We use car parks and parking spaces every day of our lives with barely a second thought, but did you know that we have around 500,000 parking prangs every year in this country alone, which means that learning to park safely could prevent you from becoming another statistic.
This week we’ll give you our top tips for safe parking based on our years of experience and observations on seeing millions of cars park at Trafalgar Street.
The number one cause of accidents in car parks is reversing out of the bay into oncoming traffic. Because of the nature of most car parks, visibility is often at its worst when reversing out – this is especially true if you happen to be parked next to a larger vehicle, like a people carrier or 4×4. It may feel like a more challenging move, but learning to reverse into your parking space is much safer because you know nothing is moving behind you.
For people with less finely tuned spatial awareness, it’s worth spending some time practicing your reverse parking in a quiet car park away from other drivers. This is time well spent, and as long as you take your time and concentrate on staying within the lines, you’ll soon be a master of the art. Try a local supermarket car park on a Sunday afternoon, after the shop has closed and everyone has gone home.
The parking manoeuvre with the best combination of ease and safety is definitely the drive through. This is where you simply drive bonnet first into a clear space and pull straight through to the opposite bay so that your car is in exactly the same position it would be with a reverse park. As long as you’re aware that your turning arch is wider when parking this way you’ll be okay. And of course, go slowly, just in case someone’s planning on driving in from the other side!
Making it all easier
When we’re nervous about doing something, we tend to rush or forget to observe our surroundings. Don’t worry about holding other drivers up while you park; take your time and keep your eyes open for obstacles. It’s perfectly legal to undo your seatbelt while reverse parking and many people find this helps them to feel less restricted and flustered. A hand on the back of the passenger seat can also help you to shift into a position that will make your observations easier.
Knowing when to stop is always a good skill to have when reverse parking! As a rule of thumb, you should aim to stop when you cannot see the headlights of the car behind you. Of course, you’ll have to practice this to be sure, but as long as you are going very slowly indeed any mishap will be very unlikely to result in damage – after all, that’s what bumpers are for!
Now that you’ve read our tips for safe parking, you’ll soon be an expert! We hope to see you down at Trafalgar Street car park in Leeds soon!