Saturday, June 11, 2011

Backing into a Parking Space

In this blog post, I'm going to talk about an extremely important world issue...a matter of life and death...whether to back into or drive forward into a parking space. Sure, this is a seemingly trivial issue, but it is also quite polarizing. I admit it drives me a little bit bananas when I see a backed in car (I'm a forward parker). Probably I'm just jealous that the reverse parker has better parking skills than me. I admit, driving in reverse is not my specialty as it occupies less than 1% of my driving time. The one time I drive into a space in reverse is at the dump, and it absolutely terrifies me; I'm afraid I'm going to drive over the ledge where you dump your trash.

So the question arises, why do people back into parking spaces? It's not for ease. Although, when leaving, backing out of a parking space is more difficult than driving forward, backing in in the first place is way more difficult. In the unnatural reverse motion, when backing into a space, you're exiting an open area and going into a closed area. When leaving in reverse, you're exiting a closed area and entering an open area. If someone says overall it's easy to be a reverse parker, I don't buy it!

Another argument against backing into a parking space: society is habitually running late. When you're running late (which for most people is most of the time), why would you back into a space, wasting a precious 30 seconds? Maybe all reverse parkers are always running on time...I don't know. But I typically run on time and I'm not a reverse parker.

A reverse parker may give the safety argument. If you pull out of a parking space in reverse, you may hit a child or car you couldn't see. But couldn't you very easily scrape the car next to you when backing into the space in the first place? And when backing in, how do you keep yourself from pulling in too far and hitting something? This is not an easy task. And you could also hit a rogue child when backing into a space.

I think the most likely scenario is that the way we park depends not on any logical thought process, but on how our parents parked, and/or how we learned to park. We are more similar to our parents than many of us care to admit. For example, no matter how independent we think our thoughts may be, most of us have a similar political affiliation as our parents. Perhaps the way we park a car is no different.


  1. Observations from having worked for 35 years for a very large employer: 1) Some of the people who appear to have backed in, actually got there early enough to pull through one of the "nose to nose" spaces, so it just LOOKS like they backed in. 2) Some who really backed in got there early enough to back into the center of three empty spaces. This only requires skill if you stay between the lines. They don't. 3) The scene at the end of the day suggests this getting there early to be able to park heading out is done in order to make a quick get-away.

  2. If you back in and then have a dead battery, it is easy for another car to jump you off.