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Car Parking

How to parallel park: Tips to make parking easy.

Parking is not always an easy task.

Sometimes spots are too tight, too small or positioned strangel — not to mention the potential obstacles hindering your perfect parking, like other vehicles, trees, shopping carts and mailboxes, among other things. 

In any of those instances, you may struggle to fit your car in the right spot. All the while, there are so many different ways to park, including the dreaded parallel parking. 

For driving beginners and seniors alike, parallel parking can be a challenge. Just thinking of parallel parking can instill fear into any driver. But the process does not have to be nerve-wracking if you follow these simple steps to parallel park correctly. 

How to parallel park

Parallel parking can be broken down into several steps, according to 

Position your car

Once you have found a parking spot where you can fit your vehicle, pull up parallel to the car parked in front of the empty space. When you align yourself next to the other vehicle, make sure your hood is almost parallel to its mirror. 

Reverse the car

Before you start to reverse, put on your turn signal to notify others that you are parallel parking. Check your mirrors for traffic, and make sure no one is in your blindspots. Then, begin to reverse when it is safe. 

Turn your wheel to the curb

As you are reversing into the spot, start to cut the steering wheel toward the curb. Be sure to do so once the middle of your car lines up with the front car's rear bumper. According to Geico, you should be approaching the curb at a 45 degree angle

Straighten the wheel

When your car's right side mirror lines up with the car in front, begin to cut the wheel in the opposite direction to straighten it out, says Geico. 

Adjust your position as needed

Check around your vehicle to see if you need to adjust your parking. Shift forward or back to ensure there is equal space between the car in front and behind you. Once this is finished, you are done.

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Tips for parallel parking

Once you get the hang of parallel parking, it can become easier over time, especially if you practice. 

Keep these tips in mind whenever you are attempting to parallel park: 

Always check your mirrors, back-up cameras or over your shoulder.

When doing this, you are ensuring your safety, as well as the safety of others. If you have a passenger in the car, ask them to get out and guide you into the spot. This may be easier since they can tell you how close you are to the other cars and the curb. 

Turn on your signal once you have decided you are parallel parking. 

Similar to the above tip, putting on your signal allows others to know you are getting ready to park and allows them to maneuver around you if necessary. 

If you mess up, try again. 

If you overshoot the space or are about to hit the curb, do not be afraid to try again. Parallel parking is not the easiest, so give yourself some leeway to start over and try again when you can.

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