It probably won’t shock you to learn that parallel parking was named the number one cause of driver stress for 18-34 year-olds in a recent study. Thanks to new driver-assist technology like backup camera and collision warnings, most younger drivers simply don’t have the practice to nail down a specific parallel parking routine. It feels like they’re doing it for the first time, every time, and that’s where all the stress is coming from.
If you’re someone who stresses out parallel parking, have no fear. We’re about to present you with a foolproof guide to parallel parking like a pro.
We promise: once you’ve tested this method a few times, you’ll have formed good enough parallel parking habits to be able to repeat this over and over and over without anxiety.
7 Steps to Parallel Parking
- Look for a space large enough to parallel park into. A good rule of thumb is that there should be at least a vehicle-and-a-half worth of space separating the two vehicles you’re planning to parallel park between.Once you’ve found a big enough space…
- Pull up alongside the vehicle in front of your parking space. Align your back wheels with the back bumper of that vehicle. Stop.
- Turn your steering wheel as far as you can to the right before you start to pull into the space.
- Slowly back into the parking space, keeping your steering wheel as far to the right as possible while you do this. Your back right wheel should eventually line up with the back left corner of the vehicle just as your front right wheel lines up with the same corner. See the video above if you’d like a visual aid.
- Once your front right wheel has lined up with the back left corner of the vehicle in front of you, turn your wheel as far to the LEFT as you can, and then slowly back up in to the space.
- Once you’re in the space, pull ahead slightly to give the vehicle behind you enough room to pull out.
- Congratulations, you’ve parallel parked like a pro!
Remember: look carefully for oncoming traffic before exiting your vehicle!
The key to learning to parallel park is that it is a repeatable skill. Once you know how to do it, you can do it every single time. It doesn’t require special judgment or veteran experience. It just takes a bit of practice and the right steps to make it happen.
And now you have those!
So, get out there and practice your parallel parking. Just remember that it’s all about aligning your wheels in the right spots and cutting your wheels at the right times. It’s not a skill you have to “master.” It’s simply a set of steps you need to remember, and practice, and practice again.
You’ll be parallel parking like a pro in a matter of minutes.