Learning how to parallel park can be a daunting task for new drivers, as even veteran drivers struggle with parallel parking occasionally! However, learning how to parallel park doesn’t have to be a nerve-wracking experience. With this handy guide from The General, you’ll be parallel parking like a professional the next time you find the perfect spot.

What Is Parallel Parking?

Parallel parking involves parking adjacent to the road in line with other vehicles while facing the same direction as traffic. To parallel park, drive to the front of the parking space you want and slowly reverse into the parking space. If necessary, don’t forget to pay the meter!

Parallel Parking Steps

Follow these tips to master the art of parallel parking in just seven steps:

  1. When you find a parking spot that’s large enough to accommodate your car, pull up to the vehicle in front of your spot while keeping around 2-3 feet between you and the car.
  2. Check your mirrors to make sure there are no drivers or bikers in your blind spot. Slow down and turn on your right signal to indicate to other drivers that you’re preparing to park.
  3. Put your car in reverse and start backing up while checking your rearview mirror. When the back of your seat aligns with the front car’s taillights, start turning your steering wheel towards the curb. This should position your car at a 45o angle from the curb.
  4. Slowly straighten your steering wheel as you’re backing up. Stop once your vehicle is 1-2 feet away from the curb. If you hit the curb, simply pull forward a little until you’re in the right position.
  5. Once your vehicle has passed the back bumper of the front car, turn your steering wheel sharply towards the street to move the front of your vehicle into the parking spot.
  6. Continue to move backward while straightening your steering wheel. Check your rear-view mirror to make sure you’re not too close to the car behind you.
  7. Move your car forward until you’re in the middle of the parking space and the drivers on either side of your car have enough room.

how to parallel park - street lined with cars parallel parked

If You Make a Mistake

Parallel parking can be challenging when you don’t have a lot of space to work with. It’s totally fine if you make a mistake, just start over from the beginning of the list. Don’t worry about the drivers behind you; they’ve probably had their fair share of parallel parking mishaps too!

How to Exit a Parallel Park

How you exit your parallel park is just as important as how you enter it. Follow these steps to smoothly reverse out of a parallel parking spot:

  1. Put your vehicle in reverse and back up towards the car behind you. Get as close as you can to the other vehicle while still maintaining a safe distance.
  2. Turn your steering wheel to the left while shifting your car forward. Check for oncoming traffic in your lane. Slowly drive out of the parking space while being conscious of the car in front of you.

Make sure you’re covered before you practice your parallel parking skills. If you’re looking for a policy, look no further than The General’s affordable auto insurance policies. We’ve been providing five-star coverage to Americans for over 60 years, and we have standard and non-standard rates to match every driving record and budget. Get a free quote in under two minutes or check out more of our blog posts for additional advice on parking, driving, and insurance.