How to Park a Car Straight


As a new driver your top concerns probably don't include how to park a car straight, but it's still a necessary skill to learn. You can impress your friends with your near perfect parallel parking skills. If you're a person who likes to pay attention to detail, parking exactly straight in comparison to the other cars beside you in the parking lot will give you some satisfaction. Remember that fine-tuning both your driving and parking skills takes time and plenty of practice.

Parallel Parking

  • Line your car up with the car directly in front of the open space. Your back bumper should line up with his. When you're trying to park straight, you should always try to park behind someone who also parked almost perfectly straight with the curb. Check to assure that you are about six inches away from the car, and as parallel as possible.

  • Put the car in reverse, take your foot off the brake, and move back about a foot before turning your wheel to the left (for parking on the left side of a street) or right (for parallel parking on the right side of a street) one full revolution. Start looking out of your rearview mirror to check your positioning with the curb as you back up--move the mirror down slightly if necessary.

  • Continue rolling back slowly with your wheel turned until your back wheel is about a foot from the curb. Turn the wheel in the opposite direction now, two full revolutions and continue backing in. Your car will start to straighten out. Watch the front end of your car to assure that you're not at risk of coming into contact with the car in front of you—if you are, start again from step one.

  • Move backwards until the side of your car lines up with the curb. You can open your door to check the curb or just gauge how the side of your car lines up with the car in front of you, assuming that he has parked straight as well.

Lot Parking

  • Approach the open parking lot spot slowly. Just as you reach the car next to the spot where you want to park, turn your wheel in the opposite direction from the spot (left if the parking spot is on the right, and vice versa if it's on the left) so that your car moves outward. This will allow you more room to park straight into the spot. Make sure no one is coming from the opposite direction before you perform this maneuver.

  • Pull your wheel back toward the free space once the front bumper goes about two feet past the first line marking the spot and keep rolling slowly. Use the lines as your guideliness to remain straight.

  • Drive into the parking space being careful not to connect with other parked cars. You'll know you are straight if your front bumper eases right into the spot with ample space between both sides of your car and the other two parked cars.

Tips & Warnings

  • When parallel parking, practice between two cars that are at least two car lengths apart first. For lot parking, choose a free spot next to two other free spots when you're practicing.

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