Parking is part of driving too
When most people learn to drive they focus their attention on getting from point A to point B. They do their best to make the correct choices to allow them to reach their destination. But what happens after they get there? Do they make the proper choices in the parking lot?
At Young Drivers of Canada, we teach our drivers to avoid backing whenever they park. They can do this by choosing a parking space that allows them to pull in and through to the next space so they’re facing forward out of the space. This makes it easier to exit their parking space when it’s time to leave. If you can’t find a pull through space, we teach our students to back into the space. What’s the difference between backing into a space compared to backing out of a space? Lots.
While I was recently shopping with my kids, we spotted a driver trying to back out of their parking space. They were having a difficult time so someone decided to go and help. That help really didn’t work out too well as all they were able to do was to tell the driver when to stop so they wouldn’t hit the parked vehicle behind them. It sure would have been easier to pull out forward from such a tight space.
Since the parking lot was pretty full, there were no pull through spaces for this driver to choose. Backing in would have been their best choice. One of the advantages of backing into the space is to see if the space was clear of shopping carts or any other items that may have been left in the space by someone else. Since the front wheels steer, it’s also a lot easier to get into the space while backing up. The front of the vehicle needs less space to swing around when backing up compared to the amount of space the back of the vehicle needs to swing if trying to back out of the space.
I was feeling bad for this driver and was about to go offer some help when the driver of the vehicle parked next to them decided to get in their vehicle and leave. This gave the driver more space to actually get out of their space. The surprising thing was this driver still had trouble getting out of the space, even with the space next to them empty. When backing up and steering, the vehicle will pivot on the rear wheel. Once you have your rear wheel past the end of the parked vehicle next to you, begin steering. Since the space beside this driver was now empty, the front of the vehicle had enough space to swing. They decided to back up straight until the front of the vehicle was almost out of the space. That’s why they had difficulty.
I have a sneaky suspicion they spent more time learning how to drive then park. Parking is an important part of driving for any driver, including this one. Perhaps I should have left her my business card.