There are many things the California DMV asks young drivers to master before receiving their license. A majority of these requirements are reasonable and rational, like six hours of professional driver training and a passing score on your Driver’s Test. The California Driver’s Test features certain criteria that you must perform while driving; an inability to meet such requirements results in points off or potentially an automatic fail. One thing the California Driver’s Test does not require, however, is parallel parking. Nowhere on the test must a driver successfully parallel park.
Parallel parking, though difficult, is an important skill for all drivers to know and master. This ability does more than just broaden your parking options; parallel parking helps teach you how to maneuver your car and gives you a sense of spatial awareness.
The strategy of parallel parking is one I use daily, whether I’m parking at school or on the side of a road. As a delicate process, parallel parking helps you learn to maneuver your car better. When you have to execute this difficult skill, you have to learn how to utilize and check your mirrors, making you more versed in operating these different parts of your car.
Additionally, the lack of space available when parallel parking teaches you how to develop an awareness of your vehicle and its position regarding other cars. When parking normally along a curb or in a parking spot, it’s pretty easy to tell whether or not your car can fit or which way you should line it up. But, when you are parallel parking, it is harder to gauge the amount of area you have, pushing you to learn about your car and making you more aware of its size. Although this does not sound like a necessary skill, becoming more spatially aware of your car helps you in everyday driving.
Activities like merging and driving in traffic seem much more doable, and by understanding your car better, you are less likely to get in an accident. Through becoming more familiar with the features and fit of your car, you improve your driving skills immensely; parallel parking’s emphasis on knowing your car helps you every day, whether you are parallel parking that day or not.
Because of parallel parking’s importance, the California DMV needs to list it as a point of criteria on the driver’s test. Requiring this skill once again will result in better safety, driving skills, and, overall, California drivers.
(Sources: DMV, Way)