How to Back Into a Parking Space
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Backing into a parking space is easier than it seems: you need to align your vehicle properly and keep an eye out for cars and pedestrians to make sure you don’t bump into anything.
Of course, there’s a bit more to it than that. Read on to find out all the intricacies of backing into a parking space.
With research showing that backing into a parking space reduces the chance of an accident compared to backing your vehicle out of a space to leave, it’s becoming more common for people in the United States to reverse into a space rather than pull forward.
You might feel nervous as your prepare to guide your car backwards in a lot or parking garage, but don’t worry. With practice, you’ll be doing it easily in all kind of parking lots.
Here’s a step-by-step guide on reverse parking into a parking space while avoiding scrapes and scratches to your car.
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How to back into a parking space
Find a parking space. The first thing you need to consider before reversing into a car parking space is finding an open spot that works for your car. You want to make sure there’s enough space on both sides for you to smoothly back your car in. If you can find a space with no cars parked on either side, it will be even easier.
Use your turn signal. When you find your parking space, turn on your blinker so other drivers around you know of your intentions. If possible, allow other cars to move past you so you have more room to position your car and you don’t feel pressured by waiting drivers. (This same principle applies to parallel parking.)
Drive slightly past the space. Once the area is clear, drive your car slightly past the parking space you want to reverse into. You want the rear of your car to be positioned just in front of the space.
Check your surroundings. Before shifting into reverse, check your surroundings to make sure it’s clear of pedestrians, animals, and other cars. Then check again. Use your rear view mirror, side mirrors, and even turn your head to look around. You want to check in front and back of you.
If you have a rear view camera, use that too, but be careful not to rely on it too much. You may miss a car coming at a blind spot.
Shift into reverse. With your foot on the brake, shift your car into reverse. As you maneuver your steering wheel to the right, slowly accelerate. Carefully move backwards, slowly straightening the steering wheel as you back in the parking space.
Once your car is positioned correctly, continue moving the car backwards. Continue to check the rear and side mirrors as you do so. Some cars also have backup cameras that will help guide you into the spot. Rear view cameras help many drivers back into a tight spot.
Position the car and park. As you reverse into the car parking space, position the car so it is far enough back so the front is not sticking out beyond the spot and blocking the way for moving traffic. At the same time, use caution to not back up too far, causing you to hit a car, wall, or curb behind you.
Once you have reached your desired position, shift the car into Park and set the parking brake if necessary.
Be prepared to realign. Once you have finished parking, you may realize you are too close to another vehicle. If this is the case and there is not enough room, start the car and slowly pull forward after checking both ways for oncoming traffic. You do not have to pull out the whole way.
Move just enough to allow you room to turn the wheel so you can reverse in the direction that will position you correctly. You will eventually be able to measure the distance you need to realign the car by instinct once you get the hang of parking in reverse.
Don’t let reversing into a car parking space intimidate you. Remember, one of the most important things about backing into a parking spot is to take your time. The last thing you want is to hit a nearby pedestrian or car, so always look around and use your mirrors and rear view cameras if you have them.
With practice and by following the steps provided, you should soon master the task of backing into a parking space.
MORE: How to park on a hill
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