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Parallel parking cracks the front page in the United States

By Peter McKay, 25 Jun 2009 News

Parallel parking cracks the front page in the United States

It's funny what makes news in the US ...

Parallel parking is apparently a big deal for freshly minted drivers - and even those who have been around the block a few times - in the southern Californian city of San Diego.

"The ability to park along a curb [kerb] cars lined bumper to bumper, has become something of a lost art in Southern California and across the nation," the San Diego Union-Tribune quotes traffic experts as saying in a front page story this week.

The story goes on to offer the observation by a transportation consultant that motorists parallel park with the greatest reluctance and when they do, they park by feel.

That's good news for smash repairers but not so good for car owners with a sense of pride in their vehicles.

The Union-Tribune goes on to report that San Diego driving instructors have noted that parallel parking strikes fear into the minds of their learners who need to know the technique in order to pass their licence test.

For the learners, and often also their hapless, inadequate parents, new technology in the shape of cars that can parallel park by themselves, can't come fast enough.

Already available in some premium cars such as Lexus, which pioneered the gizmo, and the VW Tiguan is leading the way for more affordable cars to implement the technology.

But for those who can't wait or can't afford such clever-dick cars, the San Diego Union-Tribune helpfully includes a diagram to show awkward drivers how to best park their vehicle legally within half a metre of the kerb.

What do readers think? Is parallel parking all that hard or is there something hazy in the air in Southern Cal?

A tip from Wheels: use the mirror effect of shop windows to help you position your vehicle into a tight space between two other parked cars.