OK, since I am car-blogging tonight, I will tackle another critical and substantive automotive topic. Why do some people back into parking spaces? And further, why are a large percentage of the people who back into spaces driving pickup trucks? Here I am talking about backing into perpendicular spaces, like at the mall, not parallel parking. Also, I am not talking about parking at a busy sporting event, where I often back in so that I can more easily pull forward into the inevitable post-gram traffic.
Backing up is at least 10 times harder than going forward. Just try to drive a straight line backward - you will probably look like someone who is DWI.
So lets think about parking. When you are pulling in, you are generally going from a wide area to a very narrow area. When you are pulling out, you are conversely going from a narrow area to a wide area. If you did both of these forward, just to make things apples and apples, I think most people would agree that pulling in to the space is much harder than driving out. So why do people do the harder move (pulling in) the harder way (backing up)?
I have only had two people even try to give me an explanation for this. The first was that they had read that most parking accidents happen pulling out of spaces, which is probably true. But this is sloppy analysis. I would argue that most accidents happen pulling out because people are backing up. I would restate this stat as most parking accidents happen when people are backing up. If everyone backed into spaces, most parking accidents would probably occur pulling in. The second person told me that "this is how his dad always did it". That explanation I buy. I have found a lot of small habits like this that people stick by all their life stem from the way one of their parents taught them.
The only other advantage I can come up with is that backing in / pulling forward out might be safer in very busy lots where pedestrians and cars are constantly passing across the space and there is some danger of backing into them pulling out. This may be, though I still see people laboriously backing up into narrow spaces at my office, where there is zero traffic in the parking lot. And none of this explains why pickup trucks do it so much more often than sedans. I would think that pickups would especially want to head in , since this leaves the bed accessible.
In the picture below, note the one car that is backed in along the line of perpendicular spaces at the bottom - a pickup!
Update #2: LOL - getting more comments on my parking lot observation than my post that questioned why drugs and prostitution were illegal. I guess I may be finding my niche in the blogosphere. Parking blogging. Anyway, thanks to all the backer-uppers out there for the comments. I have come to the conclusion that maybe I am just a bad driver in reverse. If I tried to back into a space between two cars, I would probably scratch a car a week. I do understand that at least that does not hurt anyone, while backing out can indeed hurt someone, particularly small hard-to-see kids. (By the way, I will think the best of my readers and not assume they are attracted by one other benefit of backing in -- that if you back in and hit a car, it is likely unoccupied and you can make a run for it; if you hit a car backing out, it will be occupied and you are busted).