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Slow and Steady: Our Guide to Motorhome Parking
There’s absolutely no shame in admitting you’re not one of the best at motorhome parking; it’s a tricky job! Motorhomes have steadily been getting bigger and bigger over recent years making them even trickier to park than ever before. Equally, motorhome parking requires a very specific skill set that doesn’t always get a lot of use, so it’s no surprise we get a good number of motorhome insurance claims for parking scratches and dents.
However, the good news is that motorhome parking is a skill that you can hone and with a few handy tips and perhaps a gadget or two, you can radically improve your motorhome parking skills!
It is possible to park up your motorhome completely single handedly, but there are a few gadgets that, if they don’t come as standard on your existing motorhome, can really help you out. A reversing camera can be a fantastic buy and can transform your parking skills, but it may take a little getting used to comparing what you see on your screen to the leeway you actually have. A reversing sensor can be a great addition to a camera (and many cameras indeed come with a sensor) and is a much more immediate way of knowing how far back you can go.
The greatest danger when you’re parking is to panic; this can cause you to make silly mistakes that you never would otherwise. Typical problems include slipping on the clutch and stalling and confusing first and reverse. Remember that however much traffic you have around you, you are legally entitled to park up if there is a safe space available. Take your time and concentrate on the simple things; don’t assume you can just swing your motorhome into a spot.
The parallel park is one of the hardest tricks to master in a motorhome and there are hundreds of variations of the techniques that people use. Unless you have an extremely wide space available, backing in is really the only way you can achieve a parallel park so give yourself plenty of room and try to create a forty-five degree angle between you and the curb.
Once you’ve got this far, it’s a case of slowly brining your motorhome backwards in an ‘s’ shape so you’re parallel with the curb. Your focus should be on getting your back wheel nice and close to the curb – aim to leave about a foot – and this should help you to get straight into the spot.
Bay parking is usually considered a little easier than parallel parking, but it can leave you with a false sense of confidence so you still need to take it easy. Again, however tempting it may be to drive straight in to a space, reversing in is usually much simpler. If possible, use the spaces opposite to align yourself and then slowly guide your motorhome in, keeping your eyes on your mirrors as much as possible.
Oddly enough, parking between two cars (or other motorhomes) can actually give you a lot more confidence with bay parking. Unlike white lines which are usually faded and difficult to spot, parking between two vehicles can give you a better sense of alignment and it certainly encourages you to take more care.
Parking absolutely has to be done slowly and not just because there’s less of a risk of you causing serious damage at a slow speed. The angles you can achieve when reversing are considerably tighter if you’re going slower; driving too fast will mean you simply end up under-steering. Depending on how powerful your motorhome is, if you can use nothing more than the clutch and a tiny bit of gas to park, you’ll be all the more likely to be successful.
Parking does take some practice and changing circumstances mean that it’s really about learning a skill than a specific method. Your ability to judge distances will be considerably improved with a reversing sensor and a camera but after that you’re on your own. If you’re someone who really isn’t confident, consider taking a course or even just spending an hour in a quiet car park for some practice – it really will make all the difference.
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