contact December 3rd, 2013
From the globeandmail:
This week, Collected Wisdom is driving to the supermarket in its luxury Globe and Mail company car — a 1978 AMC Gremlin. But do we reverse into that parking space or drive forward into it?
THE QUESTION: Mississauga’s Tom Landre wondered why so many people back their cars into parking spots in parking lots. “More than a few times, I have been walking through a parking lot and been startled by a vehicle that had backed in and was suddenly moving forward toward me. If they had pulled in forward, then I, as a pedestrian, would have two signals for their departure. First the brake lights would come on and then the reversing lights.”
THE ANSWER: Well, we received a huge number of responses on this on. Many thanks to all who wrote in, but unfortunately we have room for only a few of the replies.
“I always try to park so that I can drive forward out of the space rather than backing out,” writes Barbara Pettit of Fergus, Ont. “When backing out, with all the vans, trucks and SUVs on both sides, it’s almost impossible to see if it’s safe to back out. If you drive out, you can see, with much less of your vehicle sticking out into the driving lane, whether something is coming.”
As for pedestrians, she says, although they may not have as much visual information about when a vehicle is about to drive out of a space as they do when one is about to back out, the driver has a much better chance of seeing the pedestrian.
John Reid of Mississauga says driving front-first out of a parking spot is safer for pedestrians because eye contact can be easily made between driver and pedestrian to ensure that both are aware of each other.
David Sword of Willowdale, Ont., adds that backing into parking spaces is far safer than backing out because “you are backing into an empty and known space that is clear of pedestrian and vehicle traffic.”
Peter J. Ogloff of New Westminster, B.C., says it is much easier to back into a tight parking space than to drive forward into it because when you are in reverse, your turning circle centres on the rear wheels, making for a better turn.
Meanwhile, “if Mr. Landre needs signals from a vehicle that it is pulling out of a parking space,” writes Cecil Bush of Toronto, “there should still be the two signals he seeks — one when the running lights come on as the vehicle is put in gear, and the other when the driver uses the turn signals to indicate whether he is turning left or right — although, admittedly, the latter is now seldom done.”
The final word, perhaps for owners of 1978 Gremlins, comes from Duncan Boyce of Toronto: “If your battery dies and you need a boost, it can be very problematic for battery cables to reach your car if the engine is not at the front of the parking spot.”
“Now that the football season is well under way,” writes David Bryant of Regina, “I was wondering why, in a country that has been metric for decades, the Canadian game is measured in yards and not metres.” The field being 110 yards long is ready-made for a very tidy conversion to almost exactly 100 metres.
“I was reading a book that mentioned that bell-bottom pants were long associated with the Royal Navy,” says John Manuel of Golden, B.C. He wonders if there was a functional reason for this.