17 Simple Hacks to Get Better at Parking

Parking can often feel like an art form requiring patience, accuracy, and skill. Whether you’ve just received your driver’s license or consider yourself an experienced motorist, there’s always room to refine your parking prowess. 

This guide, ’21 Simple Hacks to Get Better at Parking’, is designed to equip you with practical tips and techniques to transform parking into a simple, seamless process. 

So buckle up, and let’s dive into the world of efficient and stress-free parking!

1. Practice Makes Perfect: Spend Time in an Empty Parking Lot

Just like any other skill, mastering the art of parking takes practice. The first hack on our list is simple yet highly effective: spend time in an empty parking lot. This hack might seem rudimentary but don’t underestimate its power. 

An empty parking lot provides a safe and stress-free environment where you can focus solely on sharpening your parking abilities. 

Whether it’s parallel parking, angle parking, or perpendicular parking, the unobstructed space allows you to practice, make errors, and refine your techniques without worrying about traffic and other parked cars.

Also, it’s an excellent opportunity to familiarize yourself with your vehicle’s dimensions. Understanding the size of your vehicle can significantly enhance your spatial awareness, making it easier to judge distances and maneuver your car smoothly into parking spaces. 

Moreover, consistent practice boosts your confidence, which is vital to successful parking. You’re less likely to get flustered or make mistakes when you’re confident, even in challenging parking scenarios. 

So, don’t hesitate to take your car to an empty lot and practice your parking skills. Remember, in the world of parking, practice truly does make perfect!

2. Use Parking Apps: Harness the Power of Technology 

The second tip on our list leverages the power of technology: using parking apps. In today’s digital age, many mobile applications designed to make parking easier are just a few taps away. 

Parking apps play a vital role in streamlining the parking process. They use real-time data to inform users about available parking spots in a given area, eliminating the need to roam aimlessly in search of a parking place. 

Some apps even provide detailed maps and turn-by-turn directions to guide you straight to a vacant spot. This can save you both time and fuel. 

Furthermore, certain parking apps offer a reservation feature, allowing you to book a parking space ahead of time – a fantastic tool for ensuring a hassle-free experience in busy locations. 

Parking apps can also provide information about parking fees and restrictions in different areas, helping you avoid fines and towing. 

Lastly, these apps often include a feature that remembers where you’ve parked your car, saving you from the common and stressful experience of forgetting where you parked in a large and crowded parking lot. 

Overall, parking apps are an invaluable tool in the modern driver’s arsenal, designed to make parking a more manageable and less stressful experience. 

So, next time you’re heading out, consider downloading a parking app to make your parking experience smooth and straightforward. Remember, in the world of tech-savvy parking, there’s always an app for that!

3. Eliminate Blind Spots & Enhance Your View

The third tip we suggest is a simple yet often overlooked aspect of parking – properly adjusting your vehicle’s mirrors. 

This action is crucial as it helps to eliminate blind spots and provides a more comprehensive view of your surroundings when parking.

Firstly, the side mirrors. They should be positioned so that you can barely see the edge of your car when you’re sitting in your normal driving position. This can help in eliminating blind spots during parking and normal driving.

On the other hand, the rearview mirror should be set to give you a full view of your car’s back windshield. 

Remember, the rearview mirror is not for checking out what your backseat passengers are doing. 

Its primary function is to help you observe approaching vehicles and judge their distance and speed.

Proper mirror alignment aids in detecting the presence of other cars, pedestrians, or objects in your peripheral vision that may pose a threat during parking. 

Especially in busy parking lots or street parking scenarios, reduced blind spots can significantly decrease the risk of accidents or collisions.

Remember, adjusting your mirrors should be one of the first things you do before you start driving. 

You should also periodically check and adjust them as needed since they can easily get knocked out of position.

To sum up, properly adjusted mirrors provide a safer and more effortless parking experience. 

They are your best friends in parking and driving, serving as your eyes where your vision doesn’t reach. 

So, take the extra minute to adjust them properly. It could save you a lot of trouble in the long run.

4. Parking Sensors

Parking or proximity or collision sensors are a remarkable modern feature that aids drivers while parking. 

They provide an enhanced layer of safety by alerting you to potential obstacles. These sensors use sound waves or electromagnetic fields to ascertain the distance between your vehicle and any nearby objects. 

When your vehicle gets too close to an obstacle (be it another car, a wall, or pedestrians), the sensors send a signal to the internal system, which in turn produces a warning sound – often a beeping noise that increases in frequency as you get closer to the object. 

Some advanced systems also offer visual cues on the vehicle’s display screen to help the driver assess the situation better.

However, it’s important to note that while parking sensors significantly decrease the risk of collision, they should not entirely replace visual checks. 

Always ensure you’re checking your mirrors, looking over your shoulder, and utilizing your parking sensors. These devices are designed to assist your judgment, not replace it. 

In conclusion, parking sensors are an invaluable tool in modern vehicles, offering an additional safety measure to help navigate tight parking spaces and avoid potential accidents.

5. Backup Camera

The backup camera, also known as a rear-view or reversing camera, is another crucial tool modern cars use to enhance parking safety. 

This device offers a clear view of the area directly behind your car, which can be difficult to see through traditional methods like mirrors and looking over your shoulder.

The camera operates by sending a live feed to your vehicle’s display screen when the car is put in reverse, effectively eliminating blind spots and helping you spot any low-lying obstacles, children, pets, or other cars that might be behind your vehicle. 

This real-time visual guide is particularly useful when navigating tight spaces or reversing into a parking spot.

Just like parking sensors, backup cameras serve as an additional safety layer. They are not meant to replace the traditional checks but to supplement them. 

Even when using a backup camera, it’s critical also to use your mirrors and make over-the-shoulder checks to ensure a comprehensive understanding of the surroundings. 

In summary, properly using a backup camera can drastically improve parking safety and make reversing a vehicle considerably less stressful.

6. Parallel Parking Reference Points

Understanding and utilizing reference points while parallel parking can significantly increase your accuracy and reduce the risk of accidents. 

These reference points help you gauge your vehicle’s position relative to the curb and other vehicles, enabling a safe and precise parking maneuver.

The first reference point is the curb. When parallel parking, your aim should be to align your car as close as possible to the curb without touching it. A good rule of thumb is maintaining a distance of about six to eight inches from the curb. 

The second reference point is the car in front. When you begin your parallel parking maneuver, pull your car up next to the car you plan to park behind, leaving about two feet of space. 

As you back up, keep an eye on this car to avoid a collision and ensure you sufficiently clear the vehicle.

Lastly, your side mirrors serve as another vital reference point. Adjust your mirrors to see the curb and the car behind you while backing up. 

Your side mirrors and over-the-shoulder checks help ensure you aren’t coming too close to any obstacles, vehicles, or pedestrians.

Understanding and using these reference points while parallel parking can help you park safely and efficiently. 

Remember, practice is key to becoming comfortable with these reference points and perfecting your parallel parking skills.

7. Angle Parking

Angle parking, often seen in parking lots or wide, suburban streets, is another common parking form that drivers must master. 

The primary objective when angle parking is to align both your car’s front and rear tires parallel with the parking space lines.

To park your vehicle at an angle, approach the parking spot slowly and signal your intention to park. As you get closer, ensure you are at an appropriate angle, typically 45 degrees, unless signs indicate otherwise. 

Begin turning your steering wheel towards the parking spot when your car’s front bumper is beyond the parking space’s painted line. 

This is your key reference point for angle parking. The idea is to get your vehicle to glide into the spot smoothly, aligning your tires parallel with the lines of the parking spot.

Monitor your vehicle’s position by frequently checking your side and rear-view mirrors while carrying out this maneuver. 

Ensure your car isn’t too close to vehicles on either side and that there’s ample room in front and behind your car.

Once you’ve successfully parked, your vehicle should be an equal distance from the lines on either side, with both the front and rear tires parallel to those lines. 

This alignment ensures you’re within the boundaries of the parking space and reduces the risk of accidental damage to other vehicles when leaving the spot. 

Remember, as with parallel parking, practice is essential for perfecting your angle parking skills. 

Stay aware of your surroundings, use your vehicle’s reference points effectively, and maintain a slow speed during the maneuver.

Always remember to use your parking brake once parked for added safety. This is particularly crucial on slopes, where gravity could cause the car to roll.

8. Perpendicular Parking 

Perpendicular parking is a common method of parking used in parking lots and garages. This technique involves parking your vehicle parallel to the erected signage, typically at a 90-degree angle toward the curb. 

Using side mirrors becomes crucial in correctly aligning your car within the parking space in this method.

As you approach an available parking space, signal your intention to park. Slow down and align your vehicle with the parking space. 

Your vehicle’s side mirror can serve as an effective tool to gauge your proximity to the parking lines. 

When your vehicle is appropriately aligned, start turning your steering wheel towards the parking spot. 

As you carry out this maneuver, continuously check your side and rear-view mirrors. They provide crucial visual feedback, allowing you to see where the vehicle’s sides are in relation to the parking lines. 

Ensure your vehicle is not too close to the cars on either side to avoid damage. The reflections in the side mirrors will assist you in determining how evenly spaced your vehicle is relative to the parking lines on either side. 

Once the vehicle is satisfactorily within the boundaries of the parking space, straighten your steering wheel and move forward until your car is centrally positioned within the spot. 

Ensure the front and rear tires parallel the parking lines on either side. Confirm this positioning through your side mirrors. 

This alignment ensures that the vehicle fits well within the space, allowing room for you and the neighboring vehicles to open doors and move comfortably.

Like any parking maneuver, mastering perpendicular parking requires practice and patience. Always maintain a slow speed while maneuvering, stay observant of your surroundings, and use your mirrors effectively.

9. Utilize Valet Parking

Valet parking can be an excellent choice to sidestep the complexity of parking maneuvers, including perpendicular parking. 

Valet parking services are commonly found at restaurants, hotels, airports, and other locations where convenience is a premium. 

When you engage a valet service, a professional takes care of your vehicle, parking it securely in the establishment’s parking area. 

This saves you time as you bypass the need to find a suitable parking spot, the stress of navigating tight spaces and executing precise parking maneuvers. 

Moreover, valet parking can also provide your vehicle with an added layer of security. Valet-parked vehicles are often kept in secured lots or areas with surveillance, which can deter potential theft or vandalism. 

While valet parking might come with a fee, its convenience, time efficiency, and peace of mind make it a worthy consideration for many drivers. 

Remember, the goal is to ensure your vehicle’s safety and security; sometimes, entrusting it to a professional can be the best option. 

However, it’s important to remember that not all venues offer valet parking, and where available, it’s crucial to ensure the valets are trustworthy and the service reputable. 

Always collect your valet ticket and ensure you have all your valuables with you before handing over your car.

Remember, parking is not just about finding a spot – it’s about ensuring your vehicle’s safety, and sometimes, letting a professional handle it can be the best decision.

10. Angle Parking

Angle parking is another effective technique that can simplify the parking process and can often be found in parking lots or along certain city streets. 

Unlike parallel parking, which requires motorists to align their vehicle with the curb horizontally, angle parking is characterized by cars parked in diagonal lines. 

This method is seen by many as less complex due to the wider berth for maneuvering and aligning your vehicle.

To practice angle parking, locate an appropriately marked space and approach slowly. Begin your turn when your vehicle’s front bumper is beyond the parking space’s painted line. 

Keep a close eye on your mirrors and turn your steering wheel sharply towards the space. Straighten your wheels as your car becomes parallel with the painted lines. 

Adjust your position as needed, ensuring your vehicle is within the lines of the space and not obstructing any adjacent slots.

Angle parking provides an easier alternative for drivers who struggle with other forms of parking and maximizes the number of cars that can fit in a given lot. 

Like all driving techniques, mastering angle parking requires repeated practice, but it can become a seamless part of your driving routine over time.

11. Learn to Gauge Your Car’s Dimensions

Learning to gauge your car’s dimensions is crucial to successful parking, particularly regarding techniques like angle parking. 

Understanding the length, width, and height of your vehicle can greatly aid in estimating the amount of space you need to park safely and accurately. 

For instance, knowing the length of your car can guide you in determining if a parking space is sufficiently long to accommodate your vehicle without protruding into the traffic lane or adjacent parking spaces. 

Similarly, understanding the width of your car can help you judge if a parking spot is wide enough for your vehicle while leaving enough room for the doors to open. 

The height of your vehicle is also important, especially when using multi-story parking garages. It helps you avoid spots with low clearance that could potentially damage your vehicle. 

Apart from the basic dimensions, it’s also beneficial to know the turning radius of your car. This can make a notable difference when maneuvering into a tight parking spot, as vehicles with a smaller turning radius can make sharper turns. 

Remember, each car’s dimensions and turning capabilities are different. Thus, you must familiarize yourself with your specific vehicle’s specifications. You can often find specific dimensions in your vehicle’s manual or online. 

In conclusion, gauging your car’s dimensions is more than a mere recommendation. It’s an essential skill that can make parking safer, easier, and more efficient. 

Like all driving techniques, it requires practice but can become a natural part of your driving routine with time.

12. Use a Parking Aid Device

Consider using parking aids, such as convex mirrors or parking sticks, to facilitate more accurate parking. 

Parking aid devices can assist and increase your parking precision, particularly in tight spaces. 

Convex mirrors, for instance, give you a wider field of view than standard mirrors. They can give a fuller picture of what’s happening around your vehicle, reducing blind spots and making it easier to judge distances while reversing or parallel parking.

On the other hand, parking sticks, or parking sensors, are devices installed in the front and/or rear bumpers that detect obstacles around the vehicle. 

They use ultrasonic or electromagnetic technology to alert drivers about potential obstacles through visual, audio, or tactile signals. 

The sensor will increase the alarm frequency or intensity as the vehicle approaches an obstacle, allowing the driver to adjust accordingly.

Given the technology available today, there’s also the option of rear-view cameras, which provide a clear view of the area behind your car, making it considerably safer and easier to reverse or park. 

Though these aids are intended to assist, they don’t replace the need for careful driving and awareness of your surroundings. 

They should be used as supplementary tools to enhance your parking skills, not as a substitute for understanding your vehicle’s dimensions and maneuverability. 

So, whether you’re a seasoned driver or a novice, consider incorporating parking aids into your driving routine for a safer and more efficient parking experience.

13. Choose the Right Spot

Selecting the right parking spot is crucial to safe and efficient parking. When possible, opt for a parking space that provides ample room for your vehicle. 

This choice can significantly decrease the risk of accidental bumps or scrapes with other parked cars. 

A larger spot makes maneuvering your vehicle in and out easier, especially in busy parking lots where space is often at a premium. 

Moreover, if your vehicle is larger or has a wider turning radius, extra room is beneficial for making necessary adjustments while parking. It’s also helpful when opening car doors to avoid hitting neighboring vehicles. 

Another point to consider is the location of parking space. Spots further from entrances, though potentially requiring a longer walk, often have more available spaces and less traffic, making parking easier and less stressful. 

Remember, the right parking spot is not just about convenience but also contributes significantly to the safety and longevity of your vehicle and those around you.

14. Straighten Your Wheels

Straightening your wheels when parking on a slope is a critical safety measure that can prevent your car from rolling unexpectedly. 

When you park on an inclined surface, gravity pulls your vehicle downwards. If your wheels are not straight, your car could roll down the hill, causing potential accidents or damage.

On a downward slope, turn your wheels towards the curb or roadside. This way, if your car were to move, it would roll into the curb, halting further movement. 

Conversely, on an upward slope with a curb, you should turn your wheels away from the curb. In the unlikely event of your car moving, it would roll backward into the curb, stopping it from going any further. 

However, if you’re parked on an upward slope without a curb, turn your wheels towards the side of the road. 

This ensures that if your car rolls backward, it moves away from the center of the road, reducing the risk of passing traffic. 

By straightening your wheels and using the curb effectively, you can add an additional layer of safety when parking on slopes, protecting your vehicle and the vehicles and pedestrians around you.

15. Practice Hill Parking

Living in a hilly area adds an extra layer of complexity to parking. Therefore, practicing hill parking regularly is crucial to gain confidence and ensure safety. 

When parking uphill or downhill, the key is to use the natural position of your wheels to prevent your car from rolling.

First, find a quiet, low-traffic hill where you can practice without stress. Begin by parking your car parallel to the curb, using the same strategies as flat terrain parking but with the added consideration of gravity. 

As mentioned, the importance of straightening your wheels is particularly poignant here. 

On a downward slope, you should turn your wheels towards the curb. If your car were to move, it would roll into the curb and stop. 

Conversely, if you’re parking on an upward slope with a curb, turn your wheels away from the curb. If your car moves, it will roll backward into the curb, preventing further motion. 

If there’s no curb and you’re parked uphill, turn the wheels towards the roadside. This way, your car would roll away from the center of the road if it moves, minimizing the risk of passing traffic. 

Always use your parking brake when parking on a slope, even if you think it’s unnecessary. 

The parking brake provides a secondary line of defense against any unwanted movement of your vehicle. 

Practicing hill parking will boost your confidence and ensure your vehicle’s and others’ safety. It’s a valuable skill that all drivers should master, especially those in hilly areas.

16. Follow the Lines

Following the lines while parking is an essential practice that ensures your vehicle is correctly positioned within the parking space, and it serves a dual purpose of safety and courtesy. 

Parking lines are designed with specific measurements to accommodate the average size of vehicles, providing ample space for maneuvering and access. 

When you center your vehicle within these lines, you reduce the risk of damaging your vehicle or others’ when opening doors or pulling in and out of the space. 

Additionally, centered parking ensures that spaces on either side remain accessible for other drivers. 

This practice is especially important in crowded parking lots where space is at a premium. By paying close attention to the parking lines and aligning your vehicle within them, you contribute to a smoother and safer parking environment for all.

17. Learn Parking Laws

Understanding local parking laws and regulations is important for responsible vehicle ownership. 

Every region, city, or even specific neighborhood may have its own parking rules, defined by various factors such as traffic flow, road width, proximity to essential facilities, and others. 

These laws may regulate aspects such as the duration of parking, permitted and prohibited zones, parking meter usage, special permits, and more. 

For instance, many cities enforce alternate-side parking, which restricts parking to one side of the street on certain days for street cleaning. 

Similarly, some areas might have restricted zones for residential parking, requiring a special permit.

Ignoring these laws can lead to inconvenient and costly consequences such as fines, towing, or even impounding of the vehicle. 

Therefore, it’s crucial to familiarize yourself with these rules, usually available on local government or city council websites. 

By being aware and respectful of parking laws, you avoid undesired penalties and maintain order and efficiency on the roads, enhancing safety and accessibility for all road users.

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