How to Get Out of Tight Parking Spaces

by Editorial Team

It's awful when people pull up too close and box you into a parking space. Maybe there is enough room to jockey out, but you don't want to be halfway into traffic while jockeying back and forth a lot.

The key to getting out efficiently is that at first you only turn the wheel when backing up. Backing up allows you the most "swing" in the smallest space.

Here is the most efficient way to get out of tight parking spaces with the least amount of jockeying back and forth.

Step 1

Check how far you are from the curb.

If you don't have much front-to-back space, the key to getting out is that you have enough space to maneuver on the sides. If you've got at least four or five inches (preferably more) you can usually go straight on to Step 2.

If you are really close to the curb, you'll have to jockey yourself away. To do that you pull straight forward as far as you can, then crank the wheel to the left (away from the curb), then ease back, straightening the wheel as you go. This will swing the front end even closer to the curb (and then away as you straighten), but it also inches your back wheels away from the curb. If you have to jockey more - just repeat the process. Pull straight forward, then crank the wheel left, back up and straighten.

You may only need a couple inches to get out. Once you have them, move on to the next step.

Step 2

Pull straight forward, as far as you can.

Step 3

Crank the wheel all the way right (toward the curb) and back up slowly, as far as you can. Your front end will swing out to the left. (Don't forget to watch traffic in your mirrors and also by turning your head. Watch not only for the car behind you, but also for the curb, since your back tires will swing toward them.

This step will swing your front end out of the space.

Step 4

If your front end has not swung clear of the parking space, you may have to jockey one time. This time you can crank the wheel left as you drive forward as far you can, then crank it right again to back up.

Step 5

Once your front end is clear of the space, get another head check to watch for impatient traffic, and pull out of the space.

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