Chapter 7: Parallel Parking

Chapter 7 - Parallel Parking


Note: Practice quizzes are available only for those sections of the manual covering rules of the road (Chapters 4 through 11 and Road Signs).

Parallel parking takes skill and is part of every road test. You must know where parking is illegal and what NO PARKING, NO STANDING and NO STOPPING signs indicate.


Many motorists consider parallel parking the most difficult part of driving. But practice will teach you how to back up correctly and to judge distances and angles. 

Some vehicles have additional safety equipment (such as back up cameras and range-detecting sensors) to help the driver back up safely. Some vehicles can even park themselves (in certain conditions). Although these can be useful features, you need to be alert and check the area behind your vehicle before you back up. YOU – as the driver – are ultimately responsible for the safe operation of your vehicle.

The following instructions are general. You must adjust parallel parking procedures to the particular situation. Practice is the only method to learn correctly.

  1. Select a space that is large enough for your vehicle on your side of the road. Check your mirrors before you stop, and signal to warn other drivers. Stop next to the vehicle in front of the space and leave about two feet between the other vehicle and your vehicle.
    parallel parking step 1

  2. Look behind you over both shoulders to make sure you will not interfere with pedestrians or oncoming traffic. Back the vehicle slowly and begin to turn your steering wheel completely toward the near curb. Look through the rear window, not the mirrors, when you back up. Look to the side and front occasionally to make sure you will not touch the vehicle ahead.
    parallel parking step 2

  3. When your front wheels are opposite the back bumper of the vehicle ahead, turn the steering wheel the other way while you continue to back up. Make sure you clear the vehicle ahead. Look back, and stop to ensure you do not bump the vehicle behind you.
    parallel parking step 3

  4. Bring your wheels straight and pull forward. Allow room for the vehicles ahead and behind you. In your final parking position, your wheels must be no more than one foot (30 cm) from the curb.
    parallel parking step 4


To get nearer to the curb, alternately pull forward and back up, and turn the steering wheel first toward the curb and then quickly straight again.

After parking, remember that you must not open the door on the roadside if it will interfere with bicyclists and other traffic.



After you park on a hill, make sure to set your parking brake. Put the transmission in “Park” (or, if your vehicle has a manual transmission, put the transmission into 1st gear). Turn the wheels toward the curb or side of the road, so they will keep your vehicle from heading into traffic.



To pull away from a parallel parking space, make sure your wheels are straight, back up to the vehicle behind you and turn your wheels away from the curb.

Six steps to enter safely into traffic:

1) Turn your head to look over your right shoulder and check through the rear-window for pedestrians, bicyclists, motorcyclists and other vehicles that can become a hazard;

2) use your interior rear-view mirror to help keep an eye on hazards behind your vehicle;

3) signal your intentions to move from your parking space into traffic;

4) check your side mirrors for oncoming vehicles, pedestrians, bicyclists, in-line skaters, motorcyclists and other highway users;

5) turn your head to look over your left shoulder out through the rear-window and begin to slowly drive forward. Make sure you can avoid the vehicle parked ahead when you enter traffic;

6) turn your head and look over your left shoulder to look through the rear-window, drive into the traffic lane when it is safe to do so.



What people understand as "parking" is legally divided into three categories: parking, standing and stopping. Parking is when a vehicle is stopped, occupied or not, other than temporarily for the purpose of loading or unloading merchandise or passengers. Standing is similar to Parking, except that it only relates to receiving or discharging passengers. Stopping is literally that, bringing the vehicle to a stop (even temporarily).

A NO PARKING sign means you can make a temporary stop to load or discharge merchandise or passengers.

A NO STANDING sign means you can make a temporary stop to load or discharge passengers. The driver cannot exit the vehicle.

A NO STOPPING sign means you can stop only to obey a traffic sign, signal or officer or to prevent conflicts with other vehicles.

Besides parking, standing and stopping rules, there are statewide rules not always indicated by signs:

You cannot park, stop or stand:

  • Within 15 feet (5 m) of a fire hydrant, unless a licensed driver remains in the vehicle to move it in an emergency.

  • On the roadside of a parked vehicle ("double parking").

  • On a sidewalk or in a crosswalk.

  • In an intersection, unless permitted by signs or parking meters.

  • On railroad tracks.

  • Next to or opposite road work, construction or other obstructions if your vehicle blocks traffic.

  • Within 30 feet (10 m) of a pedestrian safety area, unless another distance is marked.

  • On a bridge or in a tunnel.

Parking or standing is not allowed:

  • In front of a driveway.

  • Within 20 feet (6 m) of a crosswalk at an intersection.

  • Within 30 feet (10 m) of a traffic light, STOP sign or YIELD sign.

  • Within 20 feet (6 m) of a fire station driveway, or within 75 feet (23 m) on the opposite side of the road.

  • Along a curb that is cut, lowered or made for access to the sidewalk.

  • You cannot park your vehicle within 50 feet (15 m) of a railroad crossing.



Parking reserved for persons with disabilities is a legal requirement. These special parking spaces for motorists with disabilities ensure safe and equal access to goods and services, access which is taken for granted by many persons. You can park in reserved spaces only if you have a permit or vehicle plates for persons with disabilities and only when the person who received the permit or vehicle plates is in the vehicle.

It is illegal for any vehicle to park, stop or stand in a space reserved for people with disabilities unless it has vehicle plates for people with disabilities issued by the DMV, a New York State Parking Permit for People with Disabilities issued by a city, town county or village, or a similar plate or permit issued by another state. The vehicle must be in operation to transport the person with disabilities described in the registration or permit. This law applies to spaces reserved and provided by local ordinance on streets and highways and those held for special use by state law in shopping centers that have five or more stores and 20 or more off-street public parking spaces.

It is a misdemeanor to make a false statement or give false information on an application for vehicle plates, and you would be subject to a mandatory license revocation and could face a fine, incarceration, or both, plus a mandatory surcharge. Additionally, if you make a false statement or provide false information to get a parking permit for a person with a disability, you face possible civil penalties from $250 to $1,000 and a mandatory surcharge. These penalties apply to the applicant and to a doctor who provides certification.

To apply for vehicle plates for the disabled or for a NYS Parking Permit for the Disabled use the Instructions and Application for a Parking Permit or License Plates for People with Severe Disabilities (MV-664.1).

Parking Sign - Reserved Parking for People with Disabilities

Reserved spaces must be marked with signs like the one shown above, and also can be designated with pavement markings. Do not park in the spaces with diagonal stripes next to reserved parking areas. These spaces are needed to give access to those with wheelchairs and vehicles with special equipment.

The fines for parking violations on a street are set by municipalities. Unless a municipality sets higher penalties, the fine for a shopping center violation is $50 to $75 for a first offense and $75 to $150 for a second offense within two years in the same municipality. A mandatory surcharge of $30 will be added to each penalty.



Before you go on to Chapter 8, make sure you can answer these questions:

  • After you have parallel parked, how near to the curb must your vehicle be?

  • May you open a door on the roadside of your vehicle if there is no oncoming traffic?

  • Before you leave a parking space, what should you do?

  • What does a NO STOPPING sign mean?

  • Can you stop to load or drop off passengers at a NO STANDING or NO PARKING sign?

  • May you park on a crosswalk in the middle of a block?


End of Chapter 7: check mark Chapter 7 Quiz

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