Parallel parking can be a hassle for some people. Slowly backing your car into an empty parallel parking spot to the curb, especially when trying to navigate between 2 other cars, is enough to make newbies and even some long-term drivers sweat. But if you know parallel parking dimensions, you might have a much less stressful time trying to squeeze in.
The dimensions of a parallel parking spot in the United States are typically 8.6 feet (2.6 meters) wide and 23 feet (7.0 meters) long. However, the exact dimensions will differ from place to place.
If you wish to learn more about parallel parking space dimensions, I invite you to continue reading. I’ll explain in greater detail parallel parking dimensions, as well as answer a few commonly asked questions regarding parallel parking dimensions.
Standard Parallel Parking Dimensions
While sitting in the driver’s seat of your car, new drivers may feel a sense of dread when they need to park their car in a parallel parking spot. Little do they know that their cars are a lot smaller than the dimensions of the parking spot.
In the United States, the average dimensions of a parallel parking spot are 8.6 feet (2.6 meters) in width and 23 feet (7.0 meters) in length. Considering that the most popular sedan model, the Toyota Camry, measure approximately 6 feet (1.8 meters) wide and 16 feet (4.9 meters) long, that leaves about 2.6 feet (0.8 meters) of clearance on the sides and 3 feet (0.9 meters) of clearance divided by the front and back of the vehicle. In total, a Camry takes up less than 50% of the entire allotted space for a single car while parallel parking.
I would like to reiterate that the exact dimensions of a parallel parking space may vary from place to place. For instance, the standard dimensions of such a parking space in Minnesota are about 8 × 22-26 feet (2.4 × 6.7-7.9 meters), whereas parallel parking spaces in New York should measure 8.5 × 24 feet (2.6 × 7.3 meters).
Compact Parallel Parking Dimensions
But what about compact cars? Surely, they don’t require as much space as full-sized sedans, SUVs, and pickups when parked correctly?
It’s true that compact cars take up much less space than their full-sized counterparts. In fact, according to the EPA’s definition, a compact car is a car that has an overall volume (cargo and passenger) of 100-109 cubic feet (2.8-3.1 cubic meters).
The compactness of compact cars is reflected by the tinier amount of space that is allocated for them while parallel parking. On average, roads with reserved parallel parking spots for compact cars should measure at least 6.5 feet (2.0 meters) wide and 19.6 feet (6.0 meters) long in cities like Redlands, California.
Now, let’s compare those dimensions to the dimensions of a 2022 Honda Civic. A Honda Civic measures 5.9 feet (1.8 meters) wide and about 15.3 feet (4.7 meters) long. It only takes up about 70.86% of a single parking space for a compact car.
Like standard parallel parking dimensions for mid- and full-sized vehicles, parking space dimensions for compact cars will vary from place to place. In Ohio, the minimum compact parking space is much larger at 9 × 20 feet (2.7 × 6.1 meters).
FAQ About Parallel Parking Dimensions
1. Is it illegal to park a full-sized vehicle in a compact parallel parking spot?
No, it is not illegal, but it can become a problem for everyone else. If one person parks their mid- or full-sized vehicle in a parking spot made specifically for compact and subcompact cars, other people may follow suit. It becomes increasingly more challenging to navigate your car in a parking lot when the rear of a full-sized vehicle is sticking out of a parking space designated for smaller vehicles.
2. How do you parallel park?
Parallel parking can be a source of stress for some people, especially those who don’t have a lot of miles under their belt. However, like man things in this world, practice makes perfect. You should try and practice your parallel parking skills in an empty lot during non-busy hours. Refer to this video by ParkingTutorial on YouTube to learn how to parallel park correctly and safely.
3. What are the 3 steps of parallel parking?
The Northern NY Driving Academy has uploaded a helpful PDF guide that breaks down the parallel parking process into 3 simple steps. Again, it will take some practice to master, but if I can do it, so can you!
4. How wide are roads with parallel parking?
Like the dimensions for parallel parking, the width of the road may vary from state to state. On average, at least in the United States, the width of a road with parallel parking spaces should measure at least 35 feet (10.7 meters) wide. With 2 8.6-foot-wide (2.6 meters) aisles for parallel parking, that leaves roughly 12 feet (3.7 meters) for cars to pass through.
5. Are 45° parking spaces considered parallel parking?
No, they are not. 45° parking spaces are not a form of parallel parking. It’s also a lot easier to park in a 45° parking spot since you do not have to reverse your car into the spot while watching the front and back of your vehicle. They also accommodate higher numbers of cars to park, though the layout will take up more real estate overall as opposed to parallel parking spaces.
6. Is parallel parking dangerous?
In most cases, it is not dangerous to parallel park. However, when parallel parking on a steep incline, which can increase the risk of backing up too quickly, then drivers need to be more cautious when squeezing their vehicles into tight spots.
7. How much space should you leave in the front and back when parallel parking?
It depends on the length of the parallel parking space and the length of your vehicle. It’s highly advised that you park your car while leaving equal distances between your car and the cars in front and behind you.
However, some have argued that increasing the clearance space in front of your car by minimizing the rear clearance by around 6 inches will make pulling out of the space easier on the driver.