Parallel Parking Tips From An Auto Geek

Parallel parking is a type of parking that involves backing up to park between two cars, to form a line. Many driving tests include parallel parking because it’s a basic parking maneuver. At some point in a person's lifetime parallel parking will be necessary. Parallel parking is used on streets with no other parking but street parking.

Before one can understand the basics of parallel parking, there are rules and regulations one must know. First, spaces in front of fire hydrants are no parking zones. The fire hydrant parking zone is considered 15 feet, which means no parking 15 feet before or after the fire hydrant.   There is no parking in front of driveways, on railroad tracks, or within 20 feet of an intersection or crosswalk.

When it’s time to parallel park, put on your blinker and pull up next to the parking spot so the spot is on your right. Make sure there is enough room for your vehicle to fit. Look at the surroundings to be sure there are no fire hydrants, and all regulations will be met. Check for traffic coming up behind the vehicle, if no cars are coming then proceed on. Pull up next to the car in front of the parking space. Align your vehicle’s rear tires with the rear tires of the vehicle in front of the parking space. Turn the wheel all the way to the right and slowly back up.  Once your vehicle's passenger side door is aligned with the bumper of the other car turn the wheel to the left and slowly finish backing up. Watch the car behind the parking space, so your vehicle won’t bump it. If your vehicle is crooked, back up and move forward while adjusting your steering wheel to get the perfect fit. Be sure to leave enough space behind and it front of the vehicles. If parking on a hill be sure put the parking brake on and turn the steering wheel towards the curb, or away from traffic. 

When leaving the parking space, make sure that the vehicle’s wheels are straight. Slowly back up as far as the vehicle behind will allow, without hitting the other vehicle. Turn the steering wheel towards traffic, and turn on the blinker. Check in your mirrors and behind you for traffic coming. When the road is clear start easing forward. Watch the vehicle in front of the parking space, and be sure there is enough room to exit the parking space. Once the front bumper has cleared the other vehicle’s rear bumper, adjust the steering wheel to ease into the right lane of the road. 

Parallel parking takes practice, and a little bit of patience. The more that a person parallel parks, the better, and more comfortable the person will be at it. For people that are uncomfortable with parallel parking, there is technology for automated parking where vehicles parallel park themselves. 

Additional Resources on Parallel Parking:

How To Parallel Park: DMV website that gives step by step instruction for parallel parking.

Steps To Parallel Park: Provides instructions for parallel parking.

Tips For Parallel Parking: How-to article on parallel parking a vehicle.

Parallel Parking for the Novice Driver: Tips and information on how to parallel park.

Find Good Places to Practice Driving: Includes places to practice driving and parallel parking.

Motor Vehicle Parking Regulations: Regulations on parking.

Parking Rules and Regulations: Information on crosswalks, white zones, time limits and more.

Parking for the Disabled and Handicapped: Requirements and regulations on disabled or handicapped parking.

Parallel Parking: Rules and regulations, tips, and how to parallel park information.

Traffic Safety Tips: Tips on traffic safety including parallel parking tips.

Geometry for Perfect Parallel Parking: How to use geometry to calculate perfect parallel parking.

Formula for Perfect Parallel Parking: Using math to calculate perfect parallel parking.

Princeton’s Driving Course: An adult driving course.

Automatic Parallel Parking: MIT researchers test driver's stress rate as it is affected by parallel parking.

Parking Systems: Basic discription of parking assist in a vehicle.

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