Reverse Stall Parking

Backing UpA number of readers contacted me after last week's column where I told about a man walking behind me when I was preparing to back out of a parking stall. These readers all told me that I should back into parking stalls rather than driving forward into them. The benefit of doing this is a far better view of the world when I try to leave the stall.

I don't care for backing up when I don't have to but if you sit and think about the suggestion, it starts to make a lot of sense! When you are backing into a parking stall there isn't any traffic in it already. You only have to pay attention to stationary objects behind and on either side. When you are backing out, not only do you have to pay attention to traffic coming from both sides behind you, you have to make sure the front of your vehicle doesn't rub those stationary objects on either side as well. This divides your attention and is more likely to result in a problem.

Yes, there will be inconsiderate drivers who follow you into the parking lot and won't want to give you the room to back into your chosen stall. However, you are stopped and so are they. Wait politely with your signal on and hopefully they will figure it out and go around you. Problem solved.

Signal lights? In a parking lot? Defensive drivers signal all their intentions, even when the law does not require them to do it. Is there a better way to tell other drivers what you intend to do? The blinking light will also attract the attention of pedestrians better than a steady white back up light.

The only question I had was what do I do when I want to put items in the trunk of my car and there isn't enough room between me and whatever I have backed up to? It turns out that this is simple to solve too. Simply drive forward a couple of feet and there you go, lot's of room to load a trunk. If you are judicious, you will not be far enough out of the space to create difficulties for the traffic that may pass in front of your vehicle.

One last thought, and that is backing into a parking stall is a required skill if you are ever called in for a driver re-examination.



backing in?

Madness. While the article does have some valid points in theory, the reality of things is that backing in to a parking stall requires a lot more skill than backing out. You actually have to park between the lines, not just get out. I'd much rather wait a second to give someone room than wait 2 minutes while they back up, stop, forward, stop, back, you get the picture. Maybe it's just me but backing out of a stall is not hard, not at all... if you have difficulty backing out ( usually a woman in a large SUV from my own experience ) then how much fun are you going to have trying to back in? The fact is a significant number of people are not good drivers, if you can't back out of a stall maybe you just shouldn't be driving at all?

Nukchuu and backing

Nukchuu must be a woman in a large SUV. (sic)
I disagree with some of your thoughts.
I will always look for a 'drive through' space to park in first of all.
Second choice is a good back-in space.
If only folks would practice backing up before they think they are 'good' drivers!

Backing in

Anyone who has driver a larger-than-average vehicle - such as a super-cab pickup with a full-size box - knows that they are hopelessly cumbersome to park in the shopping mall. Indeed, the only way to get one squarely into a space on the first try is to back it in. How much easier, therefore, must it be to back in a smaller vehicle?

It is quite true that is a bit of an acquired skill, but anyone who is not forever honing his (or her) driving skill can readily be defined as a bad driver.

It is true also, as Nukchuu says, that a significant number of people are bad drivers. That is the strongest reason for backing in, as when one is backing out it becomes impossible to watch for fast-moving bad drivers approaching from both directions simultaneously.

Reverse Parking

Bravo!!! Reverse parking should be mandatory. A vehicle is far more maneuverable at low speed in reverse than in forward and reversing into a parking stall is made much easier since the trailing end of the vehicle is lined up with the parking space using the (in this case) rear steering wheels. Ever looked at a forklift? They are so maneuverable for this very reason. And nothing needs to be said about exiting a parking spot facing in the right direction. I just laugh at people trying to drive forward into parking lot stalls, leaning up over their steering wheel to see if they will make it, shifting forward, backward, then forward with the power steering pump screeching as they try to turn those front wheels just that much more to make it!!! Hahaha!

Backing in to a parking stall

I workrd for the Ministry Of Highways and after 1989 the private contractors and the standard policy was to make your first move ahead. Believe me you can avoid a lot of backing up accidents by doing so.

Backing into a parking stall

One of my vehicles is a full size crew cab with a 2.4m (8 foot) box.  Overall length is 6.6m (21.6 feet) there is no way one can position one of these vehicles in a normal parking stall by driving in forward.  You have to back in and if you know how to drive it is a faster movement than someone trying to drive in forward.

Every year we read of kids being killed by someone backing over them.  Manufactures are now installing rear cameras to try and prevent this but they are still not as good as backing in and moving forward out of the stall.

I agree that backing in should be made mandatory and that should also include people backing into their own driveways.  The way I have always read the MVA one is to avoid backing into traffic unless absolutely necessary to do so.  Backing out of ones driveway into traffic I do not believe is necessary as one could easily have backed into the driveway and drove out forward.

One final thought on this is it not a requirement of getting a drivers licence in B.C. to prove that one can parallel park?  If so, does this not require one to back into the parking area?

Backing Into a Stall

Very often, when my wife and I go to the grocery store, I choose to stay in the vehicle.  I find it exceedingly entertaining to watch the majority of drivers in the parking lot. (I really need to get a life!)  Unfortunately, my entertainment is based solely on others incompetence.  From what I have observed, and this is purely subjective, the problem that arises in most cases, is the fact that these drivers that have issues seem to have one common fault.  They  have no idea how big their vehicle is.  They have never taken the time to learn the "perspective points" on the corners or in their mirrors.  Almost always, while trying to manouever, they stop and re-adjust their approach, when in actuality they had a good two or three feet of space between them and any given object, and could easily have carried on in their intended direction, or they stop short of the stall markings and are still in the laneway, or they are so far to one side or the other that someone won't be able to get in or out of their door.  It baffles me how anyone could not know how much room they have around their vehicle.  But, conversely, I also see (even more to my amusement...sad, I know) the tell-tale marks of those that "park-by-feel".  It's no wonder why our rates are so high and I have to pay for all the damages caused by these *expletive deleted*.  OK,  I'm done.


If you set yourself up to drive out of a parking spot or driveway you only need to stick 1/3 of your vehicle into traffic before you have a clear view in both directions, if you have to back out you need to stick 2/3 of your vehicle into traffic risking being hit by approaching vehicles before you can see them coming.  When you are going to back into a stall or driveway you can stop in front of it and see that it is clear and empty making it safe to back into.  When you have to back out of the same situation you never know what is coming and it will be different every time.  It's a no brainer, learn to back up by practicing or ask someone to teach you the proper technique.

Exactly right.

Plus which, when you're driving forwards then you benefit from your full peripheral vision.



Just an observation,,Ever been to a large truck stop? Next time by one,have a notice of the parking,,,a Vast majority of semi drivers,Including Super B,s(2 trailers and a tractor)  Back into thier parking stalls!!!!

The Comment on a women in a large SUV,,Totally Rediculis!!

Women are some of the BEST SEMI DRIVERS OUT THERE,,and have seen many with great backing Skills.

Men-Women can be equally good,,,or equally bad,,,Get out of the PAST.

And No I am not a women,,just a realistic Male Driver.

Backing up under controlled conditions

When I was taught to drive 40 years ago, my instructor gave me some very valuable advice: "Always back up under controlled conditions, and you control the conditions."

Yes, backing into a parking stall may be harder, but it is safer.

Author of "Letters to a Driving Nation: Exploring the Conflict between Drivers and Cyclists."

Google Ads