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Old 24th March 2009, 22:13   #1
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Default Reference Points - While driving and parking

Been thinking about this a long time...wanted to post pics in the first post itself but didn't get around to taking them. I'll just start up the thread to avoid further procastination....

Okay - this post is about the various reference points that you use to judge the distance from other cars or objects while inside the car. This can be while parking or driving.

For instance when I shifted over from my 800 to my Swift I had a bit of a problem at first as the Swift is blind spots galore. However I found a couple of ways I can judge distance more effectively from inside the car.

1. Reversing towards another car (Swift)
You can safely reverse till the bottom sill of your rear windshield and the bottom of the front windshield of the car behind you are on the same plane. As you reverse you can see the two sills get closer to each other. When they meet there is a feet or two of separation between the cars.

2. Avoiding scrapes on your rear left fender
This can occur for instance when you are reversing your car to park besides a wall. The rear fender is the portion of the Swift's body that juts out the most (besides the mirrors of course). Usually the left door mirror is set so that you can see your rear left door handle. Angle the mirror down till you can see the rear left fender in it. Trust me...this helps a lot. You can leave it permanently in that position as the right door mirror and the rear view mirror will help you with the rear view once you get used to it. Watch out for those bikers on the left though - with the mirror in this position they can get into your blind spot by the side of the car. A quick over-the-shoulder look should take care of this though.

These are a couple of things I do. If you happen to try them out please do so with care. If at any point you think you are getting too close, it doesn't hurt to stop your car, get out and take a look.

What we can have here is the practices we follow for different cars. So go ahead and post your thumb rules for those tight parking moves and such.

Drive on!!
Shibu

Last edited by shibujp : 24th March 2009 at 22:20.
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Old 24th March 2009, 22:49   #2
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agree with #1
# 2 is not a problem on my car. I use the wheel arches as a guide
When parking in front of a wall, I use the headlights/taillamps as a reference. When the low beam just disappears below the line of sight, thats when I stop.
when driving, I keep the top of the rear bumper of the car in front in line with the base of my windshield. Often found to my frustration that this is exactly the width required for an autorikshaw to cut across horizontally. But Its a good rule of thumb anyway
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Old 24th March 2009, 23:26   #3
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For parking I use the cars parked next to me as a reference. Sometimes I even use the reflection of my car on the surrounding ones! While reversing its usually the mirrors.
For highway driving I try and follow the 2 second rule for the car ahead. And I try to actively watch the rear and side mirrors and am now able to judge when a car enters the blind spot.
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Old 24th March 2009, 23:36   #4
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When overtaking, I don't pull in front of the vehicle I have passed until I can see it in my RVM.

View in OVRMs should just inlcude the side of your own car. This gives you maximum angle of coverage, but allows the brain to judge angle and distance.

RVM should be adjusted so you can just see rear seat. Again, brain uses this as reference to judge distance.

I have no idea how these last two points work, but it is as I was once told by a UK driving instructor --- and I've always found it works for me.

The same guy used to nag me, as I stopped far too far away, when reversing, "Look, the glass in the tailgate, right? That is the back of the car!". Not true of saloons, of course

Parking as close as possible to a London curb: reverse at a shallow angle, very slowly, until the rear wheel just touches the curb. Pull forward to straighten up. You are now a couple of inches from the curb. Chennai curbs are far too high for this!

Parking amongst other cars at the side of the road: line up with them! Use your OVRM, either side, see down the side of your car, and down the side of the car behind.
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Old 24th March 2009, 23:50   #5
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Thad E Ginathom View Post

RVM should be adjusted so you can just see rear seat. Again, brain uses this as reference to judge distance.
I have been doing otherwise off late! I find that rather then focusing the mirror towards the car, pushing the RVM outwards and keeping the focus on my car a minimum allows me to use the RVM when I come out of a sweeping curve or at a fork when the 2 roads join. You tend to get blinded in this situation as you dont see the cars/buses coming from the road your joining into, so a wider view on the RVM allows me to make a safe maneouvre onto the road.
Also, my RVM is pointed downwards sufficiently to allow me to see as low as possible on the left and right while reversing the car.
I guess different people have different preferred settings. Perhaps height is a factor as well?
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Old 25th March 2009, 07:59   #6
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Wow!! This is great. From the posts I've already got a few pointers that I can try out. Keep em coming!!

Quote:
Originally Posted by pras.oct25 View Post
I have been doing otherwise off late! I find that rather then focusing the mirror towards the car, pushing the RVM outwards and keeping the focus on my car a minimum allows me to use the RVM when I come out of a sweeping curve or at a fork when the 2 roads join. You tend to get blinded in this situation as you dont see the cars/buses coming from the road your joining into, so a wider view on the RVM allows me to make a safe maneouvre onto the road.
I think you meant the door mirrors and not the RVM. But yes, this does help but I found that by relying on this method exclusively I sometimes missed a biker or car who managed to slip into my blind spot. As a first look it serves fine but I feel a quick look over your shoulder is needed as a final check.

@greenhorn - on the auto bit. Got to try the rear bumper bit.

@equinox brought up a good point. Using the cars around you as mirrors do help. I sometimes use it while getting back into my lane after overtaking to check for any bikers who might be lurking on my left side. However I come a cropper if it's a truck in front!!

@Thad - not sure I got the rear seat in your RVM bit. Could you elaborate? What do you use as a judge here? The top of your rear seat v/s some reference point on the car behind you?

Drive on!!
Shibu.

Last edited by shibujp : 25th March 2009 at 08:02.
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Old 25th March 2009, 08:41   #7
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Great thread - will keep track of these tips and keep trying them out when I drive and park next
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Old 25th March 2009, 10:27   #8
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shibu, i think folks with swifts can cut it a bit more closer. I sit very laid back, and the indica's boot seem a bit longer , and is invisible anyway from the driver's seat
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Old 25th March 2009, 11:00   #9
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Quote:
Originally Posted by shibujp View Post
@Thad - not sure I got the rear seat in your RVM bit. Could you elaborate? What do you use as a judge here? The top of your rear seat v/s some reference point on the car behind you?
I think Thad is referring to adjusting the IRVM (interior rear view mirror) so that the top edge of the rear seat is lined up with the bottom edge of the mirror. And later on, he is referring to how close he was instructed to reverse up in a hatchback to another object (car or wall) - since the rear windscreen is a few inches short of the rear bumper, a hatchback can be reversed up to a wall till the rear windscreen is almost touching the wall.
Quote:
"Look, the glass in the tailgate, right? That is the back of the car!". Not true of saloons, of course.
I hope I understood you right, Thad?

I personally find the Swift's ballooning front fenders a little tough to judge. After having collected a few minor scratches, I now overcompensate and leave greater margin for error.

Last edited by SS-Traveller : 25th March 2009 at 11:02.
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Old 25th March 2009, 12:06   #10
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I Do Agree with #2, since i do the same to negotiate(left side is a real blindspot)

Started doing it when i couldnt judge a pillar in my parking lot and brushed the running board,door etc leaving a big dent(Happened when i had just bought the car)

Last edited by rajshenoy : 25th March 2009 at 12:09.
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Old 25th March 2009, 13:07   #11
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Default for Parallel Parking

Be close to the car ahead of ur parking slot..

1. Turn ur wheels fully and start reversing in to the slot.

2. After the rear doors align with the tail of the car in previous slot, straighten the wheels.

3. Once the front door hinge aligns with the tail of the car in previous slot, turn the wheel in the opposite direction.

I am fairly comfortable in doing this on the driver side parallel parking.
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Old 25th March 2009, 13:28   #12
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I will take the liberty of stating a very obvious point ... pay attention while parking!
(example: don't be chatting with passengers while reversing into a tight parking slot).
It is natural to be alert while in motion, but don't let slow/parking speeds lull into lesser alertness; bumper damage quite often can happen in low-speed traffic.
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Old 25th March 2009, 13:47   #13
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Just two pointers from my side:

1. Make sure you leave space both in front and behind you when you parallel park. You never know which moron will park too close to you. Atleast you will have space on the other side, unless you encounter two morons!

2. Use blind spot mirrors. Excellent accessories, those circular mirrors which are convex to a high degree! Stick them on your ORVMs, but remember that the distance judging has to change with them, as even close objects seem to be far off!

They are a boon on expressways, merging traffic or any other situation where the road is too wide to be covered by the mirrors' line of vision and where there are high speed lane changings galore. I follow simple logic, If I can see anything in the blind spot mirror, I don't change lanes, because that means he is too close!
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Old 26th March 2009, 10:47   #14
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@druva

interesting technique you've mentioned there. Got to try that out. The parallel parking technique that a friend told me about and I've tried to use with varying degrees of success is as follows:

1. Assuming you want to park in between two cars.
2. Pull up alongside the car you want to park behind until your rear quarter glass is alongside the rear bumper of the car - say you're parking on the left.
3. Turn your steering completely to the left and start backing up
4. Now watch you right door mirror. When you can see the headlights of the car behind you in them start straightening out the steering towards the right while backing up at the same time
5. Theoretically by the time you are in the slot your steering will be fully turned to the right.

It's step 4 that always gets me. I always get the feeling that I'm gonna nick my right front fender!! Also the lack of opportunities to practice these moves is a problem.

@architect - never tried those blindspot mirrors. Perhaps i've gotta give them a try.

Drive on!!
Shibu.

Last edited by shibujp : 26th March 2009 at 10:48. Reason: spelling correction
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Old 26th March 2009, 14:08   #15
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I remember learning guidelines for parallel parking, but I can never remember what they were! However, it usually works out for me, and opportunities to practice are usually there in city driving.

Quote:
Originally Posted by SS-Traveller View Post
I hope I understood you right, Thad?
Yep, you explained all my points nicely.

Quote:
Originally Posted by architect View Post
2. Use blind spot mirrors. Excellent accessories, those circular mirrors which are convex to a high degree! Stick them on your ORVMs, but remember that the distance judging has to change with them ... ... ...I follow simple logic, If I can see anything in the blind spot mirror, I don't change lanes, because that means he is too close!
Yes, they are good. I think that their use is like seeing a warning light; they do not give you exact information, just warn you that something is there.

I'd forgotten them. I'd also forgotten this: in UK, the driver's ORVM has a division, with part of the glass at a wider angle to reduce blind spot. Not here?

In the absence of these helps, the thing is not to forget that there is a blind spot. it is easily done.
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