Last updated: August 2022
You've got errands to run, places to go, and friends and family to see. With all that driving, shopping, parking, etc. comes the anxiety that is...parallel parking. Don't pass up a great parking spot just because your parking skills could use some perfecting. With this handy guide and a little practice, you could be parallel parking like a pro in no time! Learn how to parallel park from Direct Auto!
How to Parallel Park
Parallel Parking Steps
Step 1: Find a large enough space & signal.
This could make or break your parking attempt (and possibly another car)! Finding a space that is at least six feet longer than your car is ideal, says TeenDriving.com, especially when you're first starting out. Once you've found a good-sized space, stop the car and turn on your signal to let other drivers know your intentions.
Step 2: Pull up directly next to the car in front of your space.
There's more than one reason it's called "parallel" parking. Make sure your car is as close as it can be without causing a side-view mirror mishap, about two to three feet. Your front tires should be facing completely forward and your front seat should be lined up with the back of the other car's front seat.
Step 3: Stop & check traffic.
Simon says, “Stop!” Don't try to automatically reverse as quickly as possible. Brake, turn around and make sure you're not about to cause an accident. If there's another car behind you, flash your brake lights to let them know you're parking. You may also want to check for oncoming traffic. Depending on the width of the road and the size of your vehicle, the next step could put the tip of your car into the other lane of traffic.
Step 4: Turn your wheel completely to the right.
While you're still stopped, turn the wheel as far to the right as possible. This is an important step; don't try to go forward or backward while doing it!
Step 5: Back it up!
Now, slowly begin reversing. The magic of geometry will allow your car to begin backing into the space. Keep going until your car is at a 45-degree angle from the curb. (Remember all those triangles from geometry class? Now's the time to use that knowledge!) If math wasn't your greatest subject, just remember that you're pretty much at a 45-degree angle when the back of your front door lines up with the rear bumper of the car next to you.
Step 6: Stop and readjust.
Once you're halfway into the space, come to a complete stop. Watch to make sure your front bumper clears the back of the car in front of you. If your back tire hits the curb, you've gone too far into the spot; reposition yourself and pull forward to try again.
Step 7: To the left, to the left.
Once you're clear of the car in front of you, turn your steering wheel all the way to the left and continue slowly backing into the space. Once you're in, turn your wheel back to the front and straighten up.
Take a deep breath! You did it! Time to put the car in park and do a victory dance in the driver's seat! Now get out of the car and into that house—you've got some turkey to eat!
Pro Tip for Parents: Teen driving statistics reveal that many teens are pretty nervous about parallel parking. In fact, 23% of teens polled by Driving-Tests.org admitted that parallel parking was one of their biggest fears about driving. Considering this stats, it may be a good idea to double check your teen's cheap auto insurance policy for coverages like comprehensive and collision. You never know what could happen out on the road or even in the school parking lot!
Follow these steps and you'll be on your way to parallel parking like a pro! Looking for more everyday driving tips and tricks? Keep up with the latest posts by following Direct Auto Insurance on Facebook and Twitter!