How to Master Parallel Parking

Parallel parking is a skill which distinguishes an expert driver from a good driver. While some states don’t test this on their driving exam, in many metropolitan and residential areas, this skill is a must. There are a number of basic rules to keep in mind. First, the cellphone should be well away from the driver. Parallel parking demands complete attention. Next, go slow. Speed is a danger to good car control. Driving slowly ensures the driver has enough time to gauge traffic and distance and to turn the steering wheel the necessary amounts. Finally, relax! A tense driver is a nervous driver and one who makes errors. As the parking space is approached, the driver needs to note whether there is enough room for their car.

A few extra feet are needed in order to maneuver the car properly and safely. Turn on the turn indicator. Drive up next to the car in front, being parallel to it, and align the cars with both sets of back wheels being next to each other. Do not be too close to the parked car as it may be hit during this maneuver. A space of 3 to 6 inches is necessary. Put the car in reverse. Turn the steering wheel all the way to the right and slowly back into the space. When the front wheels of the car being parked are even with the bumper of the front car, turn the steering wheel to the left so that the car will straighten out as the backing into place is completed. Continue backing slowly until the car’s rear bumper and the front bumper of a car in back are close and should be at a very slight angle now. It is unlikely the car will be perfectly positioned at this point. It takes three movements or more to properly parallel park. Put the car into drive. Turn the steering wheel towards the right.

Pull forward slowly, straightening and aligning the car with the front and back cars. Make sure the car being parked is in the middle of the marked parking space and about six to twelve inches away from the curb. It may take a few short attempts, backing and forth for the spacing to be correct. Don’t worry if it takes more than one try to parallel park properly. Simply indicate that you are about to pull into traffic. Move into the driving lane again, pull up next to the front car, put the turn indicator on and try again. Congratulations! You have mastered the driving skill which has been the bane of many driving students.