It is usually best to teach a new driver how to parallel park using 2 orange caution cones that represent the ends of 2 separate parked cars. You then park in between the cones. For visual learning via video, two ACTUAL parked cars are used to show how to perform the action in a real situation.
- Put key in ignition.
- Start your car.
- Put your foot on the brake pedal and shift car into drive - D.
· Drive your car until the car is positioned a few feet from the first marker.
o The markers should be seen through the front windshield of the car.
· Drive the car as to close to the markers as possible.
o The marker in front of the car is Marker 1.
o The marker in back of the car is Marker 2.
· Turn on your right turn signal to show where you’re going to park.
o On the road, using your turn signal indicates you are going to park when there is traffic around you.
o The turn signal should be used during practice to train the driver to make using your turn signal a habit when parallel parking.
o During the driving test, if turn signals are not used, you can fail.
· Drive your car up past Marker 1 until the passenger’s backseat window (the end of the window, closest to the rear of the car) aligns with the tip of Marker 1.
· Once the passenger’s backseat window is aligned with the tip of Marker 1, stop the car.
· Shift your car into reverse.
*This is the tricky part!*
To parallel park your car, imagine moving your car in the shape of an S.
· - While your foot is still on the brake pedal, turn your wheel clockwise (towards the right) as far as the wheel will turn.
· - Let your foot off of the brake pedal completely and allow the car to drift backward. *Keep your foot close enough to the brake in case you need to stop to avoiding hitting the cones or curb*
· - When the front of your car is sticking out into the street away from the curb, place your foot back on the brake pedal.
o To illustrate how your car should look when sticking into the street, imagine the image below:
o the / symbolizes your car, not quite perpendicular to the curb
· With your foot still on the brake pedal, turn your wheel counter-clockwise (towards the left).
o Turn the wheel only halfway this time.
· Once the wheel is in a position you feel comfortable with, let your foot off of the brake pedal and slowly let the car drift backwards.
o At this point, you may have to “play” with the wheel – turning it left or right, adjusting the position of your car as needed.
o While you are planning to adjust the position of your car, remember to keep your foot on the brake pedal whenever you are turning the wheel. This ensures the car won't move unexpectedly until you are ready for it to do so.
· Drive forward or back-up to straighten up the position of your car.
· Avoid “jumping” the curb by using your mirrors and adjusting the position of your car when appropriate.
o If your tires drive over the curb during your driving test, you will fail.
· Check the following:
o Make sure your car is parked in between the markers.
o Make sure the markers are still intact.
o Make sure your car is no more than a foot away from the curb.
o Make sure you have given yourself enough space to be able to drive out of the space without hitting the markers.Make sure your front tires are straight and not turned to the left or right.
· Put your left turn signal on to indicate you are leaving the spot.
· Drive out of the spot.
o With your wheel street, place the car into Reverse - R and back the car up.
o Avoid hitting the cone behind you by using your mirrors and occasionally braking to double check distance.
o You have to make sure to give yourself enough space to move the car out of the spot without hitting the cone in front of the car as well.
o Place the car in drive - D with your foot still on the brake.
· Check to see if roadway next to the car is clear by looking out of your driver's side mirror AND moving your head to look outside the driver's side window.
o When the roadway is clear, turn the wheel all the way to the left until you can't turn it anymore.
o Slowly, inch your way around the front cone.
o When you are certain you are clear of hitting the front cone, place your foot on the pedal and drive carefully onto the roadway.
o Once you are on the roadway, depending on which way you are headed, turn the wheel appropriately.
· Find a place to park the car out of traffics way (into a parking spot if in a parking lot).
o Drive into the spot head on.
· Place your foot on the brake pedal and shift your car into Park –P.
· Take the key out of the ignition.
· You’re not completely finished learning how to parallel park yet!
o Practice makes perfect!
o Continue to practice parallel parking until you feel comfortable in your abilities.
A few pointers:
· · Do not get frustrated if you cannot master parallel parking right away.
· · If you start to get frustrated:
· o Take a break until you are ready to try again.
· o If you’re planning to take the test, practice another part of the test and come back to parallel parking later.
· · If you are taking the driving test, taking a deep breath before-hand may help.
How to Parallel Park. (1999-2013). DMV.org: The DMV Made Simple. Retrieved November 17, 2013, from
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