How to Parallel Park

Parallel parking is a parking method that allows you to park your vehicle parallel to the road. It's typically used to park in the space between two other parked vehicles. In most cases, you may park parallel to any curb, unless you see a sign probiting parallel parking, or the curb is painted yellow.

How Do I Parallel Park?

Parallel parking is one of those skills that requires a lot of practice. Don’t get discouraged if it doesn’t come easily. Many people avoid parallel parking when they can, but there will be some situations where it's the only option.

The image above shows the four steps to successful parallel parking:

  1. Choose a space big enough for your vehicle. Engage your turn signal, and then stop in line with the front car, leaving about two feet of space between you and the other vehicle.
  2. Make sure there's a large enough opening in oncoming traffic so that you will not interfere with traffic flow. Then, turn your front wheels all the way to the right and drive backward slowly toward the curb.
  3. When your front seat is opposite the rear bumper of the car ahead, quickly turn your steering wheel all of the way to the left. Back up slowly toward the car behind you without touching it. You should be about six inches from the curb.
  4. Straighten your front wheels, and pull into the final parking position. Center your car in the space. Check to make sure your right wheels are within 12 inches of the curb or edge of the roadway. Parking out in the roadway more than 12 inches can interfere with traffic.

Spacing and timing are very important while parallel parking. If you're too close to the car ahead, or if your wheels cut to the right too soon, you may hit the rear bumper of the car in front of you. If you're too far out from the car in front, you won’t get your wheels close enough to the curb. If you cut your wheels to the left too soon, you’ll hit the curb. Finally, each time you drive out or back up, make sure you signal first, watch for oncoming traffic, and proceed with caution.

Parallel Parking Tutorial

Check out the video below for an easy-to-follow parallel parking tutorial.

Like we said, parallel parking takes a lot of practice. Don't get discouraged if it takes you some time to figure out!

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