Even if you love to drive not everybody loves trying to park, but of course we all have to test our parking skills at some point. For many people, parking can be one of the most difficult parts of driving: however it need not be as hard as you think. There is actually a range of different parking aids available which are completely legal for use in the United Kingdom. These aids are designed to help to make parking easier, quicker, and safer for all concerned. Although there are a lot of different individual devices available on the market, these tend to fall into a few major categories.
Parking cameras help to give you an improved view of what is behind you, and will allow you to see into some of the blind spots which you may not be able to see into if you are just using your mirrors or turning your head. These cameras are either located near the back window or attached securely to the number plate/bumper. The images are then beamed to a screen which is placed in front of you.
It is possible to get systems which are integrated into your car, ones which are entirely separate, or ones which work as part of a sat-nav system.
Ultrasonic Parking Sensors
These sensors send special ultrasonic sound waves out from the back of your vehicle, which are then bounced back and received by the sensor. The time which it takes to receive the signal will help to indicate how close an object is to the rear of the vehicle. The sensors will create a bleeping noise, which will increase in frequency as the vehicle gets closer to any objects.
It is possible to buy aftermarket versions of these sensors for as little as £30. They also detect objects even when the vehicle is stationary, meaning it is possible to tell if something is coming towards you. However, these sensors can miss some smaller or narrower objects, including pull-up parking bollards. In some cases, objects can also deflect the sound waves away from the sensors, meaning that they are not picked up.
If you already know that a space is clear, then these sensors can be a really good way to avoid backing into a wall or into another car.
These sensors create an electromagnetic field around the rear of the car. Any object which moves into this field will trigger a warning sound. Conversely, the warning will also trigger if you reverse the vehicle towards an object which “interrupts” the field. These sensors cost about £70, but they only work when the vehicle is in motion.
Self-parking systems will use sensors to analyse the space available to park in, and then take partial control over the vehicle in order to help you to manoeuvre into the space. The driver can retake control of the vehicle by moving the steering wheel. These systems are installed in some new vehicles, but they can be expensive. You should never rely completely on one of these systems.