Next time you’re in a parking lot, look around. Do most people park by backing in to a spot, or do they just drive straight in? According to one study, the back-in behavior indicates a person’s ability to delay gratification, and it can even predict a country’s economic growth.
But reverse parking in a space has another positive: It’s safer. When you back in, you’re backing into a designated empty space. Compare that to backing out of a parking space and straight into a busy parking lot with oncoming cars.
However, most people—76 percent—prefer to pull forward into a spot, according to AAA research. On average, 50,000 car crashes happen in a parking lot, according to The National Safety Council. But an about-face can help you stay safe when you park.
Ready to start parking more safely? Here are three steps toward being the safest parker in the lot. Note that it’s illegal in some places to back into certain parking spaces—so research your local laws.
Step one: Turn on your signal and pull your car halfway past the open space
Let other drivers know where you’re headed by using your turn signal. Then pull your vehicle about halfway past the spot where you plan to park. If you’re not comfortable with reverse parking, choose a space without cars on either side.
Step two: Check your backup cameras and mirrors