Parallel parking is probably the toughest way to park a car. You’d have to skillfully and accurately guide your car into that parallel space between 2 other cars. In my experience, if you ask drivers what type of parking they are having the most difficulty with, most would probably say parallel parking. I agree that it isn’t easy compared to parking forward or backwards. Here are the things that I usually do to accurately park my car into a parallel parking space.
You should estimate the actual parking space first. If it’s just enough for the exact length of your vehicle, I suggest you do not take it and look for another parking space. Ideally, there should be at least a distance of 2 feet between you and the car in front and behind you (4 feet total) so that it would be easy to get in and out. That’s in my opinion and experience.
A good trick in parallel parking is to use the vehicle in front of the parking space as your starting point and guide. Stay beside the car in front of you and make sure your rear bumpers are parallel to each other. 1 ½ feet away from the car would be fine. The farther you are to the vehicle beside you, the harder it seems to get into the space unless the parking space is really wide and open. Now, straighten your wheels and reverse slowly.
Now, stop when your side mirror is beside the adjacent vehicle’s rear bumper. Turn the wheels into the parking space first then reverse. This is if your engine is in front of the car. Or better yet, if your car is already three-fourths behind, that’s when you turn your wheels in. Just make sure that you are at a full stop before turning the wheels.
Once fully turned, reverse again and when your car’s rear is around 6 inches away from the gutter or the wall, you may begin turning the wheels around to the other direction. Just be careful so that you don’t hit the rear bumper of the car in front of you while turning.
Once you’re clear of the rear bumper of the car in front of you, fully turn into the space making sure that you don’t hit the car behind you. Again, 2 feet in front and behind you is ideal and more than enough for you to get out afterwards. This will be beneficial to you and the other two cars.
Now what should you do if you’re still jutting out of the parking space? Don’t worry though since this scenario is really common and it happens. Just move forward a few inches near the car in front of you then turn the wheels into the space while your vehicle is at a complete stop. Reverse after turning the wheel.
Now, before turning the steering wheel the other way around, make sure you stay closer to the gutter or the wall. As soon as you’re not jutting out anymore, give enough distance in front and behind you. It’s perfectly fine if you jut out a little especially if you don’t have enough room to maneuver.
As you have seen, I always reiterate turning your wheels while at a complete stop. This will make sure that your vehicle is already in the right direction before you reverse. If you turn while reversing, you’ll probably run out of room and move forward and try again.
Most parallel parking spaces have enough room for vehicles and have guide lines to help you park properly. The problem is that sometimes, you may run into a space wherein the car in front of you or behind you is really big or did not park properly and went over the line or something similar. If you have doubts, don’t park at all. Don’t try to squeeze if it it’s really not possible.