How to do Parallel Parking: Expert Tips and Hacks

Rahul Jha
Rahul Jha

Updated on: 21st December, 2023 IST

How to do Parallel Parking

Mastering the intricacies of parallel parking is one of the most important rites of passage to becoming a seasoned driver. In this blog, we are going to take a closer look at the art of parallel parking with precision and expertise. 

We aim to equip you with the knowledge and techniques necessary to seamlessly execute this essential manoeuvre. From the fundamental steps on how to parallel park to understanding the precise parallel parking dimensions, we leave no stone unturned. 

By the end of this blog, you will not only know what parallel parking is but also have the confidence and finesse to parallel park your vehicle effortlessly. 

What is Parallel Parking

Parallel parking, also known as curb-side parking, is a crucial parking technique, particularly in India's bustling cities. This method involves parking your vehicle parallel to the curb, sandwiched between two already parked cars.

Mastering parallel parking is more than a convenience; it's a necessity in cities like Mumbai, Delhi, and Kolkata, where traffic congestion is a daily challenge. Safe parallel parking requires careful checking of blind spots, the use of mirrors, and maintaining a slow, controlled pace to avoid accidents or collisions. 

Moreover, it's a common component of driver's licence tests, underscoring its importance in ensuring road safety. By honing your parallel parking skills, you equip yourself to confidently navigate the congested streets of Indian cities, knowing you can park efficiently and safely in tight spaces, contributing to smoother traffic flow and road safety.

Also Read: What is Multi-Point Fuel Injection System (MPFI)

Mastering Parallel Parking: A Step-by-Step Guide

The parallel parking journey begins with finding the perfect spot and ends with your car neatly tucked alongside the curb. Let's explore the step-by-step process that takes you from selecting a suitable parking space to securely parking your vehicle:

1. Find a Suitable Parking Space

  • Look for a parking space that is at least one and a half times the length of your car
  • Ensure there are no "no parking" signs and that the space is legal for parking

2. Approach the Space

  • Signal your intent to park by activating your right turn signal (in countries where you drive on the left side of the road like India)
  • Pull up alongside the car in front of the space, leaving about two feet (60 cm) of space between your car and the other

3. Check Your Mirrors and Blind Spots

  • Before you start, make sure there are no approaching vehicles or pedestrians
  • Check your mirrors and blind spots for any potential obstacles

4. Begin the Manoeuvre

  • Shift your car into reverse gear
  • Gradually start reversing while turning the steering wheel fully to the right (clockwise)
  • Go slowly, and your rear right corner should move towards the curb

5. Monitor Your Surroundings

  • Continuously check your mirrors and blind spots
  • Keep an eye on the distance between your car and the one in front

6. Straighten the Wheels

  • Once your car is roughly at a 45-degree angle to the curb, straighten your wheels
  • You can do this by turning the steering wheel to the left (anti-clockwise) and reversing slowly

7. Align with the Curb

  • As your car straightens out, you should be parallel to the curb
  • Adjust your position as needed, keeping a safe distance from the car behind you

8. Finish Parking

  • Once you're parallel to the curb and positioned correctly, stop your car
  • Make sure it's within the legal limits of the parking space and not sticking out

9. Secure Your Vehicle

  • Shift into park, engage the handbrake, and turn off your engine
  • Congratulations, you've successfully parallel parked!

Also Read: Types Of Roads and Lane System In India

Common Mistakes to Avoid When Parallel Parking

Parallel parking demands precision, even from seasoned drivers, and avoiding common mistakes is essential. By staying mindful of these common parallel parking mistakes, you'll enhance your parking skills and ensure a safer and more convenient experience on India's bustling streets

Here's a breakdown of typical errors to be vigilant about:

1. Not Checking Blind Spots

  • Failure to check your blind spots means neglecting areas not visible in your mirrors
  • This oversight can result in collisions with passing vehicles or pedestrians who might be in your vehicle's blind spots
  • Always perform shoulder checks to ensure your surroundings are clear before manoeuvring

2. Rushing the Process

  • Rushing increases the likelihood of errors during parallel parking
  • Hastening the process may lead to misalignment with the curb, other vehicles, or an uneven parking position
  • Take your time to carefully execute each step of the parking procedure

3. Not Using Mirrors

  • Neglecting mirrors means you miss crucial information about your car's positioning
  • Inadequate mirror usage can result in misalignment with the curb or other vehicles nearby
  • Regularly check your side and rearview mirrors to maintain proper spatial awareness

4. Not Straightening the Wheels

  • Failing to straighten your wheels after positioning your car can complicate the exit process
  • If your wheels aren't straight, it may require multiple manoeuvres to leave the parking spot smoothly
  • Remember to centre your steering wheel before exiting

5. Hitting the Curb

  • Carelessness during the parking process can lead to scraping your wheels against the curb
  • This can potentially cause damage to your vehicle's tires, rims, or alignment
  • Exercise caution to avoid curb contact while parking

6. Parking Too Far from the Curb

  • Parking too far from the curb obstructs traffic and poses safety risks
  • It can make it difficult for other drivers to pass, leading to traffic congestion
  • Ensure you're close enough to the curb to allow smooth passage for other vehicles

Also Read: Advanced Driver Assistance Systems (ADAS)

Setting Up a Practice Area

Setting up an effective practice area is crucial for mastering parallel parking skills. Here's a detailed breakdown of the steps to create an ideal practice space:

1. Find an Empty Space

  • Seek out a quiet and spacious area, such as an empty parking lot or a less-travelled street
  • This would help minimize distractions and potential hazards
  • Ensure there are no obstructions or obstacles that could hinder your practice sessions

2. Use Cones or Markers

  • In a parking lot, utilize cones, markers, or even chalk lines to demarcate parking spaces on the ground
  • These markers will help simulate real parking scenarios, allowing you to practice with precision

3. Start with Larger Spaces

  • Initially, practice in larger spaces to build confidence and develop a sense of control
  • Gradually decrease the distance between the cones or markers to simulate tighter parking conditions as your skills improve

4. Practice Regularly

  • Consistency is paramount in mastering parallel parking
  • Dedicate regular practice sessions to refine your technique
  • Repetition will enhance your muscle memory and boost your overall parallel parking proficiency

Also Read: Brake System In Automobile

The Bottom Line 

Parallel parking is a skill that can be mastered with dedication and practice. By understanding the fundamentals of parallel parking, avoiding common mistakes, and setting up an effective practice area, you can confidently navigate the challenges of parking in tight spaces, especially in India's crowded cities. 

As you start your parallel parking journey, don't be discouraged by initial difficulties. Every skilled driver was once a beginner. With time and effort, you'll become proficient, making parallel parking a seamless part of your urban driving experience. 

So, grab those keys, head to your practice area, and keep perfecting your parallel parking skills. Remember, the key to success is patience and consistency. 


Q. What if I can't find a parking spot?

In busy areas, parking spots can be scarce. Be patient and consider looking for alternative parking locations nearby.

Q. How do I parallel park in heavy traffic?

Patience and caution are key. Wait for a suitable gap in traffic, signal your intent, and follow the parallel parking steps carefully.

Q. Do I need to parallel park for my driver's test?

It depends on your local driving regulations and the specific requirements of your driver's test. Check with your local licensing authority for details.

Q. Can I use technology to assist me in parallel parking?

Yes, many modern cars come equipped with features like parking sensors and cameras to aid in parallel parking. However, it's essential to learn how to parallel park manually as well.

Q. How long does it take to master parallel parking?

The time it takes to master parallel parking varies from person to person. With regular practice, you can become proficient in a few weeks to a couple of months.

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