How to parallel parking in a tight spot


Posted by: Okenwa Emeka

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Are you a beginner and parking in between two parallel parked cars with little space is a problem? Learn here how to do parallel parking in a tight spot like a pro!

Parallel parking is perceived the most difficult amongst a lot of drivers especially beginners because of its seeming technicality so they rather pass on the parking spots.

There are three main types of parking; the parallel parking, the angle parking and the perpendicular parking. In this article, we have a few tips that can help you master parallel parking and have you park like a pro.

How to parallel park in simple steps

1. Confirm the space is enough to take your car. The required space for proper parking is usually 2 feet both in front and behind you. In case of a tight parking that will be reduced to at least 1ft. You do not need a measuring instrument to do this; simply drive and align your car with the available space then look to your front and back you should see this.

2. Approach the cars where you want to park and turn on your direction lights. In our case in Nigeria that will be to the right. This is so people can see you are trying to park to the right.

3. Drive towards the car in front and align your mirror with its. This way your rear tires are aligned. This alignment depends on the size of your car. If your drive a bigger car the mirrors to the rear tires may not align so u can try moving forward a bit.


Parallel parking stepwise illustration

4. Leave about 3 feet on your right between your car and the other car. If you can’t calculate 3 feets just imagine someone is standing between you and the other car.

5. Switch your transmission to reverse

6. Turn your steering wheel totally to the right or in clockwise direction and back off slowly, releasing the steering wheel as you do so.

7. Drive backward until the license plate of the other car is aligning with the right edge of your front passenger seat window or the rare tire of the car aligns with the middle of the passenger seat window. Note that these angles may vary depending on the size of your car.

8. Now turn steering wheel to the left completely and reverse as much as you can releasing your steering wheel until the steering wheel is straight.

9. Do this front and back movements slowly until your car seats perfectly in between the other two cars.

10. You should be at least 1ft away from the gutter slab which is the standard parking distance from the gutters.

Parallel parking guide

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The basic difference between parallel parking in a tight spot and a normal spot is the number of times you have to go back and forth until you get a balance. In a normal parallel parking situation you may have to repeat the routine 2 to 3 times but in case of tight parking you may repeat as much as 4 to 5 times. It is perfectly okay to do the back and forth aligning as much times a possible if you are trying it for the first time.

The size of your car matters a lot when deciding to pick a parallel parking spot. But the same techniques work for different car sizes just change in specifics like using your mirrors to figure out rare tire alignments.

Now if you follow these 10 tips you should have parked your car like a pro. It is important to note that when driving you need to be as calm as possible and take your time when trying something new.

Good luck!

>>> Check out other tips on safe driving on!

Okenwa Emeka
Okenwa Emeka

Okenwa Emeka


Okenwa Emeka is a prolific writer who combines his content creation skills with a strong passion for automobiles to make engaging articles for Naija car lovers. He is a member of the Chartered Institute of Marketing CAM with a diploma in digital marketing. 

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