Top Parallel Parking Tips | Defensive Driving School

Top Parallel Parking Tips

Top Parallel Parking Tips

Every motorist needs to be proficient at parallel parking. Learning to parallel park is invaluable, whether you’re a city dweller or just trying to find a spot in a congested parking lot.

Parallel parking involves maneuvering your vehicle into a tight parking space between two cars and aligning your vehicle parallel to the curb. It requires precision, spatial awareness, and careful execution.

This article about parallel parking tips from Driving School will explore the steps, tips, and tricks to help you become a parallel parking pro.

Things You Should Know

To parallel park, position your vehicle so its wheels parallel the curb between two already-parked cars. This feature allows you to maximize efficiency in dense urban locations where parking spots are at a premium.

Benefits of Mastering Parallel Parking

Mastering parallel parking offers several benefits. Firstly, it expands your parking opportunities, enabling you to park in tight spots others might avoid. It also improves your overall driving skills, enhancing your ability to navigate challenging situations on the road. Additionally, parallel parking proficiency can boost your confidence as a driver, giving you a sense of accomplishment and independence.

Steps to Parallel Parking

  1. Find a parking space a little bit longer than your car

When searching for a parallel parking spot, look for a distance slightly longer than your vehicle’s length. This extra room will provide more maneuvering space, making the similar parking process easier.

  1. Pull up next to the car in front

Pull up alongside the car parked in front of the vacant parking space. Ensure your vehicle is approximately parallel to the parked car, with a reasonable gap between them.

  1.  Back up while turning your steering wheel to the right

Slowly reverse while turning right. It turns your car toward the curb. Look around and adjust your speed.

  1.  Straighten the wheel once you’re most of the way in

Once your vehicle is nearly parallel to the curb, straighten your steering wheel to align the wheels straight. This adjustment will ensure your vehicle is correctly positioned within the parking space.

  1.  Pull forward if you need to adjust

Pull forward slightly and repeat the steps to line your vehicle closer to the curb or leave extra room in front or behind. Adjust your parking location slowly until you’re pleased.

  1. Start over if anything goes wrong

If, at any point during the parallel parking process, you feel that you are not positioned correctly, or something goes wrong, don’t hesitate to start over. It’s better to make a fresh attempt than force your way into a less-than-ideal parking position.

Tips and Tricks for Successful Parallel Parking

  1. Adjusting mirrors for better visibility

Before attempting parallel parking, ensure your side mirrors and rearview mirror are adequately adjusted to provide the best possible visibility. Clear visibility of the parked cars around you will help you gauge the available space and make accurate judgments while maneuvering.

  1. Using reference points for positioning

To enhance your parking accuracy, use reference points on your vehicle. For example, align the passenger side mirror with the car’s rear bumper parked in front. This reference point can be a visual guide to help you position your vehicle correctly during the parallel parking process.

  1. Practicing depth perception

Parallel parking requires a good understanding of depth perception. To improve your depth perception skills, practice judging distances by parking between two objects, such as cones or trash cans, in an open area. Regular practice will train your eyes to estimate distances accurately, making parallel parking easier.

  1. Utilizing rearview camera and parking assist technology

Many modern vehicles come equipped with rearview cameras and parking assist technologies. These features can provide valuable assistance while parallel parking. Utilize them to their full advantage, but remember to always rely on your judgment and not solely on technology.

Practice Makes Perfect

Parallel parking requires practice, like any ability. Practice makes perfect. Parallel parking improves with practice.

  1. Setting up cones or markers for simulation: Create a simulated parking space by setting up cones or markers in an open area. Use these markers as guides and practice parking between them, replicating real-life scenarios.
  1. Seeking guidance from experienced drivers: If possible, seek advice from professional drivers skilled at parallel parking. They can provide valuable tips and insights based on their own experiences.
  1. Utilizing driving schools or courses: Consider enrolling in a driving school or taking a specialized parallel parking course. These programs offer professional instruction and structured practice sessions that can accelerate your learning process.

Passing Your Driving Test

Many driving tests feature parallel parking. It assesses your maneuvering skills. To prepare for this section, learn about your local driving test requirements.

Tips for succeeding in the driving test

  1. Reviewing local traffic regulations and requirements: Study the local traffic regulations and requirements related to parallel parking. Understanding the rules will help you confidently navigate the test and avoid penalties.
  1. Familiarize yourself with the testing area: Practice parallel parking near your driving test. Familiarity with the place reduces anxiety and helps you focus.
  1. Staying calm and focused during the test: On the day of the driving test, remain calm and focused. Take your time, follow your learned steps, and trust your abilities. Keeping a clear mind will enable you to perform parallel parking accurately.


Everyone on the road would benefit from learning how to parallel park successfully. Develop self-assurance in parallel parking by following the methods given in this article, using the tips and tricks provided, and devoting time to frequent practice. Parking in practice and real-life should always be approached with a focus on safety and responsibility.


How do I find the right size parking space for parallel parking?

To properly parallel park, look for a space that’s at least one and a half times the length of your vehicle. This gives you enough room to maneuver into the spot without risking damage to your vehicle or the ones parked nearby. If you’re new to parallel parking, opting for larger spaces can make the process easier.

What is the first step in parallel parking?

The first step in parallel parking is to align your vehicle’s rear bumper with the rear bumper of the car in front of the parking space. Make sure to signal your intention to park and check your mirrors and blind spots for traffic. This positioning sets you up for a smooth entry into the parking space.

How do I correctly angle my car into the parking spot?

After aligning with the car in front, slowly reverse until your vehicle is at a 45-degree angle to the curb, then turn the steering wheel towards the curb as you continue to back up. This angle helps in guiding your vehicle into the parking space. The exact moment to turn varies based on your vehicle’s size and the space available.

When should I straighten the steering wheel while parallel parking?

Begin to straighten the steering wheel once the front of your car clears the rear bumper of the car in front of the parking space, continuing to reverse into the space. Adjust the steering as needed to align your vehicle parallel to the curb. It’s important to make these adjustments while moving slowly to maintain control.

How close should I be to the curb when parallel parked?

Aim to have your vehicle within 12 to 18 inches from the curb. Being too far can disrupt traffic flow, and being too close could result in tire or wheel damage from the curb. After parking, if necessary, you can adjust your position by moving forward or backward to ensure your vehicle is correctly aligned and at an optimal distance from the curb.