Parallel parking can be intimidating. Especially if you’ve seen videos of people doing it horribly, you might be scared to try to parallel park by yourself. But luckily, there are a few steps you can follow that will work like a charm every time. If you’re ready to parallel park like a pro, just follow the below parallel parking tips, practice a few times, and you’ll be confident to parallel park anywhere, anytime! Are you ready to learn how to parallel park?
Depending on where you live, learning how to parallel park might be a required part of your driver’s license test. But, even if it’s not required, it’s still a great idea to learn how to parallel park. It comes in handy more often than you might think! In order to practice parallel parking, we recommend using two cones in place of the other parked cars before trying out your skills on a busy street—just in case you make a mistake.
Step-by-Step Tips on How to Parallel Park
These tips will go over how to parallel park in a real-life situation. Are you ready to master this maneuver?
1. Drive around until you find a spot that looks big enough for your car, plus a little extra room.
You don’t want to be trying to cram your car into a tiny space. Generally speaking, the more room you have, the better chance you have of parallel parking successfully. It’s OK if you have to drive around a little to make sure you find a great-sized spot. You can refer to the average parallel parking spot dimensions here if you want to get a better feel for the space you’ll be working with.
2. Once you find your spot, slow down, and put on your blinker.
There will likely be other cars behind you, so you will need to let them know that you plan on parallel parking. The spot will always be on your right-hand side because you are supposed to park the car facing the way traffic goes, so put your right blinker on before slowing down to a halt.
3. Pull up next to the parked car in front of the spot.
The key here is to try to line up your car with the parked car. The back of your car should be at about the same spot as the back of the other car. You should be approximately two to three feet from the side of the parked car as well. OK, now, are you ready to back it up?
4. Check your mirrors, then turn your steering wheel all the way to the right while stopped.
Before you back up, double-check no one is behind you or in your blind spots. Then, turn the steering wheel completely to the right before you put the car into reverse. This will enable you to cut the angle drastically so you can back into the spot.
5. Look out the back window and inch backward.
Always keep an eye out for other motorists. Keeping your steering wheel completely turned, put the car into reverse and slowly back into the spot.
6. STOP when you can see the right-front part of the rear-parked car in the middle of your windshield.
When you are looking back as you reverse, you should be able to see out the back window. Once the back window view shows more of the sidewalk and the right-front of the parked care behind you, take that as a stern command to stop reversing. If this part sounds difficult to you, or you just want a little more confidence, you can always buy a backup camera for your car—it is super useful and will also make you a safer driver overall.
7. Turn your steering wheel all the way left and slowly continue backing up.
If you think you are too close to the rear car before doing this, feel free to jump out of the car quickly (while it’s in park) to assess how much space there is between you and the car. Once you parallel park more often, you will get a feel for how close is too close without checking. When you decide all is clear, turn the steering wheel all the way to the left and continue backing up. Doing so is going to help straighten you out a little more.
8. STOP, then adjust your car.
Once you get as close as possible to the rear-parked car and your car feels pretty straight, stop. Then, turn your steering wheel to the middle or to the right one last time (depending on how straight your car is) and inch forward to completely adjust and straighten out your car. If you did all the steps correctly, you should be sitting pretty directly and safely in-between the two parked cars!
And voila! You’ve learned how to parallel park your car. Remember that parallel parking isn’t so much a magic skill as it is simply following the parallel parking rules. As long as you follow these steps, you will be able to parallel park in any space that’s big enough for your car. Let us know in the comments if you have any additional questions, and we’ll try to help you out.