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How Does Parallel Parking AIf you're like most drivers, parallel parking is an exercise in anxiety. Many new cars offer parallel parking assist, but this technology might come with a whole new set of concerns. Can you really trust your vehicle to park itself? In this post, we'll explain how parallel parking assist works, so you can feel completely comfortable leaving the parking to the car.

How Parallel Parking Assist Works

Some drivers may be uncomfortable with the idea of surrendering control of their vehicle. That's not quite what happens during parallel parking assist, though. Instead, this innovative feature assists drivers in parallel parking and still requires human input to make this happen.

Step One: Finding a Space

First, drivers will need to activate the system through a button on the dash. You can select between parallel and perpendicular parking modes at this time. The car will then use a system of sensors to locate a suitably sized parking space on the right side of the vehicle. A beep will alert you that a parking space has been found, and the instrument panel or infotainment screen will display instructions regarding your next steps.

Step Two: Steering into the Space

The car will tell you when to stop, when to put the car in reverse, and when to remove your hands from the wheel. Your car will move at idling speed to steer into the parking space. The screen will provide instructions on when to shift gears from forward to reverse, brake, and so on. Most systems will prompt you with a series of beeps, so you know when a new instruction is coming.

Step Three: Final Maneuvers

Your car may need to make multiple maneuvers to park itself, especially in tighter parking spaces. Once parking is complete, you'll receive a "parking complete" message on your display screen. You can now put the vehicle in "park" and exit the car.

How to Cancel the Process

You can apply the brakes at any point without interrupting the parking assist feature; though, if you use the brakes for an extended period, the parking assist feature will shut off. If you need to cancel the process entirely, simply press the parking assist button a second time to resume normal driving. Depending on the manufacturer, the system will typically stop if you open the trunk or open the driver's side door with your seatbelt unfastened.

Safety First

If your car detects objects around your vehicle, the parking assist program will alert you to these obstacles so you can either remove them or choose a new parking spot. Drivers will need to remain alert throughout this process and be prepared to apply the brake pedal as needed. Always check your owner's manual for additional features, which may vary by manufacturer.

In Conclusion

Parallel parking assist doesn't take complete control of your vehicle. Instead, it uses state-of-the-art technology to make the process of parallel parking more effortless than ever before. Drivers must still participate in the process, be prepared to shift gears, brake, and respond to safety alerts as needed.