I was listening to some old episodes of The Hidden Brain podcast when I found out that 88% of people in China back in their cars when parking compared to only 6% of Americans. I happen to be part of the 6% of Americans that back their cars in when parking. I’ve spent more time thinking about whether you should be pulling in or backing in than I think
most all people would find reasonable. Here are my conclusions on why people should be backing in and doing their future selves a favor.
Backing up is more difficult than going forward. The view when backing up is significantly reduced when compared to going forward. For this reason, I think there is opportunity to mitigate risk. In general, you are going to have to back up either when you first park or when you leave later. There are some notable exceptions to this rule, like pull through parking spots which are a good idea.
Backing in allows you to back into an area with lower activity. When you back into a parking space you have to drive by the space and in doing so you get a complete view of the area you will be backing into. I know you are probably thinking, “wait I can get a complete view of the area I back out of by walking around the car before I pull out of my parking spot”. The difference is the level of activity in the two spots. I am going to argue that there is not much going on in a parking spot, but in the road or parking lot there are cars and people. This means that there is a lower risk of something changing in the parking spot when you check for safety versus in the road or parking lot.
Backing in allows you to save time later. Since backing up when you leave takes extra time a big deciding factor of when you should pull in and when you should back in should be how much time you have when you arrive and how hurried you will be when you are leaving. This is a big reason why people in China always back in. They are very long term thinkers compared to people in the US.
Look for pull through parking. These spots are rarely near the front of the lot so just find the first spot you see where you can pull through and take. Yes, you might have to walk a little further, but a little extra exercise is an efficient use of your time since you aren’t going to be looking for the perfect parking spot.
Next time you park your car do yourself a favor and back in.
Do you back in or pull in? Have you ever thought about it?