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Should Parallel Parking be Required on Driving Tests?

Sixteen is a magical time of life. High School, driving, dating, hormones… okay maybe not everything is perfect. In fact, three out of the four I just mentioned are on my ‘things I never want to have or do again’ list. What’s the exception? Well you probably already know by the big picture of the car above this article.

I wouldn’t say I love driving, in fact, I avoid it where I can. But it is a necessary evil that can get me to the grocery store and back — with two kids and 50 bags of miscellanies food and household items. Not to mention the advantage of only needing to drive an hour to my mom’s house so she can babysit instead of walking for three days.

Oh, but what a journey it was to get my license. I took the written test three times (and only just passed with an 80) and I made a California stop on the actual test (if you don’t know that means — I didn’t stop all the way). But the one thing I didn’t have to do was parallel park. Thank goodness for that, because I would have failed.

More and more states are letting the driving instructor chose whether or not students should be tested on their parallel parking skills. My instructor didn’t make me because the art of parallel parking is so rare. But now, I kinda wish he did. Just the thought of knowing I was never tested on that particular ability makes me want to avoid any parallel parking situation I can, even if that means paying for parking.

My husband is an excellent driver and he can parallel with the best of them, and he always makes fun of me when I’m presented with the challenge. Even if I manage to get into the spot I usually have the back tire on the curb and the front tire facing towards the street. That’s an accomplishment for me.

It makes me wonder, should parallel parking be required on a driving test? I spent my teenagedom studiously avoid it and now if I’m forced to, I fear the test. It’s true that parallel parking is becoming more and more rare, but it’s not extinct, not yet. And it’s a handicap that holds me back.

Is this just more thing that we aren’t pushing kids to do because we don’t think they are capable of it? Teenage auto insurance is already high. Why not teach them to parallel park so we don’t have to pay their high insurance premiums when they back into that car parked behind them? The thought makes my stomach churn. I took the easy way in high school drivers ed., and now I’m paying for it. When I think about it I only see one real and viable solution, I have to teach my kids to parallel park because it isn’t going to happen at school. Which means I need to learn how to do it first. Who knows maybe learn how to parallel park could help lower .

But that’s okay, because facing my fears is part of growing. And how can I tell my children that they need to face theirs when I won’t face mine myself? So I guess this is more an announcement than anything else. Today is the day I’m going to learn how to parallel park.

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