Parallel parking is not so complicated when you think of it’s geometric patterns.
The geometry of a perfect parallel park. pic.twitter.com/rUUouEydsh
— Simon Pampena (@mathemaniac) November 25, 2016
If you live in a big city, this scenario is all too familiar: Traffic is bad. You’re late for work. And, of course, the parking garage is now full. So you’re forced to parallel park on the street. You finally find a spot between two hulking SUVs, but it looks pretty tight. Do you go for it or move on?
Not to worry; geometry can save you. Run a simple calculation and — voila! — you’ll know just what to do.
Ignore the car that’s sneaking into your space as you do the calculation. You’ll need a few pieces of information:
- Your car’s turning radius, r
- The distance between the front and rear wheels, l
- The distance from your front wheel to the corner of the front bumper, k
- The width of the car you’re trying to park behind, w
Now it’s simply a matter of plugging those variables into the handy formula (see our illustration), and you’ll know if that spot could have been yours.