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How to Parallel Park

In busy cities, finding an open parking space is a golden opportunity. Here’s how not to blow it.


  • Step 1: Pull alongside the spot Pull alongside the spot. Make sure it’s longer than your car.
  • Step 2: Pull up next to car in front of space Pull up next to the car in front of the space until your side mirrors align. Put on your signal in the direction of the space to let other cars know you are going to park.
  • TIP: Pull close to the car, but not too close: The DMV recommends two to three feet.
  • Step 3: Turn wheel toward curb & reverse Turn your wheel all the way toward the curb, then put your car into reverse.
  • TIP: Look in your mirrors and over your shoulder to make sure there are no obstructions like oncoming cars. Be especially careful to watch for pedestrians. Even a space in downtown Manhattan isn’t worth a vehicular homicide charge.
  • Step 4: Slowly back in While continuing to watch for obstructions, slowly back in. Stop when your side mirror is aligned with the back bumper of the car in front of the space.
  • Step 5: Turn wheel away from curb & reverse Turn your steering wheel all the way in the opposite direction of the curb, then continue to reverse slowly.
  • TIP: Get passenger to guide you If you have a passenger and would like some help, ask them to get out and guide you into the spot with hand signals--or open the window so you can actually hear them.
  • Step 6: Continue reversing Continue in reverse until you are close to the car behind you or until your back tire bumps the curb. Be careful not to back into the car behind you.
  • Step 7: Straighten wheel & pull forward Put the car into drive, straighten the steering wheel and pull forward slowly until you occupy the center of the space.
  • Step 8: Straighten out Once in the space, you may need to maneuver the car forward and backward a few times in order to straighten out.
  • Step 9: Put car in park When you are satisfied, put your car in park. If you’re on a hill, adjust your steering wheel before putting the car in park -- turn away from the curb if facing uphill, and toward the curb if facing downhill.
  • Step 10: Turn off car & put on parking break Turn off the car and put on the parking brake -- you’ve done it! Prepare to be showered with praise. Accept it graciously and go about your day.
  • FACT: In some cities, you may get a ticket if your vehicle is parked more than 12 inches from the curb.

You Will Need

  • A car
  • And space to park in

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