Reverse Stall Parking
A 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.