July 31, 2015

How to Parallel Park Like a Pro: An Illustrated Guide

For many, parallel parking is a guaranteed opportunity for public humiliation. You get anxiety dreams about scratched bumpers and ending up on YouTube as the star of “ULTIMATE FAIL! Watch This Epic Parallel Parking Meltdown.”

What should be a simple way to leave your car behind while you run free ends up leaving you frazzled when you finally show up to wherever you’re going. It doesn’t help that you first learned by driving in an empty parking lot and aiming for two orange cones with enough space for a stretch limo between them.

Or maybe you never learned how to parallel park. When it comes down to it, it’s actually pretty straightforward. I know, we sound like the kid that brags about acing the test without studying while you’re sweating a B-minus after pulling an all-nighter. But trust us, parallel parking is all about learning the steps and ignoring the fear. The slippery slope begins when you suddenly doubt yourself and start turning the steering wheel in all sorts of directions. Or your oh-so-helpful backseat driver chips in some stellar advice and you end up perpendicular to the curb. 

We’re here on a simple mission: Follow these steps. Become a parallel parking pro.

After this, you’ll be so good, you won’t have to send your copilot outside to stand by the car and make up faux air traffic controller signals. But you know what? We won’t tell if you make ’em do it anyway, just for fun. 

Note: These directions apply to a car parking on the right side of the road.

Parallel Parking Like a Pro

1. Size up your target. (Kinda like a python and this baby hamster.)

2. Pull up next to the car in front of you.  

3. Crank the wheel all the way to the right. (That's right, that's right, that's riiight.)

4. Throw that car in reverse, look over your right shoulder...and back. it. up.

5. Stop when the middle of your back winshield lines up with the right corner of the car behind you. (Or an errant millennial on a smartphone—distraction by Instagram is real.)

6. Steer the wheel to the middle. Back up until your corner clears the car in front of you. (Despite the name, bumpers don't like to bump.)

7. Now crank the wheel like '06 Beyonce. (To the left, to the left.)

8. Yay! You did it! Party! Don't forget to lock up.