Why do people back into parking spaces?

Random question I thought of today. I don't even care that people do it, I'm just curious about the rationale. I notice that some people, when they show up in a parking lot, they back into their parking space rather than pulling right in and backing out when they leave. Like I get it, for whatever reason, they want to pull right out at the end as opposed to backing out, but why? I understand pulling through if the adjacent space is open, but in the normal scenario, you have to back up either when you arrive or when you leave, you ultimately don't save any effort. So basically, if you're part of the "back in, pull out" faction, what is the reasoning? I've been in tight parking lots before where it makes more sense, but I'm talking in a normal large lot, like at a supermarket or a mall. Are you anticipating needing to make a quick get away or something? Always wondered...


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Most Helpful Girl

Most Helpful Guy

  • It's the proper way to park.
    If you are parked with a van or SUV or anything next to you (they could appear any time between when you park and when you return to your vehicle), you won't be able to see a thing out your side window, so you'll just have to hope that you don't back out into the path of a moving vehicle. If you're pulling out forwards (and leaning forwards), you get a much better view.

    Also, if another driver parks near to you, it's much easier to manoeuvre out of a tight space forwards than backwards (again mainly due to visibility). I drive plenty of large vans / minibuses / etc, and on occasion, I've found myself really struggle to get out of a space forwards, after some inconsiderate arsehole has practically boxed me in, so I'd have been totally stuck if I'd had to reverse out. It can be just as bad with some cars - I used to have a Volvo V50 company car, which is a smallish estate car, but with tiny wing mirrors, and a tiny little letterbox for a rear window (which was also very darkly tinted), meaning you could see practically nothing out the back.

    It can also be easier to get into a tight space backwards, due to the fact that the front wheels are the ones that steer, meaning the car pivots about the rear axle - it's difficult to explain, but it's essentially the same reason that it's impossible to parallel park front end first in a tight space.

    And then of course, there's the matter of delayed gratification - nobody enjoys reversing, so it's better to get it out of the way when you park, so you spare yourself the hassle later.

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What Girls Said 16

  • It makes it easier to see traffic and pedestrians when you drive out and don't back out. Also, a lot of places have a sidewalk to get shoppers to the car, if you want to load the car it is much safer to do so from the sidewalk so having the boot of the car that end makes sense.

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  • I think that some drivers back into an open parking lot because they are so used to parking it like that. And probably are trying to stay careful so they don't have to worry about hitting someone or something when backing out.

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  • Because I can.

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    • Lol I just read the other opinions. They're all pretty valid now that I think about it. I don't really think about it anymore, I just do it.
      Pedestrians and stuff are everywhere though, doesn't matter if you're pulling or backing out - I've had dumbasses run out in front of my car and behind my car in both instances. The quicker getaway thing seems a bit more legit, imho.

  • For me, I do it because I have limited visibility when I'm trying to see behind my car. It's fine for parking, because I could see if the space was clear, and the front of my car is out in the open so I can see what's happening in the road. But if I'm trying to back out of the space and I'm surrounded by bigger cars, it's a lot harder to know if a pedestrian is about to walk right behind me, or if a car is coming.

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  • -showing off there parking skills
    -easier to leave parking lot (just drive straight out)

    But doesn't it just take the same amount of time? Lol and wouldn't it be better to have the car boot free so you can chuck the shopping in? I'm really thinking its to show off their parking skills now 😅

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    • Yeah, that was my whole thing, you save time on the way out but you don't gain anything because it likely takes just as long to back in. I don't know, seems like a lot of people are worried about being hit or hitting something/someone on the back out. They just don't have back out game like us I guess👊

    • Haha I don't even 😅 "back out game" BHAHAHAHA oh wells whatever tickles their pickle

  • My boyfriend is one of those, who chooses to back into a pretty tight spot when it's the only available one on the lot versus just pulling in forward.

    As for why, one reason is that he claims when he was learning how to drive, he spent so much time perfecting reverse-parking, he finds it easier than parking forward. It's also a choice between having a harder time getting in or a bitch of a time reversing to pull out. I guess he and others who do that prefer the former.

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    • Yeah, that's fair. I guess some people are just playing chess while I'm playing checkers, haha.

  • That all they know what to do.

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  • Its easier to get out.

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    • But then it's harder to get in, see what I'm saying?

    • Not if you know how to drive and park. You also can't be intimidated by other drivers.

  • Because it's easier to pull out. The last thing I want to do is backup onto oncoming traffic and also because it's become sort of a habit.

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  • So they can just pull out when its time to go

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  • Depends on where the sun is facing... which angle will get you car the hottest? ... and once you learn to back up, it is actually much faster to back up into the space than it is to back out of it.

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  • I don't understand it either, especially when they go grocery shopping and the trunk faces the wall when they do it lol

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  • So it's easier to drive out when they leave. It's easier to back in and drive forward out then drive forward in and back out.

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    • Must be a personal thing, because I'd find driving in and backing out easier.

  • Most times it's easier to back into a spot then out of it.

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  • So it's easy to drive out.

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  • it's MUCH easier.

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What Guys Said 32

  • Simple answer.

    It's the difference between static and dynamic variables.

    When you are parking, your only real concern is not hitting the other cars adjacent to you parking spot.

    When you pull out, you have to concern yourself with pedestrians and other vehicles moving through the parking lot.

    Given these two situations, some people choose to execute the more challenging maneuver (backing up) with the less complex variable set (adjacent stationary cars). Then, they are free to execute the less challenging maneuver (pulling forward) with the more complex variable set (multiple moving vehicles driven by inattentive drivers, combined with pedestrians randomly changing speed and direction).

    In this context, backing up to park seems prudent. It's the people pulling straight into a parking space that seem unable to either plan ahead or to delay gratification.

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  • Because it is easier. Like has been mentioned by another person here you don't have to worry about cars you have not seen and it is more easy to see people walking. Some cars have very poor rear vision and are bad for not being able to see what is behind them.

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  • Backing into a parking space, you don't need to worry about traffic that you can't see hitting your car before you have time to react. And you don't need to worry about hitting any pedestrians. It is safer backing into a spot than it is backing out.

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  • It's easier to see as you pull out. When you are backing in you know the space is empty. However when you back into the alleyway you could have pedestrians, cars and other obsticals so the back in is easier.

    Plus you might pull in then later be surrounded by big black SUVs that you can't see through to pull out. Backed in you can creep out and more quickly see coming traffic. I'm a magnet for this situation it seems.

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  • I have a big car & it's easier to pull out. Backing up in the isle I don't have cars on either side of me. Pulling in & backing up I've got cars on both sides AND the ones probably parked behind me.

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    • I should have added you can't always see cars zooming through the isle when you're backing out let alone the guy who starts to back out right after you & CrAsH.

  • I have no idea, and unlike you, it really bothers me. LOL

    It's ALWAYS dudes in a pickup or some "hey look at me!" car, too.

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    • The BEST is when they fail the first attempt and have to like reverse three-point-turn it. Talk about embarrassing yourself while everyone else sits there and waits you to do your fancy shmancy parking.

      I smile pretty big when that happens, not gonna lie.

    • It usually is, that's true! Hahaha

    • hahahahahaha, I only back in and sometimes have to pull all the way out just to straighten the damn car out.

  • I only do it if I miss the parking spot and one to get in it before someone else tries to get it.

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  • You back in between not moving objects. It allows you to get easier into the traffic driving away: backing out without full view and with moving cars coming isn't that easy.

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  • When you are pulling in, you have a better situational awareness. You know where the other cars are, where the pedestrians are and are likely to be, when you pull out of a parking spot you have a lot of blind spots, by backing in you've eliminated a lot of uncertainty.

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  • it's easier to get out and see and you're less likely to hit a car coming if there's a car on either side blocking your vision.

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  • Well my dad thought me how to drive and I picked up a lot of his habits like that one. I don't mind taking the time to back in and I like being up to drive straight out of a space. Also when you drive in, it's harder to see what's behind you when backing out. To me it's more time consuming backing out watching for pedestrians and vehicles than backing in right away because you already know what's there (two vehicles on each side of you).

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  • Because when u want to leave... just press the gas pedal and go!

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  • The most likely time you are to accidentally hit someone or something in a parking lot is when backing out of your spot. When you back into the spot you eliminate that risk since you then get to pull out straight with a better view.

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  • According to the Highway code, you are supposed to reverse backwards into car park spaces or perform a parallel parking manoeuvre.

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  • Two reasons:
    1) When you back OUT from a parking spot, you have to be extra careful for padestrians and even asa hile drivers who will not make any effort to slow down as you back OUT.
    2) It is much easier to park the car absolutely straight and right in the center of the lines because your sideview mirrors help. This may not apply to all but if my car is not parked correct, I will unlock the car, get on the wheel again and then adjust my parking.

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    • Sorry for the typos. Cell phones are a bitch. :(

    • Haha, no worries, I'll never get used to touchscreen as long as I live.

    • Looks like you have 4 more years. Then by some magic, on your 40th birthday, you will not be able to read without glasses. From there onward, it is a downward spiral to touchpad productivity. :(

  • I don't know, I alway drive in and backup because to me it's easier.

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  • I guess because when you back into the stall you don't have this random factors like the guy who's not paying any attention where he's walking with the cart or if your able or unable to see oncoming vehicles while backing up due to the large bulky Van/Truck/SUV parked on both sides

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  • maybe they want to shorten the distance between their trunk and their house or the store, that is the only thing i can ever think of

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  • well for a driveway at home I would back in, just because its safer , to see oncoming traffic easier. But for a parking lot, I'm assuming you're going to buy some stuff. Wth would you put your trunk to the car inf ront of you.

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  • It's safer to do it that way - much less risk of hitting something as you're pulling out if you're actually facing forward rather than looking over your shoulder.

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  • My most driven vehicle is a full size 4X4 pickup. And I live in downtown!!! So my forward tuning radius is shite! Parallel parking is for masters only!!

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  • In busy parking lots, like at Walmart, backing out of a spot is much more difficult and stressful as opposed to just pulling out

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  • It's easier to drive out.

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  • It's a result of being from the horse-head nebula. Our species has special parking powers.

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  • I only do it when I know it's easier to get in or out. but on a normal parking lot, nope

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  • cuz my car looks fukn sexy like that

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  • Backing in is safer than backing out. If you back out you are backing in to traffic.

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  • I'm always thinking about the next move. pulling straight out is faster when leaving

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  • Well, I don't do it.

    But it's actually 'easier' if you're used to doing it. Since the front wheels steer, it's actually mechanically better to back the rear of the vehicle in and then swing the front around to straighten up then vice versa.

    If you could magically go in forward, but have the rear wheels be the steering ones, it would be easiest.

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  • Easier to see getting out of the space later.

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