Tight spaces are the bane of countless newbie drivers all over the world. But it isn't just their nerves that suffer, so does the car.
We're talking about the poor tires and mags that bear the brunt of our miscalculations. It isn't easy to keep an eye on them in snug areas, and it takes familiarity with your vehicle's size and turning radius before you're able to master the art of maneuvering through them. We've all crawled through a tight parking lot at one point or another.
Thankfully, there are more experienced motorists out there willing to lend a helping hand and give some advice. Former race car driver and current Mazda Philippines marketing man Mikko David shares some tips below on how to avoid 'bengkong' in claustrophobic driving areas.
While he knows his way around a track more than most drivers do, that's not the entire reason we reached out to him: His office's parking garage is tight as hell, and is notoriously challenging for anyone who has been there. Trust us, he knows what he's talking about. Read on:
1) Take it slow into turns
"Nothing hurts more than the big whacking sound your wheel makes when it hits a curb," Mikko says. "By slowing down as you take the turn, you’ll minimize damage to your wheel, tire and suspension. Depending on how high the curb is, by slowly but surely moving forward, instead of rushing into a corner, your wheel can ride up and over the obstacle and you get to avoid the dreaded bengkong."
2) Tilt down your side mirrors
"Tilting your side mirrors downwards allows you to check how far the edges of the rear wheels are from the curb," Mikko explains, adding that in some cars the mirrors tilt down automatically when you shift into reverse. "You can then make minor steering adjustments to get your wheels parallel to the curb leaving room to spare."
3) Mind the gaps
Mikko suggests constantly checking your side mirrors during tight maneuvers so you can observe your distance from obstacles as you move into a turn. This can also serve as a guide to help you determine your wheel's distance from a curb. "The wheels are usually tucked within the bodywork of the car, so checking how far the body panels are with those side mirrors can help you clear the obstacle."
4) Know your car's length
Like we said, familiarity to your car's size is key. "Just keep in mind that the longer the car is, the later you have to turn in order to clear a corner without hitting anything," Mikko says.
5) Use your senses
You aren't limited to your eyes behind the wheel, are you? Use your ears and feel of the steering wheel to determine if you're making a boo-boo during a maneuver." Be considerate and don’t just move forward anyway. Try to slowly back out from the maneuver and avoid adding further damage to your car’s wheels."
6) Step out of the car if needed
Having a difficult time using just your mirrors and feel? Then simply step out of the vehicle. It's nothing to be ashamed of, Mikko tells us. "Suck up the ridicule from other drivers when you decide to visually inspect the path your car will take. It’s better than paying for the repair bill."