A Mathematician Solved Parallel Parking in 4 Easy Steps and Now It’s a Breeze

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Parallel parking really is an art.

Remember when you were trying for your driver’s license? Maybe you spent hours practicing in an empty parking lot, attempting to get the vehicle between two cones. And even with all that practice, most of us lucked out during our driver’s exam when trying to pass our tests.

If only we had a mathematically accurate way of knowing how to park in one try!

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Now there is!

Simon R. Blackburn, a mathematician at Royal Holloway, University of London created thoughtful instructions for parallel parking without a scratch. And he used the Pythagorean Theorem to do it!

Remember that? If not, it’s the mathematical equation where square of the hypotenuse of a right triangle is equal to the sum of the squares of the other two sides.

Blackburn took that math and a series of variables like the radius of the car’s turning circle, the length between the front and back wheels and more, to determine what is a “perfect parking” maneuver. This means you won’t have to wiggle to and fro to get into the space.

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But unless you are a mathematical whiz, this calculation might seem a bit dense. But don’t worry! If you haven’t got the wherewithal or time to break this down, here is a step-by-step guide by Men’s Health that will get your car into that spot and on your way.

  1. Pull alongside the car ahead of the spot you want and align your rear tires with that car’s bumper.
  2. Turn your wheel toward the curb as far as it will go.
  3. Back up until the center of your inside rear tire aligns with the street side edge of that forward car. Straighten the wheel and keep backing up.
  4. When your outside tire aligns with that same edge, turn your wheel out toward the street and keep reversing.

Before you know it, your car will side right into place.

But fear not, if you still have to shift a few times to get it perfectly aligned with the curb, that’s okay.

Practice makes perfect!