Who Invented Parallel Parking? (And When)

October 4, 2022

Have you ever thought of the bright mind behind parallel parking? Brooks Walker invented parallel parking, also known as fifth-wheel driving, in 1950. The idea was to make squeezing in a small parking lot easier.

The system started with utilizing the hydraulic pump and the spare tire to guide the car into the parking lot or even turn the car in a complete circle.

Let’s see more about the invention of parallel parking and its impact on today’s driving.

The Invention

Walker used his Packard Cavalier to test fifth-wheel driving, and it turned out well when he took the idea to various auto shows for demonstrations. The invention played a huge role in decreasing parking spaces and bigger cars.

The journey began with an invention in the 1930s, the Packard self-parking car, which took time to get into the market since buyers were willing to spend less on an invention.

The inventor didn’t stop there; he improvised the idea to improve the system so that any car could use it without changing its structure.

The idea wasn’t implemented as the inventor hoped due to the high cost of implementation and large trunk space, but the idea has helped in achieving self-parking cars today.

Why is It Called Parallel Parking?

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The parking spaces are so that your car will face the traffic direction. The car should be parallel to the traffic direction and parallel parking. Your car should also be parallel to other cars in the parking space.

This type of parking is mainly in places with no parking spaces since it allows traffic to get through. Remember, when parallel parking, check that there’s enough space between the cars to avoid minor accidents, plus you must master the art of parallel parking.

When Did Parallel Parking Start?

Parallel parking started in the 1930s when cars were manufactured with a fifth wheel perpendicular to the two rear wheels and could be lowered to the ground when getting your car into a parallel parking space.

Why is Parallel Parking Difficult?

Who Invented Parallel Parking?

Source: Pexels

Even with the most expert drivers, you need a high concentration level to maneuver in a parking space between two cars. With most cars having only the front tires for steering the whole vehicle, it becomes such a daunting task as it takes a larger turning radius that requires your maneuvering effort. 

Who Made the First Self-Parking Car?

Lexus was the first car manufacturer with a self-parking or automated parking feature and unveiled the self-parking LS 460 sedan in Detroit in 2006.

The car used the sonar sensor on the front bumper that measured the distance from other cars while pressing the parallel park icon on the touchscreen and created a green indicator box on the parking space allowing the driver to park hands-free.

The steering system comes afterward, where the wheel angles the car into the parking space with the driver applying the brakes slowly as he eases the car backward until it gets close to the other car’s bumper. The self-parking prototype still exists. 

Other manufacturers considered the parking mode and invested in it. However, some drivers still trust their parking tactics more than the self-parking system.

Where is Parallel Parking Most Often Used?

Once you come across a parking space between two curbs parallel to the road, you must think of parallel parking. The space should be longer than your car, and if you have mastered parallel parking, it will be easier for you. You must be conversant with parallel parking even when it seems hard since it may be the only option when you want to stop by the mall.

What Are the Disadvantages of Parallel Parking?

First, the parking takes up more space than angle parking plus you need to be very keen since you can easily collide with the cars in the parking space. The parking also takes more time since some drivers maneuver multiple times to get in the right position.

Why Do We Parallel Park Backward?

It’s effortless to move backward when parallel parking since the front wheels are controlled by the steering wheel and can direct them easily, while the rear wheels will only move straight.

The front wheels in most vehicles are responsible for angular motion and regulation of directional stability when going straight and backing up.

 If you approach the empty parking space head-on, the rear wheels will follow the front ones, and you will need twice the parking space for your car to fit well, and it would be impossible to park parallel.

If you magically manage to get into the parking space, the parking won’t be as neat as you would have thought, plus it will consume your time, and other drivers are waiting for you to finish.

Final Thoughts

Many advantages came with the invention of parallel parking, especially in places with limited parking lots. The five-wheel driving paved the way for advanced parallel parking from the automated to the steering parking. Here’s the catch; be attentive in your driving classes and keep practicing parallel parking until you feel comfortable doing it yourself.