How to Parallel Park Properly

Updated on January 22, 2019
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I've found a lack of proper information about how to parallel park. Most articles out there don't have diagrams and measurements. Note that the measurements found in this article might not be the same at every traffic department or driver's license testing centre. This article is mainly geared towards those living in South Africa, but you might want to continue reading even if you don't reside here.

I'm assuming you want to know how to parallel park in order to pass the driver's test, because virtually nobody I know uses it outside of the yard; they're either too scared of hitting something or they forgot how. Doing it in real life is different, because in real life there are things called cars, and they cost a lot of money.

The test starts off in the bay allocated for you on the yard. Let's say the space you need to get into is to the right, as shown in the following diagram:

Source

The dimensions of the space you need to get into are about 7m long (275 in) and 2.6m wide (102 in) and your wheels mustn't be more than 45 cm (17, 7 in) from the kerb when you complete the manoeuvre. You also mustn't be too close to the fist pole when you start. Remember to go slowly, and turn fast so that you have more time to react and adjust if necessary. According to the rules nowadays (K53) you don't have to straighten the wheels once you're in the bay, whereas you had to in the past. It makes it easier to get back out. You have two attempts for the parallel park, and you have to complete the parallel park in three moves upon entry. You have unlimited moves to get out of the bay.

How to Parallel Park

1. Check your mirror, look at your right blind spot, and indicate right.

2. Do your full observation; mirror, right blind spot, mirror, left blind spot, and mirror.

3. Start going in reverse slowly, and immediately do an opposite blind spot check (blind spot left).

4. Once you see the first front pole at about rear bumper level, put the steering wheel on full lock to the extreme right.

5. Wait until you see the rear third pole in your wing mirror (when coming in from the left, it's the left wing mirror); when this happens, straighten up by turning the steering wheel back one and a half or two turns to the left so that you are going in diagonally.

6. When you see the first front pole in front of the wing mirror (right mirror if you're coming in from the left, put the steering wheel on full lock to the left.

7. Keep reversing until you are about straight, level with the kerb.

8. Don't knock any of the poles or mount the kerb at any time or you'll fail instantly.

If the bay you want to get in to is to your left, just do the opposite of everything above:

1. Mirror, blind spot left and indicate left.

2. Do your full observation; mirror, right blind spot, mirror, left blind spot, and mirror.

3. Start going in reverse slowly, and immediately do an opposite blind spot check (blind spot right).

4. Once you see the first front pole in the corner of the left rear passenger window, put the steering wheel on full lock to the extreme left.

5. Wait until you see the rear third pole in your wing mirror (when coming in from the right, it's the right wing mirror), when this happens, straighten up by turning the steering wheel back one and a half or two turns to the right so that you are going in diagonally.

6. When you see the first front pole in the far left of the windscreen, put the steering wheel on full lock to the right.

7. Keep reversing until you are about straight, level with the kerb.

How do you find parallel parking?

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"You know, somebody actually complimented me on my driving today. They left a little note on the windscreen, it said 'Parking Fine."

— Tommy Cooper

This content is accurate and true to the best of the author’s knowledge and is not meant to substitute for formal and individualized advice from a qualified professional.

© 2008 Anti-Valentine

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    • profile image

      EDWINA JONAS 

      18 months ago

      Hi have failed my licence due to rolling forward on my parallel parking.How can I prevent from rolling again?Please help !

    • profile image

      Debra Makhubela 

      3 years ago

      I am learning how to drive, and this is very helpful. thank you so much

    • profile image

      jwalane moloi 

      4 years ago

      Hi im doing my drivers test today if i can only pass im so scared .

    • profile image

      Phumlani 

      5 years ago

      Guys, please help me, next week on 5 November 2013 I'm going for my driver's licence test. I'm going to be tested with an automatic car due to the fact that I'm physical disabled, I have to be tested on the hands control vehicle., I want to pass this one. Any words of encouragement , so tips, what to expect, how to handle that pressure. Can you please give me some advice. Thank you.

    • profile image

      Zanethemba 

      6 years ago

      Hey there i'm from South Africa, my driver's test is next week Thursday the 15 November and i'm glad to say i find this really helpful, i feel confident enough to pass the first time so thanks a million.

      Goodluck to everyone else who's also going for their licence test.

    • nancynurse profile image

      Nancy McClintock 

      6 years ago from Southeast USA

      Great hub . Well written. I enjoyed reading. Voted up

    • profile image

      Ruthie 

      6 years ago

      I have a NY drivers licence and i could not get my licens coverted here, hence i had to redo the whole licensing process here. I would not have been able to pass the sa test without taking lessons. I found your hub outstandingly useful! The protocol they require here is simply ludicrous ! Now that I am finished my test I can finally go back to driving safely and looking at the Rd instead of checking all my blind spots! Thank you for your most helpful site!! I found that after I learned each maneuver from my teacher I would try it out myself and then re read your instructions. It made it so much easier wirh the way you put it out so clearly! Thank you!

    • profile image

      thobeka 

      6 years ago

      M gng 4 my drivers licence thursday n ur hub s helpful! Keep u d gud work

    • profile image

      clement mahumane 

      7 years ago

      i am going for my driving licence test on Monday and i have still can't do the parallel parking going to try it again now

    • Anti-Valentine profile imageAUTHOR

      Anti-Valentine 

      7 years ago from My lair

      @Nombuso, kill switch: Thanks. Glad to see you both find it helpful.

    • profile image

      kill switch 

      7 years ago

      thanks a million for this im from south africa,and im going for my drivers,on the 30 november,this is so helpful mate!!!!this stuff works

    • profile image

      Nombuso 

      7 years ago

      This was very useful thanks

    • Anti-Valentine profile imageAUTHOR

      Anti-Valentine 

      9 years ago from My lair

      Yes, so do I! It's mainly for people who want to pass their driver's licence exam. Some of my hubs on driving seem to be helping a few people out there.

    • Apepperson profile image

      Apepperson 

      9 years ago from Texas

      Thanks for a great Hub! I know way too many people who need to follow the instructions here!

    • Anti-Valentine profile imageAUTHOR

      Anti-Valentine 

      10 years ago from My lair

      Nice to hear it, Abbas!

    • profile image

      Abbas 

      10 years ago

      greetings from sinagpore,

      this was really useful. thanks!

    • Anti-Valentine profile imageAUTHOR

      Anti-Valentine 

      10 years ago from My lair

      Thanks. I mainly wrote it when I was preparing for my driver's licence test. Once I got my licence, I can say I don't use the move anymore. In real life, there are cars (expensive ones) and not poles.

    • Jo Brown profile image

      Jo Brown 

      10 years ago from North of the Border

      Great hub. I actually do want to be able to functionally parallel park! Hope this will help.

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