When it comes to parallel parking abilities, humans do not rein supreme.

Bad parking (Photo credit: Antonio-BanderAS, ThinkStock)

If you own a new car there’s a good chance the vehicle has a self-park feature for easier parallel parking. There’s also a good chance you feel your parallel parking abilities are excellent, and you don’t trust a machine to park itself.

If that’s the case, it turns out you’re wrong!

A new AAA found that 80 percent of drivers are confident in their parallel parking abilities, with only one in four trusting self-parking features in their new vehicles, however, the study also showed that drivers who rely on driving technology make for better parkers.

According to the study:

  • 81 percent experienced fewer curb strikes when trying to parallel park with a self-parking system;
  • Self-parking systems parallel parked the vehicle using 47 percent fewer maneuvers;
  • Self-parking systems were able to park a vehicle 10 percent faster.

"When it comes to parallel parking it looks like the vehicle knows best. We found that when it’s driver versus technology, the technology wins," said Tracy Noble, manager of Public and Government Affairs for AAA-Mid-Atlantic. "While the vast majority of Americans say they would not trust self-parking technology, AAA found these features performed well in tests and warrants consideration of new car buyers."

Noble said in addition to using fewer maneuvers to get the car parked, the study found that in some cases the automated system completed the parallel park in as little as one maneuver.

Self-parking systems do have some flaws though. The study found that while self-parking systems get the vehicle 37 percent closer to the curb, in some cases, that may be too close.

During the testing, AAA discovered some systems parked exceedingly close to the curb, leaving tires and wheels vulnerable to scratches and even costly repairs.

“AAA recommends that drivers leave between 6 and 8 inches between the vehicle and the curb when parallel parking,” Noble says.

In partnership with the Automobile Club of Southern California’s Automotive Research Center, AAA tested self-parking features on 5 vehicles: a 2015 Lincoln MKC, a 2015 Mercedes-Benz ML400 4Matic, a 2015 Cadillac CTS-V Sport, a 2015 BMW i3 and a 2015 Jeep Cherokee Limited.