Learn how to PARALLEL PARK. The easiest video lesson (by Parking Tutorial)
How to Parallel Park
Parallel parking can be intimidating, but you’ll master it in no time with a bit of practice. Before you begin, find a space a few feet longer than your vehicle. Confirm the space is legal and use your flashers to signal as you pull up in front of the space. Shift into reverse and begin slowly backing up. At the same time, push the top of your steering wheel toward the space until the vehicle is at a 45 degree angle. Straighten out by turning the steering wheel the other way and bring your vehicle parallel to the curb. Shift back to drive and pull forward to center the vehicle in the space.
Selecting a Parking Space
Find a suitable space.Look for a space you can safely get your vehicle into without hitting another vehicle. Once you get better at parallel parking, you may be able to park in tighter spaces, but you may want to start with spaces that have six feet (two meters) of extra space. The space needs to be at least three feet (a meter) longer than your vehicle.
- If you've never parallel parked before, consider bringing plastic bins or cones to a parking lot and practice parallel parking between them.
Ensure it is a safe, legal parking space.Look for signs that indicate parking regulations in the area. Make sure you’re not parking in front of a fire hydrant or another area you cannot block. Note any time limits for the spot.
- Make sure nothing is sticking off the end of the either of the vehicles you hope to park between, such as a trailer hitch. If so, ensure you have enough room to fit into the space.
- Note the height of the curb next to the space. If it is especially high, you’ll want to take care not to back into it.
Turn on your signal and position yourself to back in.Check your rear view mirror to confirm that no one is immediately behind you. Brake gently to indicate that you are slowing down. Use your turn signal and pull up next to the vehicle in front of the space. About two feet (60 cm) between your vehicle and the parked vehicle is ideal.
- If another vehicle comes up behind you while you are trying to park, stay where you are and keep signaling. Roll down your window and hand-signal the other driver to go around you if necessary.
- The tighter the space, the closer you'll need to get to the other vehicle when you pull up beside it. For instance, you may need to position your vehicle about a foot (30cm) beside the vehicle in front of your space if the space only has an extra meter or so to work with.
Part 1 Quiz
The space you parallel park in should be:
Maneuvering Into the Space
Consider having someone help.If the space is tight or you haven’t parallel parked much, it’s worth having someone help guide you into the spot from outside the vehicle. If you have a passenger, ask them to get out and direct you.
- Have your passenger show you the distance between your vehicle and the one you’re approaching by holding their hands up to mimic the distance. This will be more accurate than verbal directions.
- Consider shifting your side mirror down so you can see the curb. While this isn’t necessary, it may help.
Begin backing up.Shift your vehicle into reverse. Make sure the street behind you is clear of traffic. Look over your shoulder towards the space. Once the back of your seat is even with the back of the vehicle beside you, turn your steering wheel quickly and evenly towards the spot until your vehicle is at a 45 degree angle as it enters the spot.
- Conceptually, envision pushing the steering wheel in the direction that you want the back of the car to go.
- Avoid swinging the front of your vehicle into the space too early, as you may hit or scrape the vehicle in front of you.
Back most of the way in.Continue backing in at an angle until the rear wheel nearest the curb is about a 1 foot (30 cm) from the curb. The rear of your vehicle should still be a few feet from the vehicle behind your parking space.
- If your rear tire hits the curb, you've gone too far. Simply shift back into drive, pull forward, and try again.
Straighten it out as you finish pulling in.Turn the steering wheel back towards the road once the rear of your vehicle is mostly in the space, and still slowly moving backwards. Look to do so when your front bumper is next to the rear bumper of the vehicle in front. This final maneuver moves the vehicle into the space and straightens it out simultaneously.
- Another good indicator to begin turning the wheel the other way is when the license plate on the vehicle in front of your space is centered in your windshield.
- In tighter spaces, you may need to begin switching the steering wheel’s direction a bit earlier.
Part 2 Quiz
Once the back of your seat is even with the back of the vehicle beside you, you should turn your wheel toward the spot until your vehicle is at what angle?
Positioning Your Vehicle in the Space
Center the vehicle in the space.Once you’re successfully in the space, you’ll likely have to re-position your vehicle to get it parallel to the curb and midway between the vehicles in either direction. If you still have space behind you, continue backing up until you’re almost touching the vehicle behind you. Shift into drive and turn slightly towards the curb as you pull forward.
Adjust your vehicle in tight spots.When the spot is tighter, positioning can be more challenging, and your front end may be further from the curb than you’d like to be. To remedy this, continue pulling forward and backward and wiggling towards the curb. Each time, turn the steering wheel all the way towards the curb before you pull forward, and straighten it up as you back up.
- Repeat as necessary. The front end will work its way into the space by turning hard to the curb as you pull forward.
- If you're too far from the curb in a normal-size spot, pulling out and trying again may be easier.
Start over whenever necessary.If you wind up unable to get into the spot on your first try, don’t worry. Signal and pull back out alongside the vehicle in front of you to start over.
Open your door carefully.Before getting out a vehicle, especially on the road side, check to make sure that a vehicle or cyclist is not approaching. It’s important to be aware of at all times, and parallel parking spots in particular place cyclists at risk, as you may be opening your door into the cycling lane.
- On the curbside, take care not to scratch the door against the curb or other items beside the road.
- If the door cannot open all the way while passengers are in the vehicle, remember this when you return to the vehicle. The door may open all the way when the vehicle is empty, but crunch down into the curb once people get into the vehicle and weigh it down.
Part 3 Quiz
What should you do if your front end is farther from the curb than you'd like?
QuestionHow do I pick a place to parallel park?wikiHow ContributorCommunity AnswerYour space should be about one and a half times the size of your car. It's always better to go with a bigger space rather than a smaller one.Thanks!
QuestionHow far from the curve do you need to be?wikiHow ContributorCommunity AnswerYour tires should be within a foot of the curb so your car isn't sticking out into the traffic lane.Thanks!
QuestionI will be taking a driving test soon. Do I do anything different if cones are used instead of actual cars?wikiHow ContributorCommunity AnswerNo, It will be the same way just replace car with the cones or barriers. You can just align yourself with the boarder. Imagine that the cones represent the front and rear bumpers of the two cars you are trying to park between and align yourself accordingly.Thanks!
QuestionWhat should I do if somebody parks in a way that blocks my vehicle in?wikiHow ContributorCommunity AnswerFirst, take a look at the situation and see if it's possible to get out of the space with the other car where it is. If so, pull out of your space by going slightly backward then forward several times to angle the front of the car toward the gap through which you'll be driving out. If not, see if you can find the person who parked the car - if you're at the grocery store, for example, have a store employee page the person over the loudspeaker. Whatever happens, remain calm!Thanks!
QuestionShould I park my car in first gear with a hand brake or neutral?wikiHow ContributorCommunity AnswerBoth are equally effective but a hand brake is the safest bet. However, in winter, when it's freezing, it's better to put it in first gear to avoid your brakes getting frozen or damaged when you 'unbrake' them upon return.Thanks!
QuestionHow can I avoid road rage when driving?wikiHow ContributorCommunity AnswerIf you're feeling yourself get angry, just take a few deep breaths and remind yourself that getting to your destination safely is more important than being "right" on the road. If someone else is getting angry with you, then just ignore them and focus on your driving. If they start acting aggressively or follow you, then call the police.Thanks!
QuestionWhat if I can't get into the spot during a road test?wikiHow ContributorCommunity AnswerAs long as you don't crash into the other cars, you will still pass the exam normally even though this will make you lose some points.Thanks!
QuestionWhile I was moving forward and about to reverse, another car came in directly and took over the space because he/she thought that I was leaving. What do I do in situations like that?wikiHow ContributorCommunity AnswerFind a different spot, or honk as a warning. There is no need to get mad over another person's mistakes.Thanks!
QuestionWhat should the distance between cars be for parallel parking?wikiHow ContributorCommunity AnswerFor a beginner, around 3 feet (36 inches) would be best. Later on, you can try to fit in tighter places.Thanks!
QuestionCan I look over my shoulder while reversing during parallel parking?wikiHow ContributorCommunity AnswerYes you can. You can also use the rearview mirror for that. Don't forget to check the other shoulder too, as a vehicle might be coming out of a driveway you are in the opposite side of.Thanks!
For parallel parking, I do not have a back door on car to judge when to start turning to park.
||Sit in the car during this VR parallel parking demo to experience exactly how parallel parking looks from both the inside and outside of the vehicle.|
- When in doubt, play it safe. Don't risk hitting the vehicle behind you or in front of you. If traffic conditions permit, place the vehicle in park to get out and see how much space you have left when you’re unsure.
- When you are turning the wheel, try to always be moving, even if you are just inching forward/backwards. This prevents stress on your steering components.
- If you have fancy wheels or hubcaps, particularly those with narrow "low-profile" tires, avoid pulling too close to a curb.
- Holding the wheel at an extreme turn for more than a few seconds may be bad for a power steering system.
Sources and Citations
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Video: How to Parallel Park (The Secret You have to Know!)
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