Follow these instructions for perfect parallel parking every time

parallel parking

Until self-driving cars arrive, we’ll be performing the death-defying act of piloting our own vehicles for the next few years, and one of the most difficult routines is parallel parking. Even if you’re an expert at that challenging feat, you’ll want to know about this remarkable way to perfectly parallel park every single time.

It involves a set of instructions offered by Quora user Yishan Wong, who’s seen plenty of solutions to the parallel parking conundrum, all of which he calls “too complex and intimidating.” He claims to have discovered the secret to parallel parking — and I believe him, because I’ve tested his technique and it works perfectly.




I’ve usually been able to parallel park fairly well, but I’ve never had the 100% accuracy that you can get while exactly following this list of 14 instructions. What Yishan writes is true: “If you do the steps exactly, your car will magically place itself into the correct position.” It requires no judgment, no practice, no nothing except exactly following his instructions:

1. Drive around until you find a spot that looks big enough.
2. Pull up even to the front car. If your cars are different lengths, line up the back of your car with the back of the front car as best you can. You don’t have to be exact here.
3. Stop.
4. While stopped, turn your wheel all the way to the right. ALL THE WAY. Don’t move forward or back while doing this!
5. Turn around and look out the back of your car.
6. Begin backing up. Your car should start turning into the spot. Don’t turn your wheel away from the all-the-way-right position!
7. Stop backing up when the right-front corner of the rear car is in the exact middle of your rear windshield. If you imagine a line extending backwards from your car along its centerline, you stop when the right-front corner of the rear car reaches that line.
8. I said STOP.
9. While stopped, turn your wheel back to the middle position.
10. Back up slowly until your car just barely clears the front car, then stop again.
11. STOP.
12. Turn your wheel all the way to the left. All the way! Stay stopped while you do this.
13. Now keep backing in. Don’t turn your wheel away from the all-the-way-left position!
14. Once your car is parallel, STOP and then turn your wheel to face forwards again.

Be sure to read Yishan Wong’s Quora post for more details.

Bonus revelation: There is no such thing as a blind spot. If you adjust your side mirrors properly, you’ll be able to see all the way around the car:

Image: Flickr/Marcus Hansson