I struggle to park. How can I get better?

Discussion in 'Fred's House of Pancakes' started by Higgins909, Apr 6, 2019.

  1. Higgins909

    Higgins909 Junior Member

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    Gen 3 2010. I don't know how to really explain this well, but I'm not very good at parking and un-parking... I guess I don't really have much depth perception when parking. It also doesn't help that I can't see much with the mirrors. (F150 that I test drove had some pretty good mirrors and they wern't even tow mirrors)

    At work I pull in the driveway and there are parking spots to the left. I will either park on the right side of a vehicle that is already parked or do the same but inbetween vehicles. When parking inbetween I always try to swing it as wide as possible but usually end up swinging too much and end up "getting close" to the vehicle on the right and have to reverse a bit and then pull back in. When backing out I find it hard to know when I can hook it and then it's how close am I to the vehicle behind me. At some point last year I discovered I can turn towards the vehicle to my left at the start of backing out and ride close to it and it angles the rear in a way that makes it easier to hook it.

    Recently there was some construction and a vehicle partially blocked me in. (Back right) Looking at it I thought I should be able to make it without much hassle. Ended up having to pull back in, get really close to the vehicle parked on my left and tried it again, trying to make the front go right, in this case, at the start and only hooked it a little and then drove backwards into the other parking spots and pulled forward left, and left work. It was very close feeling. Having to check all the mirrors/spots to realize one spot got closer unexpectedly... My mirror on the right said I had right about 1 foot but looking backwards I was sure I was going to hit.

    I remember my co-worker was walking into work and saw me parking between 2 vehicles and said I needed to learn to park and I had a foot infront of me, which could have essentially saved me from having to back up and retry. It would seem that when I think I'm inches away, I actually have a foot, from my front bumper anyways. Side and rear, I'm not sure.

    For a quite a while now I've been wanting a different vehicle, which would probably be bigger, but more importantly have 12 way power seats... If I can't park this little thing that well, a Tahoe or Pickup is out of question. But I really like seeing 40mpg on my cluster and working to get it up... It's like a game while driving, makes it more entertaining.

    Thanks,
    Higgins909
     
  2. jzchen

    jzchen Senior Member

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    If I’m having trouble gauging I will get out of the car and look at the situation. Usually very helpful in adjusting to a different vehicle I may be driving. So stop, get out, look at what you have, then when you get back in observe what you see and try to remember what you see means that.....
     
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  3. orenji

    orenji Senior Member

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    Practice practice makes perfect
     
  4. fuzzy1

    fuzzy1 Senior Member

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    50 years of practice (I was operating farm equipment long before driver's license age) makes a lot of difference. But while building up that practice, don't be the least bit afraid to stop, get out, walk around and look. If needed, even more than once.

    Though that farm equipment did have the advantage of lower speed, far better visibility to all the sides and corners (i.e. not enclosed), greater maneuverability (shorter turn radius), and it didn't matter if I scraped the sides slightly, there was nothing for anyone to notice. Though it didn't happen the first few times, it didn't take long until I could back into a space with less than an inch of clearance combined between the two sides, and not scrape on either side.

    I'm still not that good with enclosed cars where the edges and corners are invisible. But it helps me to mentally visualize and plot the rear wheel track while turning the front wheels. Other people's brains are organized differently, there are probably several common mental schemes to use, maybe others chime in with theirs. Hopefully one or more will fit your own mental processes.
     
    #4 fuzzy1, Apr 7, 2019
    Last edited: Apr 7, 2019
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  5. Stevewoods

    Stevewoods Senior Member

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    I was told by an employer that I would have to ocassionally drive one of the companies VERY large trucks, as I made the unfortunate admission that I could drive manual trannies.

    Took me out in a large parking lot and set up cones. I practiced until I could back into a spot with the rig in my sleep.

    You probably don't want to invest in cones, but a large safe area, a few large cardboard boxes.....as Orenji said.....funny thing is, that session improved all my backing efforts -- passenger cars and all.
     
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  6. Prius Maximus

    Prius Maximus Senior Member

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    Practice makes perfect is right. Find an empty parking lot. Like any mall these days. Then find a light post. If here's a wall you can use, that's better. pull up to it. as close as you think you can. Then get out and look. You still have 3 feet! get closer. Get out and look again. When you get within a foot, sit in the car and memorize the view. Etch it in your mind. Picture a car instead of the pole. When it's ingrained enough, turn around and back up to it. Do the same procedure.

    Next, do the front driver fender. Get your side mirror as close to the pole as you can, back straight up a bit so the pole is just off your front bumper. Picture a car, a dump truck, a school bus, whatever. Learn where that corner of your car is. Now do the right front. Then the two back corners. When you have those clearances etched in your brain, practice parking in a spot next to another car. maybe grab some traffic cones and set up an obstacle course to practice?

    That is how I learn every new car. Every car is different, and they all have a learning curve. It's not like the old days when cars were squared off and you could see the front edge and corners of your own car (remember fins? those were easy!), they're all rounded now, and you need to know where they are when you can't see them.

    I also used to use empty lots to practice driving in snow. Find a big open area and slam on the brakes to see how easy it is to slide. Do it until you can feather it without sliding. Learn how to steer in a skid etc. Of course these days we have anti-lock brakes and skid control, but it still doesn't hurt to get a feel for the brake pedal in a skid situation.
     
  7. 2k1Toaster

    2k1Toaster Brand New Prius Batteries

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    Look up some videos on "Bay Parking" which is what you're trying to do (as opposed to parallel parking for example). Some people just aren't spacial and it will take lots of practice.

    I do caution about practicing it over and over until you can do it in your sleep. Because if you're practicing just the same maneuver over and over and then you swap cars (rental, new car, etc) you could just hit the other cars with your car since it's different. You do need to practice but try to be aware of what's happening.
     
  8. Mendel Leisk

    Mendel Leisk Sidewalk Supervisor

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    @Higgins909 do you have a level with 17" rims? They have a wider turning radius.

    That's us, and in a typical dimensioned parking lot, try as I might I cannot end up square in a spot.

    I struggle with parallel parking too, sometimes ok, other times...
     
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