If you own a pricey, newer model car, it probably has a parking feature where it will parallel park the car for you. What a dream that would have been when I, and generations of other drivers agonized over having to parallel park. That was likely one of the most flunked portions of the driving test. So, today we are going to teach you how to parallel park a car.


My childhood friend showed me how her mom taught her to parallel park a giant Buick. Back the car into the space until you hit the car behind you. Then pull forward until you hit the car in front of you. Then back up enough to leave space between cars so you don’t get blocked in by either car when the owner comes out and tries to pin you there while they call the cops. And this girl was NICE! This is how our parents taught us. My parents just gave up and dropped me off when I needed to go downtown.


First, make sure the space you are going to squeeze into is at least 6’ longer than your car. Make sure you signal before stopping so cars behind you will know to stay back. Maybe even tap your brake to signal your plan to park. Keep 3’ distance between you and the car you want to park behind. Be aware of moving cars around you. Pull your car forward where your steering wheel lines up with steering wheel of the parked car. Or, your back tires line up with that car’s back bumper. Put your car in reverse and turn your wheels all the way to the right. Ease in slowly until you are at a 45 degree angle, then stop. Turn your wheel all the way to the left and back up until parallel with the curb. Try to leave no more than 12 inches between your car and the curb.

If you hit the curb, pull out and try again. Turn your wheel enough this time where your car will hug the curb and ease back as far as you can. Turn your wheel and pull forward. Pull forward and back while turning the wheel until you are close to the curb. Be sure to leave ample space between cars as not to block anyone in, or to get yourself blocked in. Oh, and don’t forget to feed the parking meter. Or, just go home, park the car and call and Uber. That’s what I do.

Remember, practice makes perfect! And now that you’ve mastered that, you could learn next how to park on a steep hill in San Francisco. Yet another intimidating and humiliating experience!

Until next week,

Daun Thompson
Writer / Comedienne / Artist