How to Park Cars
Learning how to park cars of any kind requires practice. It’s best to start in a large, empty parking lot or on an empty back street. You need to have a valid driver’s license or learner’s permit in order to operate a motor vehicle in the United States. Check with the Department of Motor Vehicles for your state if you don’t already have a valid driver’s license or learner's permit.
- Pull up next to the vehicle in front of the desired parking space in order to parallel park a car. Pull up so your car is two feet from the other car with your bumper even with its bumper. Check your mirrors for other cars, bicyclists and pedestrians. Signal, so other drivers see that you are parking, and put the car in reverse.
- Turn the steering wheel strongly to the left as your reverse, aiming the rear of your car toward the curb. When the front door comes even with the other car’s bumper, straighten the wheel and continue to back in. As you pass the vehicle in front, turn the wheel to the left and slowly reverse toward the vehicle behind you.
- Shift the car into “Drive.” Turn the steering wheel hard to the right and move forward to the middle of the parking spot. Aim to get the tires within one-and-a-half feet of the curb.
- To park a car on a hill, you must curb the wheels. This means turning the wheels toward the curb and moving forward so that the front tire touches the curb at a sharp angle to prevent the car from rolling away if the brakes fail. Shift into “Park” to park the car. Turn off the ignition and set the parking brake.
- If there’s a paved road on a hill anywhere within driving distance, use it to master parking on a hill. Parking a car on a hill is a valuable skill in case you ever need to drive in a city like San Francisco, where not curbing the tires to prevent a roll-away car can end in disaster.
For anyone who has difficulty with car parking, driving schools offer a helpful way to master all necessary driving skills, including parallel parking.