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How to Easily Parallel Park, Seriously

Parallel parking doesn’t rank high on many drivers’ favorite skills. It can be challenging for new and experienced drivers. However, many states require drivers to parallel park to pass the road exam and get a driver’s license. Parallel parking is like most skills, and practice often makes perfect.

Having a bit of knowledge on how to position the car and when to turn it is critical information.

Today, we’re sharing a step-by-step guide to parallel parking. Whether you’re new to driving or want to improve your skills for urban parking, it doesn’t have to be daunting. Let’s get started!

What Is Parallel Parking?

Parallel parking is when a driver needs to maneuver into a parking space between two objects. Whether it’s two vehicles or a vehicle and an inanimate object, this parking style is more challenging than pulling into a spot. It requires the driver’s full attention to get close enough to the curb and avoid hitting objects in front or behind the vehicle.

Woman parallel parking car
Parallel parking takes practice to get it perfect.

Do You Need to Know How to Parallel Park?

If you spend most of your time parking in large lots, you may go years without needing to parallel park. However, if you live in an urban environment or where street parking is the norm, it would be best to know how to parallel park.

States set the requirements for testing and issuing driver’s licenses. Most states in the United States require drivers to parallel park as part of their road test. Should you use more than the necessary maneuvers when parallel parking, you could fail your road test.

If you’re preparing for a road test, practice with a set of cones or other objects. Anything that won’t damage your vehicle or break if you accidentally bump into it will do the job.

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Why Is Parallel Parking So Hard?

Parallel parking can be challenging because a driver must consider many factors. Having a vehicle in front and behind you can be intimidating. It’s easy for drivers to get anxious if they’re blocking traffic or other cars are honking at them. Drivers are more likely to make a mistake or grow impatient with themselves when experiencing stress.

This parking style can also be frustrating because no two situations are the same. The distance between the vehicles or objects constantly changes, and so does the incline or decline in the road.

We can’t understate the value of practicing as often as possible, especially if you see an opportunity that won’t inconvenience others. 

Cars parallel parked along road
Even for the experiences driver parallel parking can be a challenge.

How to Easily Parallel Park

If you’re uncomfortable with parallel parking, we hope we can ease your worries. If you follow these steps, you won’t have to pass by that premium parking spot because it will require you to parallel park. Let’s take a look!

Find a Parking Spot

The first thing you need to do is find a parking spot. You’ll want to look for a place with at least 1.5 times the length of your car between the object or vehicle in front and the one behind you. If you don’t have sufficient room for maneuvering, you won’t get into the spot.

Once you find the spot, pull up next to the vehicle in the front. You want approximately two or three feet between you and the car on your right, with your mirrors lined up with theirs. Starting in the correct position is half the battle.

Back It Up

Once you have your vehicle lined up, you can start backing it up. Slow and steady wins the race regarding this step of parallel parking. Getting yourself in a hurry can mess up your positioning and cause dramatic turns that will result in you being unsuccessful.

You’ll want to start turning the wheel toward the right to swing the rear of your vehicle into the parking spot. Continue to back into the area until your passenger mirror covers the vehicle’s tail light in front of you. 

Woman driving car trying to parallel park
Run through a simple checklist of steps when parallel parking to make it easier.

Turn Toward the Curb

Now that you are halfway into the parking spot cut the wheel to the left to turn toward the curb. This will straighten out your vehicle and move the front of your car into the parking spot. Go slow and keep an eye on the car behind you. Your wheels mustn’t be too close to the curb.

Straighten It Up

Once your vehicle is in the parking spot, you’ll need to pull forward to make minor adjustments. You want to keep a decent distance between you and the cars in front and behind. This helps ensure that everyone has plenty of room to maneuver their vehicles in and out of their spots safely.

You don’t want to return to your car and find a ding in the front or rear bumper because you parked too close to another vehicle.

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Widen Your Parking Options By Parallel Parking

You may skip by some of the best parking spots because you don’t want to parallel park. However, the more you can parallel park, the easier it will become. Before you know it, you’ll be a parallel parking expert. Being able to park in tight spaces makes more parking spots available to you. So stop skipping these parking spots and get to practicing! 

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