In an empty parking lot, getting your car between the lines is an easily learned skill. But let’s say a beginner needs to park in an angled space, in a perpendicular spot, or has to do downtown parallel parking – these are tough situations for an inexperienced driver to handle. Here a basic rundown of how to park a car for beginners, no matter how small, crowded or difficult the spot is.
1. Finding a space without many cars nearby
If you want to learn how to park a car for beginners, the first step is finding a space not surrounded by many cars. Less obstacles means an easier, less stressed learning experience. Use a parking lot that isn’t crowded. Know that you will make mistakes so don’t be afraid to do so.
2. Position your car towards an angled space
The easiest parking space to learn by, to start, is with an angled space. Positioning the car is integral to being able to cut the wheel correctly to make it into the space. At least 5 or 6 feet should be between your vehicle and any other parked cars.
3. Signalling when you park
No matter what kind of parking space you’re about to cut the wheel to, signal to let any other drivers near you know what you’re doing. The vast majority of drivers don’t signal in a parking lot which is a big mistake. Always be honest with where you’re going, signal, and try not to take a space already claimed.
4. Turn the wheel sharply
Once you see the center of the parking space, turn the wheel sharply while your vehicle’s six feet away from other cars. Ensure there is nothing in the way. Come forward into the space and stop. Verify that you have safely stationed yourself in the parking space. You may have to adjust depending on how close you are to the lines or vehicles around you.
5. Turning into a perpendicular spot
Turning into a parking spot perpendicularly is done similarly to an angled spot. You will have to position your car at least 8 feet away and cut your wheel in very much the same way albeit sharper. Pull into the space, ensure you’re not sticking out, and that you’re aligned in the space. Lastly, straighten your wheels before you get out to ensure when you leave, you’re not caught unexpected by the angle the vehicle takes.
6. The secrets of parallel parking
So, you’ve found a parking space but it requires you to do some parallel parking? The first step in parallel parking is to ensure you have enough space to actually make the park. Squeezing into some space that barely has enough room is dangerous. As a beginner, you’ll want a parallel parking spot a few feet longer than your car.
7. Signal and check your mirrors
Know what cars are around you. If a car is riding on your tail, they may not allow you to parallel park. If this is the case, maintain your position and roll down your window to signal to the other driver to move around you.
8. Next, line up your car
Set up your car side by side with the car in front of your space, maintaining a distance of approximately two feet between your car and theirs. If you are too close, you could scrap this vehicle coming into the spot. If you are too far away, you’ll have to start again. Align your bumpers, and keep that 2 feet distance.
9. Put your car in reverse and go slow
Check your driver’s side mirror to ensure there isn’t any traffic blocking you. Check the space by looking over your shoulder. Start moving into the space. Back up until your bumper’s 3-4 feet behind the car that sits in front of the space. Brake here.
10. Cut your wheel all the way to the right
Cut your wheel all to the right and then, continue backing into the space slowly. Visually check around you to ensure no cars or pedestrians are crossing your path. Use your mirrors to judge distances between your back bumper and the car behind you. If you hit the curb, you’ve gone too far and will need to pull forward a few feet.
11. Turn the steering wheel to the left
After you are in your spot, turn the steering wheel to the left. You should still be in reverse and should continue reversing as far back as you can. Look forward to ensure you’re not hitting the bumper in front of you and verify you are properly positioned.
12. Shift into drive
Lastly, shift your car into drive in the parallel space, turn your steering wheel to the right, and straighten your car. You should be within 1 foot of the curb when you are done parking. Unfortunately, many city parking spots that are open to parallel parking will be too small to complete these maneuvers in for a beginner. That said, one can continue searching for paid parking or a parking space with more room to safely guide yourself into.