Parking tips from Meashams Self Drive

It take a while to get used to the way an unfamiliar vehicle feels, so we thought we’d share a few parking tips you can keep in mind while you get comfortable with your hire. 

Our top parking tips 

1.    Find a spot with lots of room 

When you’re getting familiar with a new car, van or minibus, you might make a few mistakes. So, having plenty of space around you is a good thing. Look out for a space that’s not clustered by too many other vehicles, even if it means you have to walk a little bit further. 

2.    Allow yourself time 

Parking can be stressful, so you don’t want to add a time pressure on top. Give yourself plenty of time to park, and don’t be afraid to start over if things don’t go to plan on the first try.

3.    Use your mirrors 

Always use your mirrors when you’re parking. You need to be able to see everything that’s going on around you to make sure there are no surprises on the road or unexpected bumps to nearby vehicles

cars in a car park following parking tips

Bay parking tips 

We’ve got plenty of bay parking tips to help make it easy for you to slot into your chosen space. 

1.    Signal 

Let other road users know you’ve claimed that spot and are about to manoeuvre by using your indicators. They’ll then give you the space and time you need to pull in. 

2.    Spot the centre of the space 

Drive forward until you can see the centre of the space. Once you’ve got that in your sights, it’s time to turn. 

3.    Sharp turn, slow movement

Turn the wheel sharply and edge forward. You’ll likely need to turn the wheel halfway around to be able to get into the space, but use your judgement as to the gradient of the turn. Go slowly as you pull in to give you time to check you’re not going to bump into anything.

4.    Straighten your wheels 

Once you’re in the spot, take the time to straighten you wheel by turning the wheel. Doing so will make it a lot easier when it’s time to leave. Try not to turn while you’re stationary as it can damage your tyres. Move very slowly so you can make adjustments as you go.

cars using parking tips to parallel park

Parallel parking tips 

The learner’s nightmare! Don’t worry; our parallel parking tips will help you get into that space no problem. 

1.    Indicate and check your mirrors

Let other road users know you’re about to make a move and make sure you know what’s going on around you at all times. If another vehicle is close behind, roll your window down and signal for them to go around if it is safe to do so. Don’t move your vehicle until they are clear.

2.    Line up

Line up your vehicle with the one parked in front of the space you want. Keep a 2 foot distance between your vehicle and the one that’s already parked. Line up so the back of your vehicle is in line with yours.

3.    Slowly pull back 

Check your mirrors and blind spots before you move and slowly start to reverse. Back up in a straight line until the rear of your vehicle is around 3 to 4 feet behind your guiding car.

4.    Start to turn 

You’ll need a big turning motion to get the car into the space. Turn the wheel and start to move, keeping an eye on your surroundings at all times. When your front wheels are in line with the back of the car in front, turn your wheel in the opposite direction to straighten up. 

If you hit the curb on your first turn, it was too sharp. Pull forward and line up again for a second attempt. 

van and cars using parking tips to park on a residential street

Minibus and van parking tips

Minibuses and van parking can be tricky, especially if you’re not used to driving one. The rules of parking are the same, but you’ll need to accommodate for the larger size. 

Always use your mirrors to make sure you can see what’s happening around you and to make sure you’re not in danger of bumping into anything. If you need a little help, grab a friend to stand outside the vehicle to help cover any blind spots. 

Go much slower than you would in a car. Give yourself plenty of time to look, think and move as you park the van. Allow time and space to be able to manoeuvre the large vehicle. You’ll also need to break early, as the weightier vehicle will take more time to come to a stop.

As you pull into a space, you need to be aware of the larger turning circle. This means you might have to stop mid-turn to back up a bit to give you extra room to turn. Start your turn as far away from the space as possible to allow you room to move. 

Take a look at more tips for the first time van driver.

Keep these parking tips in mind and you’ll be a pro in no time! 

Need a vehicle for your next trip? Hire it through Meashams, we make it simple, and offer the lowest prices. 

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