In today’s world of technological wizardry, select smaht cars can parallel park themselves with the press of a button. It is the only instance in which the term “driverless cars” can be applied without lying (coughrightelonkcoughcough). An overwhelming majority of the public, however, still has to do it the old fashioned way with mirrors and a keen sense of depth perception.
Parallel parking is typically the most intimidating part of a driver’s test, as well as part of everyday living in a crowded metropolis. It requires a slight understanding of geometry and a high understanding of your vehicle’s boundaries. With a few guidelines and some practice, however, it becomes a simple task that won’t throw you into an anxiety-riddled freak-out.
Car Bibles is here to help you pass your driving test or ease your mind when driving downtown with a step-by-step guide to parallel parking. Listen up!
How To Parallel Park
First, ask yourself this question: Will my car realistically fit into the spot without endangering my car or other vehicles? Bumpers might be called bumpers, but that doesn’t mean they should be used as buffers for parking. It’s never okay to hit somebody’s car, people! A light bump should always be reported if you screw up.
- When parking in a space on the right side of the street, flick your turn signal on and position your vehicle next to the vehicle in front of the space you will park in.
- Position the vehicle 2-3 feet from the vehicle and line up your side mirrors with that vehicle’s mirrors.
- Check your surroundings for incoming cars, young professionals on scooters, wandering pups, lizards, or children driving Power Wheels.
- Throw your car in reverse and back up until your car is about halfway past the adjacent vehicle.
- Roll your wheel to the right and begin reversing until your vehicle is at about a 45-degree angle relative to the car in front of you.
- Cut the wheel the opposite way and slowly reverse into the spot. Be sure not to cut too early or you’ll end up three miles off the curb.
- Continue correcting the wheel until you straighten out. Use your side and rearview mirrors to check your distance from the rear car.
- Once in the spot, pull forward and reverse until you are happy with your position.
- Put your vehicle in park and fold your side mirrors, if necessary.
Ed. Note 1: Many modern vehicles also use backup cameras and built-in sensors to aid parking. Use them, they’re helpful!
Ed. Note 2: Every car is different and requires different steering finesse. Different sizes, different sightlines, different steering ratios, different bumpers, and different heights all require slightly different inputs and angles. Use your best judgment.
Parallel Parking FAQs
Do you have questions about parallel parking? Don’t worry, Car Bibles has the answers!
What Is the Easiest Way to Parallel Park?
By parking in a spot without any cars in front of or behind it.
What Are the 5 Steps To Parallel Parking?
- Pull up in front of the spot, next to the other car.
- Reverse and cut the wheel hard.
- Straighten the wheel out and slide into the spot.
- Pull forward.
Do You Signal When Parallel Parking?
Yes, always turn on your indicator to alert surrounding people and drivers of your intentions.
How Do You Practice Parallel Parking at Home?
You can practice on your own street, but it’s safer for you and others to practice in a parking lot. Grab a couple of garbage cans and a friend to practice without putting any other cars in danger.
What Is a 45-degree Angle When Parallel Parking?
This occurs when you cut the wheel to slide into the spot. Your car is at a 45-degree relative to the car in front of you.
What Should the Distance Between Cars Be for Parallel Parking?
When positioning your vehicle for parallel parking, your car should be about two to three feet from the car you’re lining up next to.