Useful Car Tips

Quick Guide to Parallel Parking

October 02, 2018
Parallel parking is a skill best learned through practice. It’s always a good idea to have a sense of where your car is in relation to the rest of the world, but it’s required knowledge in the case of parallel parking. Not knowing how far your front and rear bumpers stick out means you’ll probably be paying a lot of neighbors’ repair bills.

The Simple Guide to Parking Sideways

To avoid unnecessary damage and fines, glance over the following methods on parallel parking. A lot of people have opinions on how to parallel park, but it’s most important to find a system that works best for you. Parallel parking is all about repeatable steps, so get your muscle memory down and you won’t sweat the sideways park.

Road and Track’s Street-side Method

Experts at R & T start out the same way most people do, by pulling up to the car in front of the space they want to park in. From there, they instruct drivers to align their rear axle with the car’s rear bumper. This can be tricky for drivers who don’t know how to envision where their rear axle is. However, once you’ve aligned the car properly, simply turn the wheel full lock to the right, reverse slowly, and when the center of your rear tire matches the street-side edge of the car in front of you, you can straighten the wheel and continue reversing. Finally, when the outside tire aligns with the street-side edge of the car in front of you, you can turn the wheel fully left and nestle the car into the spot. This method is honestly a bit difficult to picture. Aligning your car properly requires a conception of where your rear axle is, and while most people could probably figure that out, it’s not something you want to worry about under stress.

The S Method from

Here’s another way to look at parallel parking: pull up 3 feet away from the car you want to park behind, aligning your back tires with the other car’s rear bumper. Reverse with your steering wheel turned all the way to the right until you reach a bout a 45-degree angle. Then, stop and turn the wheel all the way to the left. Begin reversing again, until you are parallel with the curb. Watch for front-end swing and use your mirrors as a guide. The S Method is a bit harder to perfect depending on how close you get to the car parked in front of the spot you’re going for. Align yourself too far away and you’ll be miles from the curb, but too close and you might end up clipping their rear bumper.

Visual Variations

If you’re someone who learns best by seeing something done over and over again, check out this visual demonstration of the mechanics of parallel parking. Always keep your eyes peeled for traffic moving around you and make sure to stay aware of your surroundings at all times. If you have to get out of the car to see where you’re at, that’s okay too! Simply check to make sure no one is driving by and exit safely, putting the car in park or neutral. Try to visualize the scene as if you were looking down on it and adjust accordingly.

Practice, a Lot

As you parallel park more and more, you’ll get used to lining your car up and snugging it in between two other vehicles. Take your time, keep alert, and soon you’ll be a parallel parking expert!
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