Sports utility vehicles, SUVs, are difficult to maneuver in small spaces, such as parking lots. To make matters worse, sometimes the parking spaces are not large enough for a vehicle of this size. Parking one requires caution, precision, and patience - you must observe your surroundings, place the SUV in the correct position, and always move slowly.
Method 1 of 3: reverse parking
Step 1. Find a free space and place your car two or three spaces away from it
Backing up parking is the safest way to do it. This way you can assess the parking space as you pass by. You can also see if there are any obstacles or if the other vehicles are too close to the line. Finally, when you must exit, you can simply move forward instead of having to go back.
- When looking for a clear space, the SUV should be 2- to 2.5-m (7-8 feet) away from other parked cars.
- When you find a space, turn on your flashers so other drivers know that you plan to park there.
- Check the space well as you pass by. If you see that the vehicle fits in the space, drive 2 or 3 spaces ahead. SUVs can be of different sizes. So check well the distance between your car and the parked cars and settle back if necessary.
Step 2. Check your surroundings for pedestrians or other vehicles
Before parking, check that there is nothing around. Use the mirrors and windows to see if there is anything near the vehicle. Wait for nearby pedestrians, bicyclists, and cars to pass. If there is a car behind you, make sure it is safe to back up. If the other driver isn't paying attention, you better find another space.
Step 3. Put the car in reverse and begin backing slowly as you turn the wheel
Once the space is free, prepare to enter. Put the SUV in reverse. Turn in your seat to look through the rear window and check the mirrors.
- If you have nothing close to you, start backing slowly while turning the wheel in the direction of space. If it's on the right, turn the rudder all the way to the right; and if it's to the left, turn it to the left.
- As you back up, you will notice that the parking lines appear on the side mirrors. Use them as guides. The closest line will be line A and the furthest line will be line B. Look at the mirror closest to space constantly until you start to see line A. As you turn, you will start to see line B in the other mirror.
- Keep checking your mirrors so you can keep an eye on the distance of each line. The idea is to stay at the same distance from both.
- The slower the maneuver, the easier the process will be.
Step 4. Straighten the rudder and finish entering the space
When lines A and B are parallel on your side mirrors, stop for a moment. Straighten the rudder by turning it one and a half turns. Once the tires are straight, back into the parking lot until the rear bumper is close to the concrete barrier or the car behind. Put the vehicle in park mode, get out and close the doors.
Step 5. Straighten the SUV if necessary
If at the end you are very close to another car, correct the orientation before leaving. Leaving the vehicle very close to another could cause damage or bumps.
- Adjust the shift lever from reverse to forward.
- Look both ways for pedestrians or other cars. Once the path is clear, move away from the object you are very attached to.
- Keep going until the car is straight. Turn the tiller until the tires are straight.
- Set the gearshift lever in reverse.
- Use the rear view mirror to back up.
- Put the SUV in parked mode, get out of the vehicle and lock it.
Method 2 of 3: Parking straight ahead
Step 1. Find a clear space and position the SUV to enter head-on
When looking for an empty space, keep your car 7 to 8 feet (2.5 m) away from other parked vehicles. When you find a space big enough for the SUV, slow down and turn on your flashers so that others know you are going to park. When the side mirrors reach the middle of the space where you want to park, come to a full brake.
If there is a car parked in the space to the side, try to align the side mirrors with the center of its license plate
Step 2. Turn the wheel and slowly enter space
Quickly turn the wheel two and a half times in the direction you want to enter. If the space is on the right, turn the rudder to the right; and if it's on the left, turn left. Once there is nothing around, start moving forward. When the mirror reaches the level of the parked car's mirrors, brake.
Step 3. Straighten the wheel and put the car in park mode
To straighten the rudder, turn it one and a half times to the opposite side. If you turned it left to park, you will have to turn it one and a half times to the right; and if it was to the right, you will have to turn it in the other direction. Put the car in park mode, get out of the vehicle and lock the car.
Step 4. Straighten the SUV if necessary
If the vehicle is not straight, correct the orientation before you leave. Remember that if you leave it near another car, it could hit it.
- Adjust the shift lever from forward to reverse.
- Turn in your seat and use your mirrors to check for pedestrians or other cars nearby. Once the road is clear, exit the parking lot to get away from the object you are very close to.
- Keep going back until you are straight and in the center.
- Adjust the gearshift lever forward and turn the tiller until the wheels are straight.
- Guide yourself with the mirrors as you enter the space.
- Put the car in parked mode and get out of the vehicle.
Method 3 of 3: Take Safety Precautions
Step 1. Use the rear view camera on the SUV
Many vehicles of this type have a built-in backup camera. This technology helps you see what's behind the car, but it should always be used in conjunction with the side and rear view mirrors. You can use the camera when you park in reverse, when trying to straighten the parked car in 90 degrees backward, or when you need to exit the backing space. To activate the camera, you just have to put the gear lever in reverse. Make sure to use your camera and mirrors when parking or exiting a space to do so safely.
The process of parking, straightening and exiting a parking space does not change when you use a camera
Step 2. Park far from your destination
SUVs are difficult to park. When the space where you want to park has cars on both sides, the challenge is greater. To minimize the risk of damaging other vehicles, it is best to park at the far end of the lot or on the upper or lower floors of the structure.
Step 3. Avoid exiting a receding space
Exiting this way is quite tricky, as these vehicles have blind spots. It's easier to exit the space head-on because that way you can clearly see if there is traffic, pedestrians, or other obstacles. So whenever you have the option, park in reverse.
Step 4. Check your mirrors constantly
Like all cars, SUVs have blind spots. But in this case, the blind spots are bigger. Therefore, you must use mirrors to compensate for the lack of vision.
- When you turn the wheel, do it calmly so that you do not damage the steering of the car.
- Always do the maneuvers slowly.