Parallel parking can be frightening for any driver. You are oftentimes forced to park in a tight parking spot in-between two cars. Your goal is not to hit any of the vehicles around you while not parking too close to the road, curb or any cars. Also, you may be trying to parallel park in a busy street, which can trigger anxiety.

With all these different factors at play, parking parallel can be difficult. However, there are parallel parking rules and a specific process that will help you understand how to parallel park. Additionally, there are 34 states that have a DMV parallel parking section in the driving test, so knowing how to parallel park perfectly is crucial. Learn about the process, tips and places where you can and cannot park below.

The Process of Parallel Parking

Trying to learn how to parallel park can be tough. It is something that many drivers are not forced to do on a daily basis. Also, it is a parking method that is difficult to learn because of all the specific steps that must be followed. If you are preparing to take your driving exam or just want to improve your parking, the parallel parking guide below will help you. If you follow each step, you will learn the easiest way to parallel park.

Find a Parking Spot

Find a parking spot where you can safely park in without damaging your vehicle. The parallel parking measurements are something to consider. You want to find a space that is approximately nine feet long and 20 feet wide. Also, make sure the location that you find is a legal parking area and not a tow-away zone.

Check Your Mirrors

The second step in the parallel parking instructions is to check your rear-view, left and right side mirrors for traffic as you approach the parking spot. You want to ensure that there is no vehicle immediately behind you. As you begin to approach the parking space, slowly brake and use your turning signal. By doing so, you are letting drivers know that you are trying to park. If another vehicle comes up behind you and is not going around you, let them know that you are parking.

Position Your Vehicle

You want to position your car with the vehicle that is parked in front of the spot you want to park in. The best way to parallel park is by aligning your bumper with that adjacent vehicle’s bumper. Make sure that you do not get too close or far from the automobile. You want to be two feet away from the car. This will allow you to have enough room to back into the parking spot without scraping the other vehicle.

Put Your Car in Reverse

Make sure that there is no traffic, bike or pedestrian behind you before parallel parking. Once you see the road is clear, put your vehicle in reverse. Look over your shoulder towards the space and slowly begin to reverse into the parallel parking space. Once you see your back seat is aligned with the front car’s bumper, turn your steering wheel quickly towards the parking space. You want to slowly continue to reverse until your car is at a 45-degree angle entering the spot.

When your tire is near the curb, you must turn your steering wheel back towards the road and slowly move backwards. You want to continue driving in reverse until you are close to the vehicle parked behind you.

Move Forward and Center the Vehicle

Put your car in drive and align yourself in-between both vehicles. Once your vehicle is straight and you are in the parking spot, make sure your parallel parking distance from the curb is no more than one foot. You do not want to be far from the curb, as that increase the chances of a passing vehicle scraping the side of your car.

How to Exit a Parallel Parking Space

Now that you know the steps to parallel parking, it is just as important to know how to exit the parking space. You cannot just turn and drive out of the parking spot. There is a guide that you must follow to leave as well.

Put Your Car in Reverse

When you are ready leave, it is important to make sure there are no pedestrians behind your vehicle. Once your surroundings are clear, put your car in reverse and get as close to the car behind you as possible without hitting it.

Put Your Car in Drive

You now have to turn your steering wheel all the way to the left. Before driving off, you must put your turning signal on. This will indicate to other drivers that you are leaving the parking spot. Once there is no traffic or pedestrians in the area, make sure you have enough room from the car in front of you and drive out of the parallel parking space.

Where to Practice Parallel Parking

Now that you are familiar with the parallel parking guide, you are probably wondering where to practice parallel parking. If you are looking to practice parking parallel for the first time, you can train on your driveway. You do not want to practice parking in between two cars right away because of the possibility of an accident. Instead, place two cones 20 feet away from each other and start practicing. Once you are comfortable enough, you can begin to park in between vehicles. Also, you can train in an empty parking lot or any area that will allow you to place cones. Furthermore, it is important to avoid practicing in a location with heavy traffic.

Where You Cannot Parallel Park

You are not able to parallel park anywhere you would like. Just because you see an open space on the side of the road does not mean you can park there. You cannot park:

  • Near a fire hydrant.
  • Within 30 feet of a stop sign.
  • In a train or bus lane.
  • Where curbs are marked red.
  • On a crosswalk or bike path.
  • On private property
  • On another person’s driveway without consent.

If you find a parallel parking spot that is not in any of the locations listed above, you can probably park there. Just make sure to follow this parallel parking guide.

Last updated on Tuesday, October 9 2018.

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