Whether you like to travel to big cities from time to time or you mostly stay in the suburbs, knowing how to parallel park is a valuable skill to master. Instead of driving around the block several times to find something, you can squeeze into spots that ordinarily would be just out of reach. Once you do it a few times, you will see how easy it is. When you just start out, follow these parallel parking steps.
Position Your Vehicle
Pull your car up so it is parallel to the vehicle parked directly in front of the open space. Make sure to keep your car about two to three feet from the parked vehicle.
Look at Your Mirrors
Before you begin to back up into the spot, you want to check your rearview and side-view mirrors. Make sure no one is in your blind spots. In the event there are other cars waiting, you can turn on your right-turn signal or hazards to let the drivers know you will be parallel parking. When you are learning how to practice parallel parking, you should do so in a relatively quiet suburb where you can practice, mess up, and not be disturbed.
Once you are in the clear, put your car in reverse. You need to rotate your steering wheel right. As your vehicle starts to move into the empty space, you can slowly begin to straighten out your steering wheel. As you do this, continue to look at your mirrors so that you know how close you are to the vehicles in front of and behind you.
Turn to the Left
You can begin to turn the steering wheel left once the front of your car is behind the back bumper of the vehicle in front of you. Once you start positioning your vehicle into the open spot, you want to slowly straighten the steering wheel like before. As you are straightening out, keep looking at the rearview mirror to see how close you are to the car behind you.
Adjust as Necessary
Once you are positioned in the spot, you want to check how close to the curb you are. You want to be as close as possible because you do not want to risk getting a ticket for being too far away. Additionally, you want to make sure there is relatively the same amount of space between you and the cars behind and in front of you.
Pay the Meter
Parallel parking most often comes in handy when you are in a big city, so you will most likely need to feed a meter or risk getting a ticket. Though most meters these days take credit cards, you may want to keep a roll of coins in your vehicle for these types of situations.
Know How To Exit
Once you are in the spot, you then have to get out. To leave, you need to put your vehicle into reverse first. Back as close as you can to the car behind you and then turn the steering wheel left. Shift forward and check your mirrors to make sure the lane to your side is clear. Slowly move out of the spot.
A great way to practice this skill is to learn how to parallel park with cones. Go to an empty parking lot and park your vehicle. Put two traffic cones three feet in front of your car and two cones three feet behind. Move your vehicle into the parallel position and follow the steps mentioned above. If you hit a cone, then you would have hit a vehicle, but it is all right because you are just practicing at the moment.
As you go out to try to parallel park, make sure you find a space that is large enough. If you do not feel comfortable attempting this feat, then move on. The important thing when you try to do this is to not panic. Panicking is often the main cause of accidents, so keep a level head and practice until you feel comfortable enough to actually attempt this on city streets.
Visit a Service Center
Make sure your car is in good shape before practicing how to parallel park by visiting a Sun Auto Service location near you. Schedule an appointment today to visit one of our 7 locations in Las Vegas, Nevada or 4 locations in Austin, Texas.