Parallel Park Your Car in 6 Easy Steps
Parallel Parking 101
Are you the type of person to dismiss an open parking spot because it means you’d have to parallel park? Would you rather drive around for another ten minutes than hold up traffic as you nudge and wiggle your car into place?
It’s okay, you aren’t alone. Far from it, in fact. Parallel parking gives many drivers the heebie-jeebies, probably because it’s not covered in most driver education courses. But if you follow our handy guide, you’ll be able to slide your car into those hard-to-reach places – on the first try.
Know Your Limits
You should look for a spot that’s 1 and ½ times the length of your car. That should give you plenty of room to get in, and more importantly, get back out. Is it possible to fit into a smaller space? Of course. If you’re a pro at parallel parking, that is. But if you’re reading this article, it’s probably safe to assume you aren’t.
Getting in Position
Pull up alongside the car you will be parking behind. You may even wish to pull up alongside the car ahead of that, just to be comfortable.
Look Back and Back Up
Keeping a close watch on everything that’s happening behind you, slowly begin to drive backwards, staying parallel to the parked cars.
When to Turn
The rule of thumb is to begin your turn once you can see the back of the car that you’re parking behind. Cut the wheel so that you’re moving at a 45-degree angle.
Once your (drivers) seat is even with the bumper of the car you’re parking behind, turn the wheel in the opposite direction. If you’re unsure, go slowly. This will even your car out, and bring you safely into the spot.
Finishing the Job
Once you’re safely inside the spot, and the patiently waiting cars can pass, you may allow yourself a well-earned sigh of relief. But you aren’t quite done yet. Before you get out of your car, be sure to straighten out the wheel, and pull to the middle of the space you are occupying. This allows you to get out with ease, and prevents you from accidentally boxing in the cars on either side of you.
Parallel parking isn’t something new teen drivers are automatically good at. It takes patience and practice. But once you get the hang of it, it will feel like second nature. It’s a good idea to practice this maneuver while you’re going through your driver education course, so that when you do finally hold your official drivers license, you’ll already know how to parallel park.