LESSON 1: PARALLEL PARKING
- Pull your car alongside the car in front of your space so you’re two feet away from it, your front bumpers aligned. Put your foot on the brake and the car in reverse.
- Lift your foot off the brake — even goose the gas if you want — while palming the wheel hard toward the curb. You want the angle to be sharp but not ridiculously sharp.
- Once the back of your seat is aligned with the rear bumper of the other car, begin swinging the steering wheel away from the curb.
- Straighten out. Your car should now, as though by magic, be about six inches from the curb, and parallel to it. You might have to creep forward, but if you’ve followed the steps one through three, all you’ll have to do is exit your car, face nearby pedestrian — they’ve probably stopped to applaud — and take a bow gracefully. You’ll deserve it!.
LESSON 2: PERPENDICULAR PARKING[checklist]
- Locate a large parking lot that isn’t too full so that you can practice with empty areas and areas that have cars already parked. You want to practice parking in the empty area first, until you get comfortable before attempting to park next to someone else’s car.
- Pull up to an empty parking stall slowly, until your front left tire is even with the painted stall line nearest to you. Signal your intent to turn left. Slow down until you’re almost stopped, and begin to turn your steering wheel to the left. As you’re pulling your car in, keep track of your distance from the painted stall line to your left. With your car in Park, check your distance from both painted lines.
- Straighten your steering wheel out and continue to pull into the parking stall slowly. If there is a concrete curb ahead of you, pull your car up until your front tires bump this curb. If your car is a low-clearance car, however, stop before you reach the curb so that you don’t damage the underside of your car. Continue practicing in parking spots with no adjacent cars until you feel comfortable parking.
- Move to an area of the parking lot which has some cars already parked. Look for an empty stall that has two sedans or smaller cars parked on either side; it will be harder to pull in and reverse out if you are between two large SUVs. Ask your instructor to demonstrate parking between two vehicles as you watch.
- Practice parking between two vehicles or next to one vehicle, pulling your left tire even with the painted parking line. (You have been practicing pulling into a stall nearest to you.)
- Begin practicing parking in a stall on your right side in order to learn how to gauge the distance between the right side of your car and the painted stall line. Pull up to an empty spot slowly until your right tire is even with the painted line, signal your intent to turn right and turn into the stall and straighten your steering wheel out. Pull up to the curb, stop and put your car into Park. Check your car’s distance from both painted stall lines.
LESSON 3: ONE SIMPLE RULE
If your vehicle is larger than a compact, do not attempt to park in a parking spot marked…. COMPACT. If your car was not SOLD to you as a compact car, it is NOT a COMPACT car. If you have ever had a hard time squeezing out of the driver’s side door in a parking lot, you do not have a COMPACT car. If you cannot reach the passenger side door without leaning from the driver’s seat, you do not have a COMPACT car.
LESSON 4: YES THEY DO
If you have been parking on purpose in such a way as to take up more than one space at a time thinking that no one cares, you are incorrect. People DO care. And we respectfully ask that you please take just a quick moment to line your vehicle up BETWEEN the two lines. OR, if you need more space, perhaps that spot in the far corner of the lot will work for you. 20 seconds extra exercise never hurt anyone.