Parallel parking is considered to be one of the hardest skills for new drivers to learn. Parallel parking allows a vehicle to park in a smaller space than would be true of forward parking. Driving forward into a parking space on the side of a road is typically not possible unless two successive parking spaces are empty. Reversing into the spot via the parallel parking technique allows one to take advantage of a single empty space not much longer than the car.
Beginning drivers learn to use reference points to align themselves in relation to the car in front of the space, to determine the proper angle for backing, and to determine when to turn the steering wheel while backing. They may find it easier to briefly stop at each reference point and turn for the next step.
Two major types of parallel parking technique differ in whether they will use two or three positions of the steering wheel while backing. A skilled driver may be able to parallel park successfully by backing with the steering wheel turned all the way to the right and then immediately cranking the wheel all the way to the left at a critical point. For beginning drivers, those with larger cars or bad sight lines, this may risk collision with either the car in front of or the one in back of the space, or both. Such drivers may find it easier to include an intermediate step, where after having achieved the ideal angle for backing up they back up with the wheels straight until the rear end of the car is far enough back to allow them to make their final reverse turn. While steering wheel positions in between full-right, straight, and full-left are possible to use, beginners may be able to gauge their progress more effectively by turning the wheel all the way to the right or left. In the early 21st century, car manufacturers are addressing this need by introducing automatic parking.
In 2003, Lexus introduced a technology to assist drivers in parallel parking their car. Recently, the technology was offered in select luxury Lexus models like the Lexus LS in the United States under the trade name "EZ-Park." The technology, officially called the Advanced Parking Guidance System, was advertised on its commercials depicting a driver backing into two stacks of champagne glasses without knocking them down.