How to Navigate a Parking Deck Fearlessly for the First Time

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Parking decks are commonly used in most major cities to increase the number of available parking spaces. Parking decks can be found in a variety of designs, each requiring drivers to maneuver their vehicles through turns and obstacles. Parking your car in a parking deck for the first time can be a disorienting experience. The following steps will help prepare you for your first experience in a multi-story parking deck.

9 Steps to Confident Deck Parking

  1. 1

    Locate the entrance of the parking deck in which you wish to store your vehicle. Most parking decks have clearly signed entrances and exits.

    parking entrance
    Parking deck entrance with an automated barricade

  2. 2

    Parking decks often require you to pay a fee or pick-up a ticket before you enter. As you slowly drive into the entrance of the parking deck, look for a ticket booth or parking attendant. Make sure that you carefully steer your car through the entrance equipment. Make a payment or pick up your ticket.

    parking machine
    A man getting a ticket to pay later at the exit

  3. 3

    Entrance to parking decks are usually controlled by an automated barricade. After you have made a payment or retrieved a ticket, the automated barricade should open. Wait until the arm is in the upright position before driving your car into the parking deck. Do no stall underneath the automated barricade.

  4. 4

    Be aware that parking decks often have very low clearance. You should notice a sign that indicates the height of the parking deck’s clearance before you enter. If you drive an especially tall or large vehicle, you should practice good judgment before entering the parking deck.

  5. 5

    In some cases, you may be assigned a particular area of the parking deck in which to park. If not, begin searching for an empty parking space.

  6. 6

    There are many different parking deck designs. Some feature circular lanes that allow drivers to move up and down between different levels. Others employ a system of ramps for traffic within the deck. Pay attention to the flow of traffic within the parking deck. You may be able to turn in only one direction as you move up or down the levels. Typically, parking decks are clearly labeled. Pay attention to all signs as you search for an open space.

    marked parking deck
    Arrows and a dashed white line are used here to indicate traffic flow

  7. 7

    When you find an acceptable parking space, remember that visibility is much lower in a parking deck than a parking lot. Check for oncoming or approaching traffic then quickly park your vehicle.

  8. 8

    Parking decks can be quite confusing. Make sure that you do not loose your vehicle in the maze of cars by making a note of where you parked. Place this note in your purse or pocket to use as a reference when you are ready to leave the parking deck. Most parking decks are color coded and alphabetized to make it easy for drivers to note where their vehicles are parked.

    color coded garage
    Remember your color and the letter or number assigned and you’ll find your car in no time

  9. 9

    Parking decks are notoriously dangerous. Do not leave any valuables in your vehicle when it is parked in a parking deck. Make sure that you are aware of your surroundings as you walk to and from your vehicle.

Andrei Zakhareuski, Driving-Tests.org Founder
Andrei is a driver with 11+ years of experience and the founder of Driving-Tests.org.

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