• Dec 12th 2009 at 5:03PM
  • 19
Parallel parking isn't difficult, but we have generally found ways to make it so. Between cars that almost kinda park for you to those with video game displays that turn parking into a Microsoft Flight Simulator landing attempt to the automated cars that park themselves (a frickin' robot! To park!), getting a car into a space couldn't be more complex.

It is a university scientist and engineers at Vauxhall, though, that have proposed the most difficult parking solution we've encountered so far: a not-exactly-short equation. To make it work you'll need to know your car's turning radius, wheelbase, the distance from the center of your car's front wheel to the car's front bumper, and the width of the parked car you're trying to fit behind or in front of.

Drop those numbers into their proper places, let the slide rule dance, use the result to take a few pulls at the wheel, and voila! All you need to do now is leave your insurance information on the cars you just plowed into. If anyone can get this to work, successfully, please let us know. But we though everybody knew the answer to parking is "42." It's the question that's the hard part... Cap tip to Eralp

[Source: Daily Telegraph | Image credit: AtomicNebula via CC2.0]

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    • 1 Second Ago
      • 5 Years Ago
      Only a Honda driver could park that bad.
      • 5 Years Ago
      The guys on V6performance.net won't like this picture too much
      • 5 Years Ago
      I've found an easier method of parallel parking. Let me know if you find this worth the read or not. (Steps 4 through 9 are the "active ingredients" in this recipe)

      In preparation, make sure your outside rear view mirrors (Yes, I said both of them!) are adjusted properly.

      Then, go out and practice. It's not that awkward once you've done it a few times.

      Safety preparation:
      1) Put on the indicator flashlight, and make it clear to the cars behind you that you're about to stop for parking.
      2) Assess the free slot - Can it take your car and a bit more?
      3) Turn on your parking lights (called "sidelights" in some regions), as this will turn off your main beam light, telling drivers coming the opposite direction that you've stopped to park.

      The method itself:
      4) Pull up alongside the vehicle that will be in front of you upon completion, as close to it as reasonably possible.
      5) Line up your car so that the centre of your rear wheel is just behind the end (bumper, tow bar, winch reel, cow catcher, whatever protrudes farthest) of the vehicle mentioned in step 4, and stop.
      6) Turn the steering wheel all the way towards the vehicle mentioned in step 4.
      7) Reverse until you can see the whole front of the car behind you in the road side mirror, and stop.
      8) Turn the steering wheel all the way towards the road.
      9) Reverse, making sure that won't make you bump into the car in front of you. If it will, the space isn't long enough for your car with the desired margins for an easy exit.

      Finishing it off:
      10) If you park uphill, make sure the steering wheel still faces the road. If you park downhill, turn it so it faces the curb. On flat ground, the wheels should face straight ahead.
      11) Put the transmission into appropriate position, depending on whether you have auto or manual
      12) Turn the engine off, and the parking brake on. Presto!
        • 5 Years Ago
        You came up with that on your own? Well done sir. It's exactly what I was taught...
      • 5 Years Ago
      based on the pic (and the fact that I own that gen coupe), I was really hoping that it was a positive article. I guess maybe...
      • 5 Years Ago
      The formula has nothing to do with how to parallel park. It just figures out the shortest space you need for it to be physically possible to fit your car in there, given a few things like your car's turning radius and size. It's still up to you to be able to pull it off.
      • 5 Years Ago
      The original formula appears here, with no proof (can someone find the derivation or a proof?):

      It would be easy to put in a spreadsheet, but Wolfram Alpha is even easier, in ascii format it looks like:
      S = [(r^2-l^2)+(l+k)^2-((((r^2-l^2)^.5)-w)^2)]^.5 -l -k , r=17 , l=8.3 , k=3 , w=7

      Copy/paste this entire link into a new window or tab to insert the formula automagically:


      r = radius of curb-curb turning circle (half the turning circle, available from road tests)
      l = car wheelbase
      k = distance from front wheel center to front of car
      w = width of the parked car next to your car

      Just replace the car data (r=17, etc) with the dimensions[*] for your car in the Wolfram Alpha box (after the main formula), and look for S in the lower "Solution" box.

      S is the extra Space required beyond the length of your car -- it's surprisingly short.
      [*] All dimensions must be in the same units, ie, all in feet or all in meters.


      • 5 Years Ago
      That formula is simple.
      Do you understand mathematic notation taught to middle schoolers?
      If so, you can plug and chug with the formula.

      Wanna see some real hard math?
        • 5 Years Ago
        wanna see some REALLY hard maths? open up a book on mathematical analysis and proofs. numbers-maths is easy; logic-maths is NOT.
        • 5 Years Ago
        Yeah, that's not even hard... at least give us something with both real and complex. I've got to get schrodinger's equation down for tuesday--and even that's just baby steps in the world of physics.
      • 5 Years Ago
      So if 42 is the answer, then what is THE question?!
        • 5 Years Ago
        42 is a perfectly valid answer to the question of "how much longer should the parking space be than my vehicle?"; however, you need to apply units to that. 42 inches? 42 centimeters? 42 furlongs?
      • 5 Years Ago
      This is yet another reason why I love AB. Random Douglas Adams references ftw.
      • 5 Years Ago
      Not saying that im a moron but i dun get anything that review is trying to say but the word Vauxhall.
        • 5 Years Ago
        You're a first class one.
        • 5 Years Ago
        Have you tried reading? I've heard that helps. Then you'd know that this isn't a review.
      • 5 Years Ago
      i hope the picture is not an example of this formula... because if it is EPIC FAIL
        • 5 Years Ago
        To be fair from the angle we are looking at there doesn't appear to be enough room for the other car to fit.
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