How to Parallel Park
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For many, parallel parking is the bane of the driver’s license test–and driving in general. But you won’t always be able find a parking lot, and parallel parking skills will serve you well in life.
Once you’ve mastered the technique, parking between two cars on the side of the road isn’t nearly as daunting. In this article we’ll provide the complete guide on how to parallel park (whether for your driving test or in real life), including step-by-step instructions on finding the right parallel parking space for your vehicle and how to safely park without hurting your car or getting a parking ticket.
How to parallel park
Find a large enough parking space. Make sure that the parking space is large enough to fit your car with a little room to spare.
Not even the most experienced drivers can fit a car into a spot that is too small. Familiarize yourself with your car’s turning ability and dimensions so that you can assess situations accurately.
Make sure the spot is a legal parking space. Check to make sure there are no fire hydrants or signs that indicate parking is not allowed.
Be aware of signs for street cleaning restrictions and time allowances in cities.
Turn on your indicator and align your car to the car in front of the desired space. Signaling is important to notify other cars that they need to pass.
Align the back of your vehicle next to the back of the vehicle in front of the desired parking spot and prepare to reverse.
Aim to be approximately two to three feet away from the car next to you to avoid scraping them as you back in.
Back into the space. Be certain that there are no cars directly behind you, then put your car in reverse.
Start backing up, and turn your steering wheel all the way to the right when you can see the rear bumper of the car next to you.
Continue backing up in this manner until your car is at a 45-degree angle from the curb. Once you reach this angle, turn your wheel all the way to the left and continue backing in.
Monitor mirrors during the entire process and watch out for potential hazards like pedestrians, bike racks, and other cars. Be sure to watch the area in front of and behind your car to avoid hitting the parked cars around you.
If the angle is wrong, don’t be afraid to try again.
Stop when the car is correctly in the space. Once you are inside the boundaries of the parking spot, you may turn your steering wheel back to center and pull forward to create equal space in front of and behind your car.
Other cars should have enough room to maneuver out of their spaces. Check your distance from the curb and aim to be in a parallel position about a foot away.
Avoid small accidents and fender benders by employing safe driving strategies and practicing difficult parking tasks.
Even if you can parallel park well, you can’t guarantee that someone else won’t ding your car. Protect yourself in the event of an unexpected accident by making sure your insurance coverage suits your needs.
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How do I practice parallel parking?
To practice parallel parking, put several cones on the side of a curb to represent the space between two parked vehicles. You can then practice parallel parking, and if you hit a cone, you know that you’re not ready to parallel park yet.
How close can you parallel park to another car?
Typically, you want to leave some space between the car in front of and behind you. The amount of space should be enough to allow someone to comfortable leave their parking space when they need to. If you can tell that you wouldn’t be able to get out of that parking space if you were in their position, you’ve parked too close.