As much as you try, sometimes you have no choice but to park in a small parking space. You’ve driven around the parking lot a couple of times, but the only open spot is tightly placed between a car and a curb.
Tips for Parking in Tight Spots
While it may be a challenge, it is not an impossible task. This step-by-step guide can help you safely maneuver your vehicle into a tight space.
1. Determine if Your Car Can Fit in the Available Parking Space
Once you’ve decided this is the only available parking space, visually measure it to determine if your car can fit in it, particularly if you have a larger vehicle. Compare the size of your car to the open spot, allowing for ample space on either side to open your doors to get out. Keep in mind that the cars next to you will have to be able to open their doors to get in when leaving. You don’t want to accidentally dent the car next to you and you certainly don’t want them to hit your car or mirrors when they try to get into their parking spot.
2. Indicate You Want the Open Space
If you’ve decided that this is the parking space for you want, let other drivers know by switching on your turn signal. This will allow cars around you to slow down or get out of the way. It will also warn pedestrians of your intentions so they do not walk in front of you.
3. Slowly Turn into the Parking Spot
After you look around and determine the area is clear, slowly accelerate while turning into the space. Since it is a small area, you will need to start turning the steering wheel as soon as you can without hitting anything nearby. You should slowly inch into the space, adjusting your steering wheel to position the car correctly. Use reference points to be sure you’re staying on target.
4. Pull in, Reposition Your Vehicle if Needed, and Park
Continue to look around for pedestrians and cars as you pull into the spot. When you think you are set, look around and make sure your car is straight and there is enough space on your sides. You may very well need to reposition your car, especially since you’re trying to maneuver in a small space.
Don’t be surprised if you have to back up, adjust your steering wheel, and then pull forward again. You may have to do this several times. Just make sure to use caution and continue to be aware of your surroundings. If you’re backing into a tight parking space, backup cameras can come in handy as well for both expert and novice drivers. Once you’re satisfied with where your car is positioned, put it in park, turn off the ignition and set the parking brake if necessary.
Learning how to park safely in a small space is easy as long as you have the patience and diligence it requires. You have to be aware of your surroundings at all times, because more often than not, you will have to maneuver and reposition the car more than once to get it parked correctly. Calculate your movements ahead of time and take your time. If all else fails, forget about the parking space and find another. Sometimes, you aren’t destined to have the spot you want.