Why Do Men Back into Parking Spots?

Before you attack me, it’s not just men.

Not all men return to parking spaces, and not all people who return to parking spaces are men.

I just noticed that most of the people I see backing into parking spaces are men. Why do they (we) do it?

This Twitter user posted this very question earlier this week. I know why I return to almost every parking lot I come across, but I wanted to read why others do.

I can see why Madi Kroll wants to know this, as it seems that reverse parking takes a lot more effort than just pulling in, doesn’t it?

via Google Maps

via Google Maps

Not exactly.

Before I get into the reasons I’m getting back into parking spots, let’s look at the reaction to Madis’ post on Twitter.

The good Dr. Lee Myers posts that he (she?) always seems to get behind the person who wants to retire and it causes trouble for her (him?).

Anthony is a man who also doesn’t understand why those who back into parking spaces do it, and he gets annoyed when they do it.

Also, by his own admission, Anthony isn’t particularly good at assisting a vehicle.

And Andrew is another one who “personally” hates those of us who fall back into parking spots.

Andrew is impatient. He cannot wait another 5-7 seconds for a vehicle to park in front of him. I’m sure the ladies love him.

And here’s Mike, another man who hates when people back into a parking lot and says men do it because of their “egos.”

Mike, are you considering not getting too close to the vehicle in front of you? Try this for a hot minute and let me know how it works for you.

Now for full disclosure: I (almost) always back into a parking space. I can say that for sure at least 90% of the time I’ve parked, I’ve backed into the space.

When did I start backing into parking spaces? When I went into the military.

Photo by Bruce Warrington on Unsplash

Photo by Bruce Warrington on Unsplash

When I was taking my army driver’s license test (we had to take one in order to drive military and civilian vehicles on German roads), I was drilled into ALWAYS parking. They said it was safer although they didn’t provide me with any evidence/statistics.

When we parked our military vehicles in the fleet, we had to reverse them into their parking spaces. We were told that having an alarm sounded would make for a quicker and safer exit.

Photo by Carlos Lindner on Unsplash

Photo by Carlos Lindner on Unsplash

When I got out of the army, I stuck with the habit of backing into parking spots. It turns out to be a VERY good habit.

Except for annoying a few people in the Pizza Village parking lot by backing into a parking space is much safer than moving in forward.

Don’t take my word for it: read what the AAA (American Automobile Association) has to say on the subject.

The Vox story details why some driving/automotive experts say it’s safer to back into a parking space.

According to WMBF News, the American Automobile Association says most people in the US park improperly. Over 75% of Americans park, although (according to the AAA) it’s safer to park backwards.

According to the AAA, nearly 300 people are killed and about 18,000 injured each year by a reverse driver. Most of these accidents happened in parking lots. – via WMBF

Did you hear that, Vern? Many people are injured and killed in parking lots.

How do we reduce the number of injuries/fatalities? We return to the parking lots!

via Google Street View

via Google Street View

AAA says backing into a parking space “maximizes the driver’s vision and minimizes the chance of hitting a pedestrian or other vehicle.”

If you still don’t understand why it’s safer to reverse-in than just drive in, let me try to explain.

If you drive through a parking lot and notice a free parking space, you can drive past it and see if there are any obstacles: shopping cart, motorbike, child, etc.

If there is an obstacle, you can just keep driving. If you’re someone who parks by parking forward, you could possibly be in the middle of your parking maneuver when you see the object.

via Google Street View

via Google Street View

After passing the spot, you can use your mirrors to keep a good eye on what’s behind you. In fact, you can see how close you are to other vehicles better when backing into a gap than when driving forward, since most vehicles don’t have mirrors that give a good view of the front bumper.

After shopping or dining, you can now just get in your vehicle, look left and right, and walk off the spot. When backing up from the spot, you sometimes have to bring the rear end of your vehicle into the lane before you can even see if a vehicle (or pedestrian) is coming. Not the safest situation.

And it’s not just men who back into parking spots: I know several women who were formerly in the military or are officers of the law who have backed into parking spots. My neighbor is the Lafayette Township’s deputy sheriff, and she backs her car into her garage every day.

I am sure that many firefighters you meet will tell you that they back into parking spaces. Why? They will either tell you they find it easier to get back on or that they know it’s safer. Or maybe both.

So don’t be upset if you see someone backing into their parking space. Don’t think that the person who is withdrawing has an ego problem.

Think of them as people you don’t want to meet by accident.

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