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how to parallel park

Learning this tricky feat is often the stuff of nightmares, with visions of dented bumpers and angry drivers honking their horns impatiently. Check out our parallel parking video to help ease the process (and your anxiety).

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A step-by-step guide to the perfect parallel park

Parallel parking will become second nature once you've learned how to do it correctly. As you can see in these parallel parking tips, all you need is a little bit of patience and practice.

Step 1: Find a space that's at least 4 to 6 feet longer than your ride.

This will allow plenty of room for both your car and those around you. By remembering these parallel parking dimensions, you'll prevent dents and scrapes while you straighten out your car (later in the process).

Step 2: Use your turn signal.

Turning on your signal lets the drivers behind you know what's up, so they can give you plenty of space (and hopefully some patience). With parallel parking, distance matters. After all, it's something you don't really want an audience for.

Step 3: Align your car with the one in front of the space you want.

This is key in making sure your parallel park is on point. Since it's hard to correct a parallel park once a mistake's been made, it's important to start off on the right foot (or shall we say, wheel?).

Step 4: Double-check your blind spots.

Don't just rely on your mirrors — turn your entire body and head to make sure there are no obstacles in your way.

Step 5: Start backing into the space.

Once you know your path is clear, begin slowly backing into the space. Be aware of your surroundings, including your proximity to the cars around you.

Step 6: Turn your steering wheel the opposite direction.

When your front seat lines up with the front car's rear bumper, turn your wheel the other direction to start straightening out.

Step 7: Back into the space (slowly, now) and start straightening out your car.

Allow yourself and other vehicles enough room to transition out of the space once it's time to leave. Your vehicle should end up about 6 inches from the curb once your parallel park is complete.

Step 8: Give yourself a pat on the back.

Phew! That wasn't so hard, was it? Ok, maybe a little. But you did it! In time, you'll master these steps to parallel parking. But don't get too frustrated or upset if you fail to nail it at the first attempt (it took us a while, too).

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