Is It Better To Back Into A Parking Spot?

Illustration for article titled Is It Better To Back Into A Parking Spot?
Illustration: Jason Torchinsky

I feel like there are certain questions that vast numbers of people will instantly drop whatever they’re doing to make sure their opinion is firmly and forcefully noted. One such question is the issue of whether or not it’s better to reverse into a parking place so you can later exit it nose-first, or if it’s just as good (or better) to just pull into a spot and back out. I bet there’s a portion of readers who are already rubbing that blue pool chalk on their typing fingers as they read this, so let’s have at it.

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I’ve danced around this issue before, wondering about the ethics of pulling through one parking space to enter another one from the rear (stop giggling, grow up), but that one didn’t really address if, fundamentally, it’s better to back into a spot than back out of one.

I can see reasonable arguments on both sides: pulling into a spot nose-first is usually quicker and arguably more courteous to the other drivers around you, plus, for most cars, nose-first provides easier access to your trunk or hatch (some rear-engine drivers may need to disregard this) which can be a big deal.

On the other side, organizations like AAA have come out and claimed that reversing out of a parking place is more dangerous than driving out forward. I can see how driving out of a spot forward may be safer, though I’ve never really found reversing out of a spot all that difficult, if I’m honest.

I feel like I’m kind of a rare agnostic here — I think it’s fine to do if doing so isn’t really holding up surrounding traffic, but it’s not something I feel is crucial by any means.

There are many, many people, though, who are very willing to die on this hill, both people who pull onto the hill or back onto it. This argument seems to spontaneously generate in the most unexpected of places, like recently on internet funnylady Blaire Erskine’s Twitter feed:

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Holy shit people get worked up on this. And the dude that referred to parking as “tactical” and his own fucking car as a “POV (Personally Owned Vehicle)?” Who is that person? What happened to them?

You can scroll through the comments there (or maybe not) if you want to see all the parking-bickering.

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But look, this is the greatest carmobile-related community in the known universe! Surely whatever conclusion we come to will be definitive, and settle this hash forever, right?

Right?

So, pull in, back out or back in, pull out? Tell me.

Senior Editor, Jalopnik • Running: 1973 VW Beetle, 2006 Scion xB, 1990 Nissan Pao, 1991 Yugo GV Plus, 2020 Changli EV • Not-so-running: 1977 Dodge Tioga RV (also, buy my book!: https://rb.gy/udnqhh)

DISCUSSION

broken-aero
Broken-Aero

It’s situational. Going to get groceries? Pull in forward. Parking in a lot with less traffic? Back in. With the proliferation of back up cameras, especially the ones that curve the limit lines when you turn the wheel, it should only take one try. If you can’t back into a spot in one try, go over to an empty parking lot and practice. If I can back a ‘95 Buick Roadmaster into a spot in one go, you can sure as hell do it with your fancy hi-tech Rav-4.