How to Parallel Park Like a Pro

parallel parking

One of the hardest things about being a new driver, or any driver, is learning how to parallel park. However, being able to easily parallel park is not only a useful skill, especially in a city, but an impressive one as well. Here is how to parallel park like a pro.

Try to find a suitable space

You should look for a space that is a few feet longer than your vehicle to give you ample room to park comfortably. Although, if your selection is limited, with careful maneuvering, you can use a smaller space.

Take a good look at your potential space

You want to make sure that it is as long as it originally looked, that there are no special parking restrictions or driveways in the way, and if there are any obstructions, or people, near the road that you will need to be wary of while parking.

Secure your space

Now, let everyone know that this space is yours and get yourself in the right position to back up. Signal toward the space and slow your speed down. Be careful to check your rear view mirror in order to make sure that there are no cars directly behind you. If there are then slow down more gently than you normally would, until they reduce their speed. Pull up close beside the car in front of your claimed space, aligning the front of your car with the middle of the other car.

It’s time to shift in reverse

First, use the driver’s side mirror to verify that the street behind your car is completely empty of any traffic. Take a good look over your shoulder at the space you are parking in. Then, turn the steering wheel hard to the right.

Now, you want to release the breaks

Very slowly beginning turning your wheel sharply and backing into your space. Continue backing up until you are at the point where your rear wheel, nearest to the curb, is almost at the spot where you would want to park it. The rear end of your car should still be a few feet in front of the car behind it. If you hit the curb with your rear tire, then simply put your car back into drive and pull up a few feet. Then, try again.

Turn your steering wheel

At this point, you are going to want to turn your steering wheel to the left, while still going backward. The rear end of your vehicle should be mostly in the space here. Now, maneuver completely into your new space, while straightening out your car as you go.

Continue moving in reverse

You want to continue moving in reverse as far back as you can without hitting the front bumper of the car behind you. Then, shift back to drive and turn your steering wheel once more towards the right. Move forwards towards the curb, gently, and center your car in the middle of the space.

Verify you have successfully parallel parked

At this point, you should have successfully parallel parked. You should be less than a foot from the curb with enough space in front and behind you for the other cars to pull back out and for new cars to parallel park if the spaces become empty. If you are not parked successfully, don’t panic. Signal that you are leaving the spot, pull back to your original position, and try again.

Other helpful tips:

  • It’s important to practice. Go to an empty parking lot with parallel spots or set up cones or large boxes. You want to feel comfortable before you try this in a real situation. After you’ve practiced enough in mock situations, then it is time to go out and try the real situation.
  • If the space is exceptionally tight, you may want to consider asking your passenger or a stranger to help guide your parking by using their arms to show you how much space is between your car and the one behind it.
  • Make sure not to cut your wheel too soon or too quickly, as you will end up too far from the curb.

There you have it, if you follow these easy steps and tips you will surely be able to impress all your family and friends with your professional parallel parking ability in no time at all.