Parking this behemoth...

Discussion in 'Clarity' started by Douglas Firs, May 4, 2019.

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  1. *Disclaimer that this is not a Clarity-specific issue but I am looking for Clarity-specific solutions.*

    I am a short little miss. Up until two weeks ago, my husband and I drove a 2000 Toyota Echo. The car was totaled in a hit and run accident, but the silver lining of the situation was that we got to buy a new car (which would have happened sooner or later given that the Echo was on its last legs!)

    At any rate: a Toyota Echo is a SMALL car. It's short and narrow, but also tall so the visibility is pretty good. For a short person who has trouble seeing over the hood, etc, this is a dream for parking in tiny San Francisco spaces. The Clarity is a veritable boat by comparison.

    I've gotten used to the increased width but I still have NO sense for the length of the car, especially knowing where the front of the nose is. I literally get out every time I'm parking and have to check at least two times to make sure I'm pulled forward enough in a space. I simply cannot see over the hood, even with the driver seat jacked up to the highest height. I should also say that my 6' husband also had issues for the first week but he has since adjusted.

    For my shorty bretheren: do you have any tricks to figuring out how to tell where the nose ends on the Clarity?? I'm sure I'll get a feel for it but it's stressful in the meantime. I've casually looked into getting some kind of sensor for the front bumper but it seems to involve drilling holes in the car to pass wires through which I'm NOT interested in doing...
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  3. David in TN

    David in TN Well-Known Member

    Orange fiberglass bicycle flag thingys and duct tape to the corners? (could work if your is silver or grey!!) :)
  4. insightman

    insightman Well-Known Member Subscriber

    You could hang a rope or a tennis ball on a string in your garage or driveway and practice trying to park just before the front bumper touches it. It's too bad that fancy anti-collision/adaptive cruise-control radar up front can't help with parking, too.
  5. I’m 6’1”, and the Clarity gives me problems as well.

    My home-made solution for our carport:

  6. @David in TN LOL and I was thinking of something similar! going the elected official route and putting two little american flags on the hood...

    @insightman That is an amazing idea abt radar...maybe we can find a hacker?!
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  8. KentuckyKen

    KentuckyKen Well-Known Member

    Utter DIY ingenuity and sheer genius!
    Well played sir.
    Now I’m ashamed I paid $16 for a laser parking gizmo.
  9. That is impressive. If DIY don't-smush-your-car-in-your-garage solutions is not a thread, it should be!
  10. Thank you! A bonus was I had all the parts lying around already!
  11. FYI my hack is much less brilliant, but it was the only thing I could do when we pulled it into the garage for the first time and realized that we only had TWO inches to spare from the wall or it wouldn’t have fit (not because of length but because the drivers side door has to clear a post on the left...)

    Used IKEA folding chair with an extra chair pad. The wood makes a squeak when gently nudged by a 4000 lb car :)

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  13. fotomoto

    fotomoto Active Member

    My wife is also short and most modern cars have very sloped front ends for aerodynamic reasons so I know this situation well. And like a lot of folks, our garage is also filled with all sorts of stuff so parking alignment is critical.

    So, we spend some time parking the car about as perfectly as we can and then use markers (styrofoam or tennis balls) suspended with string from the ceiling to contact the windshield dead center on the steering wheel and driver. Then, one simply focuses on the ball and creeps right to it every time we park. Works well.


    We also tried these:

    Which work fairly well too but they are easy to knock over so I suggest getting a 2-5lb circular donut weight (the kind that is designed to be added to a bar used in weight training).

    The downside to these is if one needs to use the parking space for other things and needs to frequently move the stop sign then one needs to go through the process of realigning it unless the spot is location is marked/saved so it doesn't get erased. Tape eventually lifts up (BTDT); this is a minor issue tho'.
  14. The Gadgeteer

    The Gadgeteer Active Member


    Cone + rod
    Last edited: May 4, 2019
  15. insightman

    insightman Well-Known Member Subscriber

    The advantage of hanging a completely vertical rope in front of the bumper is that you get used to seeing exactly how far the front bumper extends, which is good to know in urban parking situations. @Fast Eddie B's pole also provides a vertical target, but is more DIY-intensive than simply hanging a rope. The angled lawn chair starts squeaking before your bumper reaches the plane of the visible part of the chair.
  16. fotomoto

    fotomoto Active Member

    I need to park in front of my motorcycle too. ;)
    The Gadgeteer likes this.
  17. I’m liking the visible object in front of the hood idea. I think that (rope!) plus some high density foam on the wall should take care of both of my issues. And hopefully this will all be moot once I move out of my shoebox apartment...

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  18. KClark

    KClark Active Member

    I'm not short or tall, 5' 9" but I also have huge problems gauging where the actual front end of this car is, and I've been driving it for 4 months. Every time I think I've got to be about to hit my front end, then I get out and see I have 12-18 inches of space in front of me. And then the next time, remembering my previous experience, I think, OK now I'm really about to hit something. Then I get out and see the same 12-18 inches. To me the visual appearance of being too close overwhelms the actual distance every time. I'm going to have to rig up something in my garage to practice with.
  19. MPower

    MPower Well-Known Member

    Being a short person myself, I wish this were my biggest problem with the Clarity--

    In the garage pull the car up to where it needs to be and shove a length of scrap wood up against the tires (crappy 2x2 or 2x4). Then the next time you pull in creep forward until you feel the tires hit the wood. Works every time. Low tech, but it is what my father did and probably his father before him.

    As for parallel parking, pull forward as far as would have been too far in a Prius (my previous car) and for some reason it is just about right in the Clarity which is really counter intuitive. In the alternative, make sure there is no one in the car in front and creep forward until you tap the bumper, then back off a bit.

    There is a thread here somewhere where the post describes installing a front bumper camera.
  20. petteyg359

    petteyg359 Well-Known Member

    Put the headlights on auto. Even in bright daylight, if the only thing that is on is a dim bulb in the garage door opener, it'll be dark enough for the headlights to come on. You'll see two blobs of light on the wall; there's a very bright white inner blob and surrounding that a less bright outer blob. Move forward slowly until the bright inner blob is no longer visible and you'll be about two feet from the wall (at least from my 5'10" sitting position, with the seat raised as far as it goes). I'd guess if the darker outer blob is about to be hidden below your field of view then you're about to hit the wall. No physical blocks needed :p
  21. Yukon903

    Yukon903 New Member

    Thanks for reminding me of the tennis ball and string trick, that brought back memories of visiting my Uncle’s fix for my Aunt’s driving. Walking into his empty garage for the first time in the 90’s and seeing it just hanging there raised so many questions. I played tennis and asked him if he had set that up for me to practice my backhand and he laughed.

    Thinking about doing something similar but positioned at the front bumper and tying some florescent orange construction ribbons to the string.
  22. PHEV Newbie

    PHEV Newbie Well-Known Member

    While I can't offer any solutions to your problem (here in suburban PA, parking spaces are enormous to accommodate those giant pickup trucks and SUVs everyone drives and parking is abundant), you've highlighted a fact that seems lost to most folks and car reviewers. The Clarity is a really big car and yet people keep comparing it to the Prius and Volt, which are classified as compact cars. In fact it is longer and wider than our late model Subaru Outback and no one in their right mind would compare an Outback size wise with those small cars. No one has made this a point but you are far better off in a crash in a Clarity than a Prius or Volt. Size matters and most folks in my neck of the woods are driving much bigger vehicles than the Clarity. It's practically suicide to be in anything smaller. That I typically get 48-50 mpg (on country roads) in hybrid mode, it's an astoundingly fuel efficient vehicle too (and now the leading PHEV all electric range).

    Folks, if you need a small car for any reason, the Clarity is not that car. If you want a really big, safe car that you can drive as an EV most of time and get the mileage of a compact hybrid, the Clarity is for you.
    Walt R likes this.
  23. Yes to all of this. I even cringe when my husband parks, even though he has never bumped anything in any car we’ve driven.

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