemuncher said about intuition and knowing where the corners are...

The difference to what I was taught opposed to the diagram, was:

Your car should be within 1 foot away from the adjacent car.
You should start turning hard when your front wheels are adjacent to the adjacent car's front seat ((agreeing with position 1 in the diagram) regardless of how long your car is to the other car)).
Then, by position 2 in the diagram, you should start turning hard in the reverse direction. This is very tricky and you should always be looking at the front while doing this (watching the corner that will brush the car ahead).
After the front corner has cleared you can start reversing the turn of the wheel and should start looking behind you to ensure your rear bumper doesn't touch the car behind you's front bumper (but come as close as possible).
A minimum of pulling forward and turning the wheel toward the curb might be required to center the car in the parking space.
(stop and straighten your tires).

It is important to point out that in most municipalities, when you parallel park, it is important that your tires MUST be within one foot of the curb and your car is parallel to the curb.
It is also important to note that you should never STOP when you are going through these steps. If you do, you have reduced how easily the car will turn. Thus you should always be creeping the car through all these steps (in either method you do it).

The benefit to parallel parking this way is that you can park with a minimum of space fore and aft (about a foot in either direction). Both people, the one in front and behind, might be ticked off because they are used to parallel parking with 3-4 feet fore and aft, BUT the concept of obtaining a driver's license is that YOU have a mastery of control of YOUR vehicle no matter what the circumstance. In other words, that they do NOT know how to parallel park using the above method shows a lacking of their driving skills and doesn't reflect poorly on you.

The method shown in the diagram might bring you within one foot of the curb, OR you might be 2 feet away from the curb or more. Thus you have to start seesawing your car back and forth trying to get within the described 1 foot distance.
Using the method I described, if you do it properly (and this is where intuition comes in handy) you should not need to seesaw the car in any fashion.

To pull out, simply reverse the method I described.
All very sound advice and very welcome. Thanks Lwulf.
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Old 07-03-2014, 09:07 AM   #17
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My dad took me to a industrial park on weekends where there were huge parking lots to teach me everything.
He'd use a lined parking space and put out old milk crates pretending they were the front and rear of a car.

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Old 07-03-2014, 11:22 AM   #18
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My dad took me to a mall parking lot, way back, pull alongside with no car behind you and get the car into the lined space. Worked for me.
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Old 07-03-2014, 11:34 AM   #19
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Yep, I was taught that one foot from the other car too (well two side mirrors so it's similar I guess) I don't work in feet sorry.
Okay, 1 foot (American) is equal to a size 10.5 men's shoe size (~size 12 women's). In Australian, that equates to a size 10 men's shoe and a woman's size 10.5

Better?

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Originally Posted by Saucyminx View Post
All very sound advice and very welcome. Thanks Lwulf.
I hope it helps.
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Old 07-03-2014, 01:07 PM   #20
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I don't recall ever practicing parallel parking. That may be why I failed my driver's test twice.
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Old 07-03-2014, 02:02 PM   #21
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No real advice because I don't drive....yet. parking scares the hell out of me so im just getting a motorcycle instead.

There is some good advice here that might help even me. Lol
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Old 07-03-2014, 10:50 PM   #22
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Quote:
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Yep, I was taught that one foot from the other car too (well two side mirrors so it's similar I guess) I don't work in feet sorry.
Since you asked, sort of, 30.5 cm.
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Old 07-03-2014, 11:23 PM   #23
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You haven't lived until you've tried to parallel park a 22' truck with a 16' trailer in tow. Toss everything you think you know about driving out the window, it's a bitch, no matter how talented you might be.

*don't ask me how I know this.


Actually, learning to back up a trailer is a VERY good skill to have. If you have the opportunity to edjumakate the young'ns about this, it would be a good thing.
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Old 07-04-2014, 12:57 AM   #24
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Quote:
Originally Posted by NippleMuncher View Post
You haven't lived until you've tried to parallel park a 22' truck with a 16' trailer in tow. Toss everything you think you know about driving out the window, it's a bitch, no matter how talented you might be.

*don't ask me how I know this.


Actually, learning to back up a trailer is a VERY good skill to have. If you have the opportunity to edjumakate the young'ns about this, it would be a good thing.
But but but I don't have a trailer, or a 22' truck. I could get my hands on a backhoe or a dump truck though if I really needed one.
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Old 07-04-2014, 01:15 PM   #25
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No worries, not everyone ever has the need to parallel park a truck and trailer.

Driving a stick is another good thing to be edjumakated on too!
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