Monday, October 06, 2014

Would You Pass Your Road Test Today? #CAARoadTest

When was the last time you parallel parked? I know I avoid it like the plague. I can do it, but not correctly or smoothly. And I get very flustered when I'm holding up traffic, inching in and out. Thankfully, I live in Scarborough, where I never have to parallel, and I look for parking lots and garages when I venture downtown. So, when CAA invited me to a road test event, involving lots of parking, I was a bit hesitant.

My own, actual, road tests (yes there were two) happened 28 years ago, and while I believe I'm a pretty good driver, I'm also pretty sure I no longer drive or park "by the book." But they assured me there would be lots of tips and no judgement, so I agreed to go and see just how bad (or good) I might be.

Of course, when we saw this tow truck at the ready, I was suddenly not so sure of their confidence in us! Regardless, experienced CAA driving instructors took us under their wings and led us through 3 stations - parallel parking, reverse lot parking, and 3-point turns. Hertz Canada was kind enough to trust us with their cars for the road test.

So, how did I do? Well, could have been worse, could have been better. The parallel parking was definitely my weak point. It was made clear to me that I shouldn't be using hitting the curb with my back tire as my gauge for parking. Oops. One point we all learned is that every car is different, and so you need to get used to your own vehicle to be able to park it well. But some basic points hold across the board.

By the way, the next day I got brave and backed into a spot at the mall. When I got out of the car, after just one adjustment, the guy in the car next to me complimented me on my parking job. I guess my road test day with CAA really paid off!
Here are some tips from CAA, to help you park and drive like a pro:

Reverse Lot Parking

  • Visibility around your vehicle is better while backing in
  • Easier for drivers to see if the way is clear when exiting the parking spot
  • Mechanical problems are easier to diagnose, and vehicle is easier to tow or boost

Parallel Parking

  • Ensure the space is large enough to accommodate 1 ½ times the length of your vehicle
  • Signal early to help the driver behind understand your intention 
  • Do not start reversing until the way is clear or traffic has stopped to let you begin parking

Three-Point Turns

  • Be aware of U-turn restrictions 
  • Be 360ᴼ aware throughout the entire manoeuvre, check all mirrors and blind spot
  • Avoid using a driveway or private property

Important tips to remember while driving:

  • Do not depend on backup cameras when reversing. Drivers only see what’s already in view of the camera, not what’s approaching the car
  • Driving forward or reversing, looking in the direction of where you want your car to go will help you steer your car more accurately
  • Avoid dry steering. Your vehicle should always be moving slowly when turning the steering wheel

Did you know that CAA offers Driver Training for teens and adults at 38 CAA Approved Driving School Network (ADSN) locations across Ontario? (All locations can be found at Their program is MTO-approved and includes 40 hours of instruction (classroom and in-car). Graduates may be eligible for reduced auto insurance rates, and they can redeem for a free, one-year CAA Basic Membership. Even better? From now through November 30, 2014 , students registered for the CAA How to Drive course can enter the Tear-up-the-Tuition Contest for their chance at winning one of 2 grand prizes of full course tuition reimbursement. Additional prizes include:
  • 2 x $200 Apple Store® gift cards
  • 3 x choice of $75 CAA Rewards Partner gift card
  • 39 x Cineplex Great Escape Packages
With this contest happening, now is a great time to sign up for CAA Driver Training if you or your teen are looking to get your license. We sent the Teen to a driver training course a couple of years ago. to be sure he got the right instruction and didn't pick up any of our bad habits. It isn't easy for a parent to teach a teen either (tension!), so hiring that job out is a great way to go.

Did you take a driver's training course? How do you feel about parallel parking today?

Disclosure: This post has been brought to you by CAASCO. Regardless, all opinions on this blog, as always, remain my own.

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