How to Park a Car on the Street

by R.L. Cultrona

Safely parking your car is one of the most important things to know how to do. In a parking lot, the surface us usually flat, with nice guidelines that makes it easy to safely do the parking. Parking your car on the street, however, is a whole different ball of wax. There are several things you need to be aware of when engaging in street parking.

Look at the area where you intend to park. Make sure there is enough room for your car to fit, so that you can get in and out of the space and you don't obstruct other vehicles. Also note the color of the curb, as different curb colors have different restrictions on their use (e.g. red=don't park there; white=loading zone).

If there is room for your car and you don't necessarily have to parallel park, pull your car off to the side of the street, next to the curb. The right side of your car should be no more than 12 to 18 inches away from the curb. If you are further out that than, your car may pose as a hazard for other drivers.

If you do have to parallel park in a space that is big enough for your car, pull next to the car in front of the parking spot and signal to the right (this informs on-coming traffic of your intent to park). Place your car in reverse and back up while turning your steering wheel to the right. This will cause the back of the car to swing into the spot. When your car is about half-way in, turn the steering wheel back to center to swing the front of the car into the spot, while continuing to move in reverse. Center the vehicle in the parking spot.

If you are parking on a hill, there is one further step you must take: Pull next to the curb as you did in Step 1, making sure you are close to the curb. Once your car is in the spot, place your foot on the brake and put the car in neutral. Turn the steering wheel (and tires) toward the left, if you are going uphill, or toward the right, if you are going downhill. Take your foot off the brake and let the car roll so that the front tires roll into the curb. Place the car in park and pull up the parking brake.

Tip

  • check The key to street parking is to be as unobtrusive as possible. Look for spots that are safe for your car and for other drivers on the road.

Warning

  • close Don't try to parallel park in a space that is just big enough for your car. You may end up causing damage to the cars around you, and it will be impossible to get out of the space.

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About the Author

R.L. Cultrona is a San Diego native and a graduate of San Diego State University. She holds a Bachelor of Arts in theater, television and film with a minor in communications and political science. She began writing online instructional articles in June 2009.