Have you ever had trouble backing a vehicle out of a parking spot in a busy shopping center? Here are some safety tips to make the process easier.
Backing a vehicle
- Before entering the vehicle, check to make sure the path to the rear and sides is clear. Children and objects are often difficult to see from the driver’s seat.
- Keep your foot firmly on the brake pedal while shifting to reverse.
- Maintain control by backing the vehicle slowly and being prepared to stop quickly. Your vehicle is much harder to control and stop when backing.
- Check traffic conditions in all directions – and check all blind areas carefully.
- Look in the direction you are moving but never concentrate on any one thing to such a degree that you neglect your surroundings.
- Since you cannot see objects close to the rear or sides when looking out the window, use front and rear windows and inside and outside mirrors when backing a vehicle. Also, check to the front to determine whether the front of the vehicle is tracking in the direction you want it to go.
- When backing, the rear of the vehicle turns in the direction you turn the steering wheel. If you become confused or disoriented while backing, stop and begin again.
Parking a vehicle
Although many drivers find it challenging to park in marked parking spaces, it is not difficult once you are able to judge the space available and have a good understanding and control of steering and speed.
The most common types of parking are curb, angled, perpendicular and parallel.
To park a vehicle the correct distance from a curb on the right, project a sight line over your hood, right down the middle. When you match that point of your hood with the road edge, your vehicle will be approximately six inches from the curb on the right.
To park a vehicle the correct distance from a curb on the left, project a sight line over your hood, extending over the left front corner of the vehicle. When you match that point of your hood with the road edge, your vehicle is approximately six inches from the curb on the left.
To help determine how far forward to pull into a perpendicular parking space, use a reference point. Know where the front of your vehicle is by projecting a sight line just under the driver or passenger side-view mirror ahead to the ground. The front of your vehicle will be at that point. Always leave enough room between your vehicle and any vehicle parked directly in front of you. This technique can also be useful when approaching intersections where you must stop.
Think of parallel parking as nothing more than a lane change in reverse. As you manage your steering and speed, be aware of two areas of your vehicle to aid in using reference points – the center of your vehicle and the rear edge of your vehicle. You will also need to confirm that your intended parallel parking space is at least one and a half times as long as your vehicle .