facebookHow to Parallel Park for Beginners: Step-by-Step Guide
How to Parallel Park for Beginners: Step-by-Step Guide

How to Parallel Park for Beginners: Step-by-Step Guide

Zutobi

by Zutobi · Updated Nov 30, 2020

For beginner drivers, parallel parking is one of the most difficult things to do. What makes parallel parking difficult at first is that it requires the driver to follow a strict approach to get the angles into the parking spot right.

In this Ultimate Guide to Parallel Parking, we’ll go through:

  • Parallel Parking on the Driving Test
  • A great 6-step guide on how to reverse parallel park as taught by driving professionals
  • How to Parallel Park with Cones

Do You Have to Parallel Park on the Driving Test?

In most U.S. states, you will be tested on your parallel parking skills during your driver’s license test. Failure in the parallel parking part of the test is often equal to an instant fail on the driving test and it is considered to be one of the most difficult parts of the road test. You can read which states have decided to drop parallel parking from the driver’s exam here.

Considering the fact that most states still test parallel parking and how often you will parallel park once you have your driver’s license, it should be a no-brainer to learn the 6 easy steps outlined in this guide toward parallel parking perfectly.

cars parallel parked along a road

How to Reverse Parallel Park in 6 Easy Steps

We’ll now explain how parallel parking can be done in six easy steps.

  1. Find a large enough parking spot
  2. Place your car parallel to the car in front
  3. Turn the wheel fully to the right and begin to reverse
  4. Turn your wheels straight and reverse further
  5. Turn your wheels fully to the left and reverse into position
  6. Straighten your wheels and creep forward into position

Step #1 – Find a large enough parking spot

Parallel parking step 1: showing how big parking space you need

The first thing you need to do is find a large enough parking spot. The gap should be at least 1.5 times the length of your car for you to have enough room to safely perform the maneuver. More experienced drivers may parallel park with even less space, while less experienced drivers may need even more to use as a safety margin to get in and out. 

Step #2 – Place your car parallel to the car in front

Parallel parking step 2: showing how to align your car

Align your right passenger side mirror with the driver’s side mirror of the car that you intend to park behind. You should be about 2-3 feet from the side of the parked car. 

Step #3 – Turn the wheel fully to the right and begin to reverse

Parallel parking step 3: showing how to reverse into parking spot

The next step is to turn the steering wheel fully to the right and slowly begin backing up. Stop once you can see the car behind you in your left side mirror. You should see the full front of the car (see illustration 3).

Step #4 – Turn your wheels straight and reverse further

1024

Once you can see the full front of the car in your left side mirror, you need to reverse straight to move closer to the curb. Turn the wheels straight and reverse until your right side mirror covers the taillight of the vehicle in front (see illustration 4). 

Step #5 – Turn your wheels fully to the left and reverse into position

Parallel parking step 5: showing how to reverse into position

When your right side mirror covers the taillight of the vehicle in front, you should turn your wheels fully to the left and reverse carefully until you’re in position. You may need to adjust your position and drive forward or reverse until you are in a good spot between the two cars.

Step #6 – Straighten your wheels and creep forward into position

Parallel parking step 6 showing how to make final adjustments so your car is in correct position

The last step is about straightening up into position. Straighten your wheels and if necessary creep forward to the correct position. If you are parked on a hill or sloping driveway, you want to turn your wheels in a direction that prevents your vehicle from moving into the path of traffic if the brakes fail.

How to Parallel Park with Cones

It’s a good idea to start practicing parallel parking using two cones so you don’t damage other cars. Here’s how you do it:

  • Find a street with little-to-no traffic 
  • Get two cones and place them about fifteen feet apart to create an area the size of a real parking spot
  • Practice until you get the gist of the maneuver and feel confident in your ability to parallel park. You can then move on to real-life situations with real parking spots. 

If you need to learn additional driving tips, go into the Zutobi Drivers Ed course for your state to learn more. We’ll cover everything you need to get your driver’s license.

Take our full course with tests and theory

  • 450+ exam-like questions
  • All you need to ace your test
  • Perfect for first-timers, renewals and senior citizens
cloud
town
Cruise Control Explained – All You Need to Know
Car

Cruise Control Explained – All You Need to Know

Cruise control has come a long way since first invented and patented by Ralph Teetor in 1950, who originally named it the “Speedostat”.  Chrysler Corporation was the first manufacturer to offer the groundbreaking mechanism as an option on several of its luxury vehicle models nine years later. Today, cruise control is rapidly becoming the standard […]

Zutobi

by Zutobi · Updated Dec 04, 2020

Driving in the Rain – Our Best Safety Tips
Car

Driving in the Rain – Our Best Safety Tips

There were over 445,000 injuries and 6,000 deaths due to weather-related driving accidents in 2019. Ouch! The good news is you do not need to be one of them. Be the safest driver in town with our handy guide. How Does Rain Affect Driving Conditions? Rain is a fairly common weather condition for most drivers, […]

Zutobi

by Zutobi · Updated Dec 04, 2020

Senior Driver’s License & Renewal Requirements: A Complete Guide
Car

Senior Driver’s License & Renewal Requirements: A Complete Guide

The majority of driver’s licenses in the United States are issued to teens and young adults under the age of 25. However, senior citizens who have taken hiatuses from driving may find themselves needing to get back on the road. Driving can provide a lot of independence to these individuals who may not be able […]

Zutobi

by Zutobi · Updated Dec 03, 2020