Parking Made Easy
When you think about driving you think about accelerating, braking and steering. You have to work your way through traffic on a daily basis. What some drivers forget to learn is parking. After all, you’ll have to end up somewhere and that means parking. There are a variety of ways to park the vehicle and a variety of ways to do each of them. What may work for some people may not work for others. With that in mind, here are a few different ways to park your vehicle and few easy steps to follow to make your parking experiences somewhat enjoyable.
Let’s start off with the easy one; in the parking lot. There are two ways to park in a parking lot. You can either pull forward into the space or back in. Let’s start with pulling in forward. To begin the park, position your vehicle approximately two vehicle widths away from the end of the spaces or other parked vehicles. When the front bumper of your vehicle reaches the beginning of your intended parking space, look ahead into the middle of the space and begin steering at average speed. Keep the wheels fully turned until you are almost parallel in the space. At that time, quickly straighten the wheels while continuing to look ahead through the space. To make it easier for you, choose a double space and pull through the first space into the second space. It can become much easier to straighten the wheels if that is the case because you’ll have more time to do that.
Backing into a parking space seems to be feared by many people, but if you know the steps, it can actually become an easy skill to do. The starting position is a little different backing in compared to pulling in forward. Instead of having two vehicle widths from the end of the parking spaces or the other vehicles already parked, you would only need one vehicle width. If you have more than that, it’s ok too. This time, start with the rear bumper of your vehicle one parking space past your desired space. As you begin to move, begin steering immediately, cutting it close to the vehicle parked next to your space. Cutting it close will help to position your vehicle in the middle of your space. Attempting to go wide around that parked vehicle will cause your vehicle to also go wide and typically into the next parking space. Keep the wheels turned until you are almost straight and then quickly straighten them. Remember to always look ahead into the middle of the space while parking.
Parking Beside Parked Vehicle
Using parked vehicles to park beside in a parking lot is better than having empty spaces. The pavement markings become hidden as you begin parking but the parked vehicle next to your space makes it easier to see. And by the way, parking in a parking lot is the same technique for parking in a driveway. Same measurements and techniques.
Parking On a Hill
Parking on a hill seems to be a forgotten skill, until you’re on the road test. It’s actually a good skill to use, just in case your vehicle slips out of park and begins to roll down the hill. The difficult part for many people is remembering which way to turn your wheels. Try this instead of memorization. The purpose of turning the front wheels is to allow the front wheels to rest against the curb or to guide you toward the side of the road if there is no curb. You can do that, or just memorize that the only time you turn the wheels left is if you’re parked up a hill with a curb to your right. All other times you would turn the wheels to the right.
To begin the park, after you’ve safely pulled over to the curb, move the gear selector into neutral. Neutral will allow the vehicle to move with the help of gravity. Once the vehicle begins to move ever so slightly, turn the steering wheel all the way to the desired direction. Steering quickly will also allow your vehicle to remain as straight and parallel to the curb/edge of road as possible. Once you’ve turn the front wheels all the way, select park and put on the parking/emergency brake. That would be extra security in case the vehicle still tried to move. To leave the parked position, if the wheels are turned to the right, it would be a good idea to straighten the wheels while reversing. This will allow you to move away from the side of the road safely before proceeding ahead up the road. Going forward may cause you to drive up the curb.
The last and probably the most feared is the parallel park. Some may refer to it as the paranoid park, but it too can be easily done just by following a few key steps. The space you need to safely and smoothly park between two vehicles should be approximately one and a half car lengths. Begin one metre away from the lead vehicle, lining up the rear bumpers. Select reverse, check 360 degrees around the vehicle. Slowly begin backing up looking out the rear side passenger window. When the end of the parked vehicle can be seen in that side window, begin steering all the way to the right at about average speed. Once your vehicle has reached a 45 degree angle from the curb, steer all the way the opposite direction. Take a quick glance ahead to ensure the front of your vehicle is missing the rear bumper of the lead vehicle. Keep looking over your shoulder as you are now getting closer to the vehicle behind. Once your vehicle is very close to becoming parallel to the curb, straight the wheels while backing up. Stop once parallel and then pull forward to evenly space your vehicle in the space.
That’s it. Now you know how to park in a parking lot, a driveway, a hill, and between two vehicles. Following these steps until they become habit will make parking pretty easy.