How to Parallel Park like A Pro in 3 Easy Ways

Fast heartbeat and sweaty hands—we’ve all been there. If you are not used to driving and parking in a busy area, the thought of parallel parking might give you a panic attack. You might even be pressured thinking that you have to do it as quickly as you can so as not to delay other drivers and not cause traffic jams. While you can rely on parking apps to assist you in finding spacious parking lots, it’s not the case most of the time, particularly if you live in places like New York where it’s practically impossible to find a decent spot to park. In most cases, you may find yourself having to do a parallel park, especially during peak seasons. In this article, we’ll be discussing the fundamentals of parallel parking so you can have an idea on how to do it on your own if the need arises.

busy road with white car, bus, and cars
Parallel parking is simply inevitable, especially in congested places like New York. Image by Free Photos from Pixabay

How to do a parallel parking:

Step 1: Find the right parking space

Say you have found a spot or your parking app suggested a vacant spot for you to park. Keep in mind that you have to consider the space of the parking spot. To be able to do parallel parking, the vacant space must be 1 ½ up to 2 times the size of your vehicle. The first step is to drive beside the parked vehicle that you want to parallel park and make sure to give your car and the car you’re next to enough clearance so you can better execute the next step. Otherwise, you may risk swiping the car beside you.

Step 2: Shift to reverse

Turn your wheel to the right and start reversing slowly, steering it as needed while you move. Focus on the rear view and side mirrors. Directly look behind you if it helps you gauge the situation better. Keep reversing until you can already see the headlight of the car behind you on your side. After that, turn your steering wheel on the opposite side and continue moving in reverse until your car’s tail light is aligned with the headlight of the parked car behind you. Keep stepping on the gas until your car is relatively aligned with the car behind you.

Step 3: Straighten and align your car

Now that your car is situated parallel to either car, it’s time to adjust your car’s alignment. This bit is easier than the previous one because you can better gauge the distance between you and the car in front. Make sure the wheels are centered forward, then shift the car into first gear or Drive. After that, you can slowly step on the gas to properly align your vehicle. If you’ve gone forward too much, simply go back to reverse and move back a bit. Do take note that when going for a parallel parking, it’s crucial to always park in the center of the car in front and behind you. This way, they will have enough space to maneuver when leaving the parking spot.

That’s it! You’ve just learned how to parallel park. Although cars nowadays come with automatic parking systems, it is always best to have experience in manually doing the park yourself. Be reminded that the topic discussed only covers the fundamental concepts of parallel parking. Other situations may require a more thorough or unorthodox approach to properly execute the park itself. But even if parallel parking is not the easiest type of menuevers, it is also not impossible to do. It does take a bit of time to master, but once you’ve gotten the steps, it’s pretty much like second nature. So it’s not really about whether or not parallel parking is possible to do. The real question there is, do you have what it takes to do it?


With Swytch-Swap’s mobile parking app, looking for parking spaces is now more convenient. You can take a look at the available parking spots through the app so there is no need for you to drive around the city hoping to find one vacant spot for your car. Check out all the features of our app here.