Saved from a driver’s test parallel parking nightmare? — FranklyStein


Last night my 16-year-old daughter showed me a text from a friend who was at driver’s ed. Apparently she was told there would be no more parallel parking on the Maryland Drivers Test.

This was exciting news to my daughter who is scheduled to take the test on July 9. I have to admit, the thought was a bit of a relief to me as well. I wasn’t looking forward to spending hours in the car helping her perfect her parallel parking skills.

driversEdW2Text from a driver’s ed class.I still have nightmares of my own experience with parallel parking in the early 1980s when I failed the drivers test on my 16th birthday. I had practiced parallel parking for hours in front of my house, but nerves got the better of me and I flubbed it. Back in the day, however, you could just show up the next day to take the test again — which I did and passed. You didn’t have to wait months for an appointment.

Yesterday when I heard the news, I wasn’t sure I believed it so I went to the MVA website in an attempt to confirm it but found nothing. A friend shared an article with me on Facebook just a few minutes after the text that said the change was effective May 19.

The article quoted an MVA spokesperson who said the administration determined that completing a two-point turn and backing up are similar enough to parallel parking to eliminate it from the test.

I’m still not sure this isn’t a complete hoax. It just seems a little too well timed. And it’s something I’ve found myself discussing a lot lately. If you think about it, what does parallel parking really say about your driving ability? If you can’t do it, it’s more of an inconvenience to you than a driving hazard. If you can’t parallel park, you can’t go anywhere that requires it. And when you really have to do it, you learn pretty fast. A few weeks of living in Washington, D.C. after college and I was an expert. I still am to this day.

Personally, I really hope it’s true. That’s one less thing I will have to stress about when my daughter goes to take the test. As the oldest of four kids, I need her to drive as soon as possible, and I don’t have time to drive all over Maryland to catch the next available open drivers test appointment.

But rest assured, we will be teaching her to parallel park. You kind of need to know how if you live near Baltimore, Washington or even Annapolis. Um. Maybe that’s why they had it on the test in the first place.

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FranklyStein is a blog by Chesapeake Family Magazine editor Betsy Stein who lives in Catonsville with her husband, Chris, and four children, Maggie, 16, Lilly, 14, Adam, 14, and Jonah, 10.