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How To Parallel Park Perfectly

Can't stand street parking, but need to move to a big city? A longtime commuter explains how to parallel park perfectly without too much hassle.

By Cato ConroyPublished 6 years ago 3 min read

Parallel parking is one of those things that everyone has trouble with. However, if you want to pass your driving test, you will need to know how to parallel park. Moreover, if you want to live in a city or travel to one, parallel parking might be the only kind of parking available.

Learning how to parallel park isn't always easy, but with hope, reading this guide can help you get a lot better at it than before.

First, find a parking spot that looks big enough to fit your car.

Before you can learn how to parallel park perfectly, you'll need to find a parking space that's roomy enough to fit your car. Cars are all different sizes, so if you have a big muscle car, you might have a harder time finding an adequate parking spot than if you were driving a compact sports car.

If possible, choose a parking space that's bigger than what you technically need. This can help you get more room to adjust your car. Once you find a good parking space, drive right past it so that you line up with the car that will be in front of you, and turn your turning blinker on. This indicates to other drivers that you are going to park.

Once you line up with the car in front of you, stop the car.

Here's how to parallel park from this position: while stopped, turn the wheel all the way to the right. Like, all the way. Once you can't turn the wheel anymore, look in the rearview mirror to ensure no one's behind you and shift your car into reverse.

Slowly back into the parking space, and then stop the car when the right-front portion of the car behind you is in the middle of your rearview window.

Then, stop the car again. Look behind you, and turn your car's wheel to the central position. Continue to back into the parking spot. Once you're barely in the spot, turn the wheel all the way to the left, and continue to back in.

Once your car is parallel to the curb, turn your car to the middle position to straighten it out. Tricky? Yes, but it is possible to learn it. Here are some more tips for parallel parking below...

How To Parallel Park Perfectly: Bonus Tips

The following bonus tips can help new drivers overcome the learning bump that is known as parallel parking:

  • Don't worry about learning how to parallel park perfectly at first. Just learn the basics, and you'll often be better for it.
  • Space is your friend. The more space you have, the better.
  • You might be able to practice parallel parking on a driving test course over the weekend. Depending on which state you live in, and how lax police are about it, many cops will allow you to practice in the DMV driving course area. If not, you can also practice using traffic cones on your own street.
  • Smaller cars are easier to parallel park. But, that should be obvious.
  • Don't be afraid to buy a car that has parking help. Many car brands now make parallel parking assistance and cameras standard on their models as a way to help out hesitant parkers. A little help is never a bad thing.
  • Lastly, practice does make perfect — and don't sweat the small stuff. You don't need to know how to parallel park perfectly to get by in a big city. As long as you can safely park, you should be good to go!

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About the Creator

Cato Conroy

Cato Conroy is a Manhattan-based writer who yearns for a better world. He loves to write about politics, news reports, and interesting innovations that will impact the way we live.

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