Tips For Those Who Are Terrible At Parking… But Will Never Admit It

Driving is about freedom. It’s about taking yourself and your family out on the open road and living your life to the fullest. That’s not just a stretch of tarmac in front of you, it’s opportunity, it’s your passport to adventure and excitement. Think back to just about any car ad you’ve ever seen. They all feature pristine, gleaming vehicles tearing down the open road, taking gargantuan hills and valleys and glaciers in their stride. You know what car ads never, ever, ever show?


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Even seasoned drivers hate parking, especially in those awkward spots where the traffic’s against you and every microsecond you spend with your vehicle’s nose abutting on the thoroughfare feels like an hour due to the mounting sense of pressure and general malaise of embarrassment. Or those multi storey parking lots with tiny spaces and very little room for maneuver not to mention bends that belong on a formula one circuit. At best parking can be a stressful and embarrassing ordeal, at worst it can lead to damage to your car. Fortunately, the motor industry has responded with a range of affordable solutions from parking sensors to backup cameras available at As helpful as these gadgets are, however, they’re no match for solid technique. Here are some tips for those of us who (despite having been driving for years) never quite got comfortable with the awkward and cumbersome process of parking….

Choose your spot wisely

This may be easier said than done, especially when you’re in a busy mall or multi storey parking lot, but finding the right bay can really take the sting out of getting into (and out of) your parking space. Don’t let other drivers pressure you into commiting to a poor parking space. Avoid parking next to cars which are on an angle as the driver stands a greater chance of bumping you as they leave the space. You should also avoid parking on end bays as these are close to other drivers who will often be making sharp turns.Don’t be afraid to pull out and start from  scratch if you’re not happy with your angle of approach.

Show your “S”

Mastering the “S” method of parallel parking is the key to years of untroubled parking. Ideally you should look for a space 6 feet longer than your car. Pull up approximately 3 feet away from the car you want to park behind, making sure that your rear tyres are aligned with the other car’s rear bumper. Switch into reverse and steer your full lock towards the curb. Ease back slowly until you’re at a 45 degree angle then stop. Turn your wheels all the way in the opposite direction and back up slowly until you’re parallel with the curb. You should have less than 12 inches between your vehicle and the curb. Remember to leave yourself plenty of room for maneuver when you need to exit.

Parking on a hill

Parking on a hill can be stressful as you have gravity working against you alongside the other stresses that can afflict you while driving. As much as you may want to get the ordeal over with its important to keep your safety in mind when parking. Occasionally hand brakes / emergency brakes are not adequately applied and the vehicle can roll back. Be sure to fully apply your parking brake and twist your wheels to the left if parking uphill and to the right if parking downhill.


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