Master Parallel Parking with In-Car Driving Lessons

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Does this situation seem familiar to you? Have you ever been subjected to the mockery, pity and/or warmhearted support of total strangers watching you utterly fail at parallel parking?


If you’re thinking, “The Onion needs to stop writing about my life and get back to writing satire!”, you’re certainly not alone. Parallel parking is one of the hardest driving skills to master. Many new drivers are intimidated at just the thought of it. Even some experienced and otherwise competent drivers struggle when it comes to parallel parking.

Why Everyone Should Learn to Parallel Park 

If you live in the suburbs, where parking lots are plentiful and parking spaces are wide, you might be convinced that you’ll never need to parallel park. But what about when you’re visiting the city, going to an appointment downtown or looking for a spot on a crowded street? Sometimes, parallel parking is simply the best or only available option.

Faced with the prospect of having to make a 50-point turn and a million micro-adjustments to fit into that tight parallel parking space, you might decide instead to circle the block and wait for a spot to open up that you can easily pull into. But that’s a waste of time, gas and money – not to mention, your limited patience.

Why suffer when it’s possible to parallel park in that space in one fluid motion? It’s time to learn how to parallel park correctly, once and for all. DriversEd.com’s friendly, patient instructors can teach you how!

The Parallel Parking Benefits of Behind-the-Wheel Driving Lessons

We offer in-car driving lessons behind the wheel of a BMW MINI Cooper or Countryman in California, Georgia and Texas. (If you’re in Philadelphia, where The Onion story is set, you can take lessons from our partner in Pennsylvania, Henry and Joe’s Driving School.)

Driving lessons with a professional instructor will turn you into a parallel parking expert. Once you learn the proper techniques you’ll no longer have to hear your passengers’ shrieks of “curb check” or bear the embarrassment of having someone get out of the car to direct you into a parking spot.

If you haven’t started driving yet, our professional, licensed instructors can also teach you everything from the basics to complex technical maneuvers. Driving lessons with DriversEd.com cover all the skills you need for the driving test and then some. Learn to drive like a professional so you can impress your friends when they see your smooth parallel parking skills!

Step-by-Step Guide to Parallel Parking

Ready to slide into that space next to the curb? Our simple step-by-step guide will help you nail this advanced driving skill. 

Step 1. Position your car so that it is side-by-side with the car in front of the empty parking space and the bumpers line up. There should be about two feet between your vehicle and the parked car.

Step 2. Put on your turn signal to let other drivers and cyclists know you intend to parallel park.

Step 3. Check your mirrors to make sure no one is coming up behind you. You may also need to adjust your passenger side mirror downward to see the curb.

Step 4. Starting backing into the spot by turning the wheel to the right so that the vehicle goes into the spot at a 45 degree angle. Look over your right shoulder to see what’s behind you. Keep going until the back driver’s side corner is lined up with the driver’s side front bumper of the vehicle behind the parking spot. If your back wheels hit the curb you’ve gone too far.

Step 5. Straighten the wheels by turning the steering wheel to the left. 

Step 6. Slowly back up as you straighten the wheels and pivot the vehicle into the space.

Step 7. If needed, pull forward to straighten the vehicle in the parking spot. You may need to back up a little again if you’re too far forward in the spot.

Step 8. Engage the parking brake whenever you’ve got the vehicle centered in the spot.

That’s it! Parallel parking is all about getting into position and turning your wheels at the right time so that you can pull into a space from the side. With a little bit of practice you’ll be parallel parking like a pro in no time!

parallel parking diagram

*This article was updated on 10/20/2020

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