Tips for Teaching Your Teen How to Drive: How to Park a Car

Today’s installment of the Teen Driving Tips and Facts Series covers how to park a car, which, to seasoned drivers, seems like a silly topic to dedicate much time to explaining. However, what we don’t realize because we’ve been driving for quite some time, the dynamics of learning to park are much easier said than done, and it takes a lot of coaching and patience to teach a teen driver to park with finesse.

Depending upon the spot you’re trying to park in, there are different approaches to how to park a car. If you’re parking in an angled parking space, you start by signaling and stopping your vehicle about 6 to 8 feet away from the parking space. Next, check your blind spot on the side of the space to make sure that there are no other cars or pedestrians, and begin turning the wheel and moving slowly once you can see the center of the spot without looking across the parking line. Turn the wheel sharply toward the center of the space, and then straighten out the wheel once you’re in the space, centering yourself as needed.

Learning how to park a car in a perpendicular spot is similar to parking in an angled spot, but with a slight difference.  For the purpose of explaining this parking instance, imagine you’re parking in a spot that’s on your right. You’ll still want to begin by signaling, stopping your vehicle 6 to 8 feet from the spot, as far to the left of the lane as you can. After checking the traffic behind you, begin moving slowly and turn the wheel sharply to the right, making sure that you have clearance for your right rear fender to enter the spot. Straighten your wheel once you’ve reached the center of the space, and, if necessary, you can reverse and pull back in to straighten out.

Parallel parking is one of the aspects of learning how to park a car that causes new drivers the most anxiety, but there’s no need to worry about learning to do it—parallel parking is much easier than people make it out to be. To begin, check for oncoming traffic in your rearview mirror, and signal to the right to indicate you’re about to parallel park (for this explanation, imagine you’re parking on the right side of the road). Pull up to the car in front of the space in which you plan to park, leaving 2 to 3 feet of space between it and your car. Keeping your car parallel to the other car (with your wheel straight), adjust your car to align your rear bumper with the other car’s rear bumper. Next, shift into reverse, turn your wheel fully toward the curb (in this case to the right), and look behind you while you slowly back into the space. When your car is mostly in the space, and your sideview mirror is aligned with the front car’s rear bumper, turn your wheel all the way back to the left, which completes the motion of snaking your car into the spot. Once your car is fully in the spot, straighten your wheel as you finish backing up. Shift into drive again and turn your wheel back to the right, moving forward slowly toward the curb to center yourself in the space. To leave a parallel parking space, slowly inch your car backward until you can see the front car’s rear tires, and then check your blind spot for oncoming cars and pedestrians, signal and yield to other traffic, then turn your wheel to the left sharply to pull slowly out of the space.

We hope this helps with teaching your teen how to park a car! Stay tuned for more tips!

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