How to Parallel Park: 7 Things to Remember

Parallel parking can be intimidating, especially for novice drivers or those not used to driving in urban areas. Most drivers, including the experienced ones, get sweaty palms when thinking about positioning their car between two other cars to parallel park. However, while parallel parking can be nerve-wracking, you can master the technique in no time by practicing these seven easy tips.

1. Find a spot where parking is permitted  

A group of people that know how to parallel park on the side of the road.
Parallel parked car | Getty Images

Before you start thinking about how to parallel park step by step, you should look for a spot where parking is permitted, as Erie Insurance reports. Also, do not go for the first step you see. Try to find a parking space approximately one and a half times the length of your car.

Look for a parking space where you can easily fit your car without colliding with other vehicles. When you get good at parallel parking, you can easily park in tighter spaces, but you may want to begin with parking spaces with additional space.

2. Be aware of your surrounding

It is imperative to be cautious of your surrounding when parallel parking to ensure you are parking in a safe and legal space. Look for notices on parking regulations in the area. Also, be careful not to park in front of a fire hydrant, and make sure you have enough space to accommodate objects that may take up space, such as a trailer hitch.

3. Align your car

As Geico explains, you should first turn on your signal and put yourself in the proper position to back in. Confirm from your rearview mirror that there is no one right behind you. Slowly break to let other drivers know that you are slowing down. Using your turn signal, pull up to the car parked in front of the space. 

4. Back up

To begin backing up, use your rearview mirrors to ensure no car is immediately behind you and the incoming cars have left enough room for you to back up. Check over your right shoulder into your spot and start reversing gently. Once your car is approximately a third of the way past the one next to it, start turning the wheel carefully to the right. It would be best if you got into the spot at about a 45-degree angle.

Keep backing in until the rear wheel closest to the curb is approximately one foot from the curb. Remember to keep the rear of your vehicle several feet from the car behind your parking space.

5. Straighten it out

Once the rear of your car is mainly in the parking space, turn your steering wheel back in the direction of the road and continue moving back slowly. While doing this, ensure your front bumper is right next to the car’s rear bumper at the front. This will not only move your vehicle into the space but also straighten it out.

6. Pull in tight

As you continue straightening your vehicle into the space, use your rearview mirror to check how close your vehicle is to the car behind your parking space.  After ensuring your car is completely clear of the one at the front, you should turn your wheel sharply to the left. Back up gently until you reach the car behind you

7. Center your vehicle

After you are successfully parked in the space, you may have to re-position your car to get it midway between the cars in either direction. If there is an extra space behind you, keep backing up until you are almost in contact with the vehicle behind you. According to Solomon, you should maintain your vehicle approximately 6 to 12 inches from the curb to make it easy for vehicles to enter and exit the parking spaces.

RELATED: 5 Great Cars if You Need to Parallel Park Often