There’s nothing that gets even the most skilled driver’s heart racing like having to parallel park — especially when the space is tight and there is any traffic around. Even though it’s not a required part of the Oregon DMV drive test, mastering this essential skill is a must if you want to confidently drive the streets of Portland or anywhere else.

At Pacific Driver Education, we strive to help teenagers and adults alike the necessary driving skills to be confident drivers — and parkers. If you’re just starting out driving, our DMV-certified instructors will make the process as simple and as fun as possible. If you’re an adult and are just learning to drive, we can help you gain independence and confidence behind the wheel. Contact us today to sign up for a driver education course.

Tips on Parallel Parking

Find the Right Spot

When you’ve been driving around for hours looking for a place, it’s understandable that you would want to try squeezing into a spot that is maybe a bit too small for comfort, but parallel parking is much less stressful if there is enough space to maneuver. The space should be around one-and-a-half times the length of your car.

When you’ve found the right spot, remember these few steps:

  • Mirrors: Check the mirrors to make sure the area is clear of cars and/or pedestrians.
  • Signal: Flip the right turn signal on.
  • Mirrors: Check your mirrors again.
  • Look: Look over your right shoulder.
  • Go: When it’s safe to proceed, go ahead and start to parallel park.

Put the Car in Reverse

An important step is to put your car in the proper parallel parking position.

  • First, line up with the car at the top of the space, about two feet away.
  • Begin reversing your car until the middle of the vehicle is lined up with the other car’s bumper.

Turn the Wheel

Sitting up tall in the seat, look around and in your mirrors to check for other cars or pedestrians.

  • Turn the steering wheel sharply to the right, or toward the curb, at a 45-degree angle.
  • When the passenger-side mirror is lined up with the other car’s rear bumper, turn the wheel to the left, or toward the road.
  • Continue slowly in reverse until the side of your vehicle is parallel with the curb.
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Straighten Up

When the car is parallel to the curb, you may need to pull forward slightly. Remember to leave enough space between the car behind and in front so that they have enough space to exit their spots.

Having to parallel park can be a stressful situation, but don’t worry if you have to take it extra slowly in order to do it correctly. It’s better to go slow than to have to pull out of the spot and try a second time.

If you’re practicing parallel parking, give yourself plenty of space between vehicles, or even just one vehicle until you get the basic steps down. With enough mock parking practices and then real-life practices, you’ll soon feel comfortable with the process.

Pacific Driver Education wants every driver on the road to be safe and confident behind the wheel. If you’re in need of driver education courses, contact our team today. We offer teen driver classes, adult, and fleet safety training as well.