Don’t Be That Guy Who Holds Up Traffic: How To Parallel Park Perfectly, Every Single Time

Knowing how to parallel park perfectly is a skill a lot of people take for granted. One of the first things I learned when I moved from Florida to New York City is: if you don’t know how to parallel park you better have thick skin, because other drivers are going to lay on their horns.

When I took my driver’s license test down in the Sunshine State ‘how to parallel park’ and ‘parallel parking’ wasn’t even on the exam (field or written). For those of you living in highly congested urban areas it’s easy to forget that there are a lot more portions of the country where parallel parking is a foreign concept as there are places where it’s the norm. And that leads to a lot of people who don’t know how to parallel park, or who are atrocious at parallel parking.

Thankfully for those of you who are miserable at parallel parking, Road & Track put together a simple set of step on ‘How to Parallel Park Perfectly’ and it’s even backed up by a mathematical theorem:

1. Pull alongside the car ahead of the space you want. Align your rear axle with that car’s bumper. Turn the wheel toward the curb at full lock.

2. Back up until the center of your inside rear tire aligns with the streetside edge of the forward car. Straighten wheel, continue to reverse.

3. When your outside tire aligns with that same edge, turn the wheel the other way.

4. If all went according to plan, you’re in the space, bodywork intact. Get out and admire your work.

But what about that math? Mathematicians from the University of London put together a theorem to ensure you never have troubles parallel parking again:

Now hopefully with these simple steps on how to parallel park like a pro, you’ll end up more like these guys:

And less like this person: