A car parking guide for new drivers in Singapore

PHOTO: The Straits Times

For new drivers, manoeuvring tight spaces is a nightmare, even more so when it's in a small and packed HDB car park in Singapore.

As more people start jumping on the SUV bandwagon, car parking becomes even more challenging as drivers struggle to squeeze their chunky SUVs into narrow lots.

With this comprehensive guide, you will realise that parking in public and HDB car parks is a breeze and be a pro in no time (theoretically speaking)!

Vertical parking tips

PHOTO: The Straits Times

Compared to what they teach in driving centres, vertical parking is a little different as the amount of turning space provided in car parks is significantly lesser.

Here are a few tips and tricks for vertical parking in public and HDB car parks.

1. Practice makes perfect

The best way to learn how to efficiently park in a crowded public car park is to have lots of practice. Start by parking in lots with empty spaces on both sides to get a gauge of the amount of space that your vehicle needs.

Locations such as East Coast Park and West Coast Park have spacious carparks with fewer vehicles, which makes them perfect spots for parking practice!

2. Position your car at an angle before reversing

Unlike the 90-degree method that they teach in driving schools, this method is much easier as it prevents your vehicle from bumping or scratching against other vehicles while reversing.

Instead of positioning your vehicle perpendicular to the lot (at 90-degrees), tilt your vehicle slightly so that the rear faces the lot. This slanted position ensures that you will be able to enter the lot perfectly in one attempt and requires lesser corrections.

If you are unsure of how to park using this method, there are plenty of video tutorials on the method.

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3. Do not over-rely on motion sensors and reverse cameras

Since most modern vehicles are equipped with motion sensors and parking guides, using these features while parking will help immensely.

However, it is not a good habit to always rely on these features as there are no sensors on the sides of your vehicle, which would still put you at risk of collisions with vehicles on both sides of the lot if you're not careful.

If you require more visualisation of the space, you can angle your side mirrors or wind down your windows. Additionally, you can also purchase additional blind spot mirrors to help you gain a better view of the lot markings.

Parallel parking tips

PHOTO: The Straits Times

Parallel parking will always be the more challenging and scarier method of parking.

If you do not have the confidence, find an empty vertical lot to park in. Otherwise, read on!

1. Find a lot that fits your vehicle

Do not jump into the first parallel lot that you see. It is advisable to find a lot that is at least one and a half times the length of your vehicle.

Some drivers might park too close to the front or the back of their respective lots, which results in their vehicles eating into the next lot space.

Even if there is still space for your car to squeeze into, it is wise not to do so as their vehicles might potentially scratch your car when they attempt to exit the lot.

2. Avoid dry steering while parking

While you might tend to dry steer while parallel parking in smaller spaces, it is highly recommended to creep your car slowly in reverse instead. The reason for this is because dry steering wears out the threads on your front tires faster than usual.

If you are a frequent parallel parker, this would mean that you might have to send your vehicle for rotations and replacements more often than necessary.

3. You do not have to align your car perfectly

Your vehicle does not need to be perfectly aligned to the cars in front or behind you. It's fine if your car is a little slanted, as long as it is within its lot.

Ensure that you do not park too close to the kerb to prevent scratching your rims. Also. if possible, try to not have your vehicle jut out too much. The last thing you want is a careless driver accidentally hitting the side of your car while driving past.

With lots of practice and patience, parking in public and HDB car parks will no longer be an obstacle for new drivers.

ALSO READ: Cheapest parking spots in Singapore

This article was first published in sgCarMart.