I have this problem, I am really bad at parking. When I was learning to drive my mom made it an effort to tell my driving instructor how bad I was and we spent the entire 60 min. lesson about parking. We didn’t even focus on parallel parking (something I never was really taught how to do.) Now I am twenty years old and I am not as bad at parking as I used to be. But moving to Columbia, Mo. has created a new parking challenge for me.

The inconveinant and expensive parking tickets have become an annoying parking game for me. I like to park in convenient places and that sometimes does not line up with the parking permit I have. So what do I do? I play “who can outsmart the parking ticket guy.” Ok not really, but yes sometimes I do park in places where I am not allowed to park and take the risk of getting a parking ticket.

Since living here for three years, I have only been issued three parking tickets. The bad news is that I have received two of those three this week. The second one was completely expected, I parked in a lot that I wasn’t supposed to. The third one, however, took me by surprise. I had parked at a meter that required me to parallel park (so bad at this) and I had parked a little bit farther away from the curb than I should of. Ok, I may have been two feet away from it. But when I parked I had no idea it wasn’t allowed! So now I am stuck with a $15 parking ticket for parking more than 12 inches away form the curb. What a bummer.

After all this happened, I decided I needed to learn how to parallel park, so I don’t hit any cars and park close enough to the curb. has a wonderful document explaining ways to avoid parking tickets and how to park in every way possible.

I found some great tips on how to parallel park from them:

  1. Pull up parallel to the car in from (2-3 feet from it)
  2. Shift into reverse
  3. Make sure no one is driving towards you and back up slowly, steering to the left or right as appropriate; stop when steering wheel is in line with the rear bumper and your car is at a 45-degree angle.
  4. Turn your wheels all the way in the opposite direction and back up slowly. Make sure you glance quickly at the front and rear of your vehicle until you straighten the wheels
  5. Center the vehicle into the space. Your wheels should be 6-12 inches from the curb

I also love visual directions so this video helped a lot:

Maybe now I will be a little more keen to parking and be smart enough to not get any more tickets. I don’t think my wallet can afford it! But parking on campus is a constant battle. Not only is it expensive, some of the spaces are tight too!

Photo courtesy of Jason Thien ( Attribution 2.0


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