Have you ever walked through a high traffic area, like a shopping mall or street intersection, backwards? Neither have I. So, why not? Why would it not be a good idea to walk backwards into an environment where there are moving cars or people? Unless you’re a crawfish, you were not designed to move backwards.
In the illustration below, you see a typical parking lot scenario, like one you’d find at a grocery store or restaurant. You (the grey truck) are entering a row of parking spaces and there are people and cars moving around you. In the parking spot marked with an “X” there are no cars nor people moving. If you pull straight into the spot, you’ll have to back out when you leave. If you backed into the spot, you get to pull straight out of the spot when you leave. So, in the end, you’re going to have to back the vehicle at some point. The question is, if you have to back a vehicle, should it be into an area where people and cars are moving or should it be into an area where there are not people or cars moving?
Only back a vehicle when you plan to back it
• When you back a vehicle into a parking spot, you’ve looked at the parking spot, you know if there’s anything in it and you’ve made a conscious decision to back the vehicle into the spot.
• If you have a passenger, ask them to get out of the vehicle and help you back in.
Don’t back without a plan or as a correction to a mistake
• If you pass the location you were driving to, don’t throw the truck in reverse and try to back up to the spot you passed. Drive further ahead and turn around.
• If you find yourself in a situation, such as a tight cul-de-sac full of cars, and you have to back the truck to align the vehicle to exit the cul-de-sac, use a spotter.
The difference between planning to back a vehicle vs. not planning to back a vehicle is the difference between having an accident and not.