Updated: 6th February 2023
Most new drivers will have some reservations about parking for the first time. It can be a challenging procedure. But the approach you take will vary, depending on the type of car you are driving.
As long as you know what type of vehicle you need to park, you’ll be able to learn the right procedure to follow. Keep reading to learn how to park any car.
How to Park a Big Car
The most common scenario you will face is driving a larger car. This can be anything from an SUV to a Ute. These steps should help you to get into the spot without any problems:
- Pick the right spot. The first thing that you need to do is find the right parking space. You will need to be a little more selective when you are doing this. Make sure that you will have enough space to make the turn.
- Slow down. You’ll want to reduce your speed as you approach the spot. This will ensure that you are in control of your car.
- Put on your indicators. This tells the other drivers what you are doing, stopping an accident.
- Turn the wheel. The spot that you are trying to pull into will determine how sharply you need to turn the wheel. For example, if you are in a perpendicular park, you will be able to get away with a smaller rotation. If you are trying to get into a parking bay, you might need to turn sharply, locking the wheel. This is where it’s important to know the turning circle of your car, so you’ll be able to plan your turn properly.
- Stop and back up. Sometimes, you will be trying to get into a tight space. In this case, you might not be able to make the turn on your first try. If the angle isn’t working, stop the car and reverse back. This is an opportunity to get a better angle
- Straighten up the wheel. Once you have got the hood of your car into the spot, you will need to straighten up your wheel.
- Use the other cars to gauge your position. It can often be harder to judge how far you will need to pull into the bay in a bigger car. Sometimes, you will have parking sensors to help you with this. If not, you will need to look at landmarks, like the surrounding cars and the line markings in front of you.
- Make the car safe. In a manual, you will need to make sure that you put it into neutral and apply the handbrake. In an automatic, you will need to put it into the park and apply the handbrake.
Sometimes, when you are driving a bigger car it can be a good idea to inspect it before you leave it. You might need to drive forward a little to stop the rear from sticking out.
How to Park a Van or Camper Vans
Vans or campers will add a new layer of complexity. Not only are they wide vehicles, but they also tend to be very long. As a result, they can cause a few problems when it comes time to park them.
First, you will need to find a suitable car space. This can be a difficult task, particularly if you are planning on parking in a busy area. They will be able to fit in a regular car park bay. You might just need to park a little further away from the entrance. This will be less crowded, which will give you the space you need to turn into the space. You’ll also need to follow this series of steps:
- Move slowly. The more slowly you move, the more control you will have over the vehicle. This is especially important when you have a bigger car.
- Put on your indicator.
- Make the turn. Remember to make sure that you are driving a bigger, longer vehicle. Because of this, you will often need to have a larger space to make the turn and get into the bay.
- Use a three-point turn, if required. Sometimes, you will be facing a tighter turn. If this is the case, you will need to make a three-point turn. In this case, aim to get the front of the car into the space. Then, you’ll need to reverse back. As you are doing this, try to make the front of your car straighter. This should allow you to drive forwards into the bay.
- Slowly move into the spot. Now you should be able to move smoothly into the spot. You can use your sensors to tell you when to stop. Or you can rely on the cars next to you, trying to line up with them. Once you are in, inspect the rear of the vehicle, so you know that you aren’t sticking out.
- Put the car into neutral or park and apply the handbrake.
How to Park a Caravan
Owning a caravan can be a great way to explore the great outdoors. However, many people are concerned about how difficult it will be to park properly. This can be a challenge, as it is attached to the tow bar, which means that it can swing.
If you are trying to forward park, you’ll need to give yourself plenty of space. This will ensure that the caravan can move into the bay. Then, ease forward, like you are parking your car normally. You’ll want to straighten up. This should bring the caravan into line. You will need two bays to fit both car and caravan.
The bigger problem comes, though, when you are trying to reverse, especially if you are trying to get into a bay at the caravan park. The good news is that this doesn’t need to be a difficult process, just follow these steps:
- Park your car on the opposite side of the road to the bay. Make sure to overshoot the bay. How far back you are will depend on the size of the caravan. For example, the middle of a smaller caravan should line up with the edge of the bay. If you have a bigger caravan, it will take more time to get it to swing into place. So you might need to line up the back of the caravan with the edge of the bay.
- Inspect the bay. If you are at a caravan park, there could be some obstacles that you can’t see from your car. For example, there might be low-lying taps.
- Reverse slowly. The slower you move, the less chance you have of oversteering and missing your intended parking space.
- Remember to steer the opposite. When you are reversing a caravan, like when reversing a car, you need to steer in the opposite. For example, if you want to go right, you will need to steer to the left. The size of the caravan will determine how long it will take to swing into the spot. Also, you’ll need to think about what angle you are pushing at. As you drive it, you will get used to the way it moves. While seeing it enter the space, you will need to make sure that you are looking at the corners of the caravan. They will be the first to move and will give you a good idea of how much it is swinging.
- Straighten up. Once the back of the caravan is in space, it’s time to start straightening up.
- Keep going back. You might need to continue moving back until you get into the space. When doing this, it can be ideal to have a partner to tell you when you to stop. If not, you will need to stop, get out and inspect the caravan to see how much further back you need to go.
- Chock up the caravan. Unlike a car, a caravan doesn’t have a parking brake. Instead, you will need to place some chocks under the wheels. This ensures that it won’t roll away.
How to Park an RV or Motorhome
An RV or motorhome is a great way to see more of the world. The downside, though, is that these vehicles can be very large and bulky. This can make driving and parking them a challenge. Adding to the difficulty is the fact these vehicles tend to have big blind spots. So, you’ll want to make sure that there aren’t any hazards in the area before you start parking your vehicle. When you are ready, here are some of the steps that you will need to follow:
- Give yourself plenty of space. Like all bigger vehicles, you’ll want to give yourself plenty of space before you start to park. This will ensure that you can manoeuvre properly.
- Investigate the site. When you arrive, you’ll want to get out and investigate where you want to park. Many caravan park sites will have some hazards which you should be aware of. For example, there might be wooden tables. You need to know where they are, to make sure that you don’t scrape the RV against them.
- Check where the connections are. If you are heading into a caravan park, there will be connections on the side of the motorhome. This will decide the way that you will need to park the RV.
- Move the RV forward. When you are ready to park, you’ll need to get the right starting position. You want to be in front of the space. How far forward will depend on the size of your RV. For example, if you have a big motorhome, you might want to position the end of your vehicle in line with the start of the bay. This will give you enough space to move it into place. Over time, you will get to learn the way that the motorhome drives, deciding how much space you require.
- Slowly back up, turning the wheel. As you are reversing into the spot, it can help to have a person to guide you in. They will be able to tell you when to stop.
- Stop and apply the handbrake. If you are in the caravan park, there are a few extra steps that you will need to take. This will include levelling it. You might have an RV that can do this by itself. If not, you’ll need to use levelling blocks.
How to Park in a Pickup Truck
A pickup truck can be a very large vehicle. This can make it a bit difficult to steer and get into the right position. The good news is that parking in these cars often won’t be as difficult as it seems. Here is how you will be able to get this car into a parking bay:
- Drive forward until your front mirror is parallel with the parking bay line.
- Turn the wheel hard, bringing the car into the bay. You’ll need to move slowly and turn the wheel quickly. You want to achieve a full lock.
- Once the hood is past the middle of the bay, straighten the wheel.
- Put the car in park or neutral and apply the handbrake.
How to Park a Tesla
Teslas have earned a reputation for being luxury vehicles that are delightful to drive. Plus, they are environmentally friendly, running on electricity. There are two ways you can park a Tesla. You can either do it manually or allow the onboard computer to park it for you. Let’s look at both of these scenarios.
How to Park a Tesla Manually
Parking a Tesla manually is no different from parking any other vehicle. The same tenets will apply. Move slowly as you are heading into the space. When your mirror is on the edge of the parking bay line, turn your wheel hard. This will let you pull into the space, then you can straighten up and slow to a stop.
How to Enable Auto Park in a Tesla
Tesla can incorporate lots of cool technology into their cars. Part of this is the ability to auto-park. The car will use sensors to do this with the touch of a button. Currently, though, you’ll need to choose the park carefully. You’ll need to get a space that is in between two cars. This ensures that the Tesla sensors will be able to detect it. It also tends to be better when parking near a curb. To auto-park, you’ll need to follow these steps:
- Drive slowly. You will need to give the sensors plenty of time to detect the space. It might take a few tries before you get something that will be appropriate.
- Wait until you see a grey P. This will either appear on the dash display or the tablet display in the centre console.
- Follow the instructions in the centre console.
- Press start. If needed, you can press the brake and the car will stop what it’s doing. It’s important to monitor what it’s doing; in case it makes a mistake.
- The car will let you know when it’s safe and you can put it in the park position. As it is relying on the sensors, you’ll need to double-check that it has parked within the lines.
Parking a car can be a daunting experience, particularly if you are driving it for the first time. Thankfully, the process of parking isn’t as scary as it appears. As long as you are following the right tips, you won’t have anything to be worried about. Plus, the more often you practice, the easier it will become.