Yikes, parallel parking and reversing! It actually doesn’t have to be that hard. In this section of, we give you helpful, step-by-step maneuvers and tips to help you conquer those pesky parallel parking and reversing situations. We also cover other parking topics like how to handle parking lots and parking on hills.

Parallel Parking

Parallel parking can be intimidating, but the key is to take it slow and not get overwhelmed. These tips should help.

  • Practice with cones or large boxes.
  • If you’re uncomfortable with your angle of approach, pull back out and start over. Don’t force it.
  • When parking, leave the car in front of you enough space to get out of their spot.
  • If driving with a passenger, it’s not a bad idea to have that person direct you into your spot, as it is often difficult to tell how much room you have behind you to another car.
  • Sometimes it’s easier to look for a spot you can pull straight into then to try and get your car into a small parallel spot.
  • Always look back to check traffic.
  • Your foot should always be on or near the brake pedal. The gas is not needed.
  • If you’re behind a car that is signaling to parallel park, either pass right away or give them plenty of room to operate.
  • Try to find a space that is at least six feet longer than your car.
  • Flash your brake lights and put on your turn signal before you pull in.
  • Take it slow and ease into the spot.

The “S” Method

  • Turn on your signal and pull up three feet away from the car you want to park behind. Make sure to align your back tires with the other car’s back bumper.
  • Put your car into reverse and turn your wheels all the way to the right.
  • Very slowly back up until you are at a 45-degree angle, then stop.
  • Turn the wheels all the way to the left.
  • Back up very slowly until you are parallel with the curb.
  • If done correctly, you should be less then twelve inches from the curb. Practice will improve your judgment.

Exiting a Parallel Parking Space

  • Back up straight, as far as you can go, without touching the car behind you.
  • Turn the wheels all the way to the left, then make sure that you put your car in drive.
  • Put on your turn signal.
  • Be sure to check traffic, including your blind spot.
  • Your right fender needs to have enough room to clear the car in front of you.
  • Turn the wheels slowly to the right when you are halfway out of the parking space.
It’s easy to get frustrated when practicing parallel parking. If you’re having a hard time with it, just remember to take it very slow and get help from a passenger if you need to.

Parking Lots & Garages

If you’re a teen driver, you will most definitely be parking in a lot, whether it’s at school, concerts, movies, or when you go shopping. Here are some tips.

  • Try to park your car as centered and straight as possible in the space.
  • If another car is parked at an angle, try to avoid parking beside it. Look for another space if you can.
  • Be aware of “one way” instructions on the ground or on signs.
  • Watch for other drivers who may be rushing to get a spot, and not see you pulling out.
  • Never, ever speed in a parking lot or parking garage, and always slow down at turns.
  • Watch for small children in parking garages and lots. They tend to break away from their parents and run in front of cars.
  • Make sure your car is pulled all the way into a space so the back isn’t sticking out.
  • Try not to park at the end of an aisle, where other cars are making lots of turns.
Knowing how to maneuver and park in lots and garages is just as important as knowing how to drive in traffic. Always remember to take parking lots and garages slow, and keep your eyes very open.

Parking on a Hill

Not all car accidents happen when you’re inside the car – sometimes emergency brakes can fail, and then cars can roll and smash into something, causing property damage or injury. That’s why it’s important to know how to park on a hill.

  • Park as close to the curb as you can, and always use your emergency brake.
  • When parking UPWARDS on a hill, turn your front wheels to the LEFT.
  • When parking DOWNWARDS on a hill, turn your front wheels to the RIGHT.
  • It may be a good idea to practice parallel parking on a hill so that you can get the hang of it.
Even if you live in a relatively “flat” city, it’s important to know how to park on a hill safely. Just because you don’t usually have to park on a hill, doesn’t mean that you’ll never have to do it.

Reverse Parking

Parking in Reverse or Backing into a Space is becoming more common. Why? Because it cuts down on accidents caused by backing out of spaces into blind traffic. It also decreases the chance of your car getting broken into. Here’s a step-by-step guide of how to park in reverse.

  • Turn on your signal. If there are cars behind you, just pull over near the available space and wait for them to pass you. The same goes if there’s traffic coming towards you – do not turn across or into traffic unless it’s clear.
  • Pull your car halfway past the space, and near the center of both lanes. Remember to keep your signal on.
  • Put the car in reverse and turn the wheel towards the side that the parking space is on. Remember to look back while driving backwards. Starting in the middle of the street will allow you to make a hard turn into the space without clipping the cars around you.
  • Straighten the wheel out as you go back, and remember to check the mirrors.
If your car isn’t straight enough, you can put the car in drive, pull forward, and adjust your parking job.