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How to Parallel Park

The Easy Way to Parallel Park

On many state driver's exams, you must show that you can parallel park your car. This is designed to test how well you can squeeze your car in between two vehicles in a street parking space.

If you don't live in a city, you'll rarely need to parallel park your car. But depending on what state you're in, you'll still have to prove you can do it during your exam.

Generally, during this part of the exam, you'll need to park your car between sets of orange parking cones, next to a curb. If you hit any of the cones, or the curb, you automatically fail the entire driver's exam.

Here is the right way to do it:

1) Drive past the space you want to park in.

In a real-world scenario, you would line up your vehicle next to the car parked in front of the space where you will park. Only about 2-3 feet should separate your car and the one you're stopped next to.

2) Turn the steering wheel to the right and reverse.

Look over your shoulder and check mirrors to make sure everything is clear behind you. Then, put your car in reverse while turning the steering wheel hard-right. Your goal is to angle the back of the car so it begins entering the open parking space behind you on the right.

3) Straighten your steering wheel.

Once your vehicle is angled toward the space in reverse, you will need to straighten the steering wheel. Your car should still be at an angle entering the space. However, the steering wheel is now straight.

4) Turn steering wheel to the left.

As your front bumper passes the car (or cone) in front of you, it's time to turn your steering wheel hard-left. This will snake the front of your vehicle into the spot.

5) Straighten your vehicle as needed.

After your vehicle has entered the spot entirely, you'll want to straighten the wheels again by steering back to the right. You may need to drive forward and reverse a few more times to straighten your vehicle in the spot, which is fine.

That's it! See, that wasn't so bad, was it?

The best thing to do before your exam is to practice parallel parking as much as possible. Use a large empty parking lot to do this. Set up small cones or other objects to simulate a parking space, and give it a try!

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