04 February 2010

Reverse Parking

Can you believe I reverse parked into my parking spot yesterday and today?!  Not something I really do -- ever -- so two days in a row is something to blog about. For those of you unfamiliar with the term "reverse parking" it is the same as saying "backing in." Reverse parking is rather big around here. When we were taking our driving exams here 1.5 years ago we opted out of taking it at the exam center where they make you reverse park as one of the things they test on. (Seems slightly odd that they wouldn't have this at our test center, but we were told they didn't have a good "car park" in the area where the test could be performed. Worked for me!)

At first I couldn't figure out why the Scots/Brits back into spots soooo much more than Americans. I thought maybe it was the small cars versus large SUV's and vans. Maybe they like being ready for a speedy get-away. Maybe it's easier? No, couldn't be easier, especially not into the tiny spots they allow for you to park in.

But one day I discovered it is more of safety issue. The Scots are big on Health and Safety. (Just read about one of our fellow American's recent experiences on the matter.) One of my co-workers said she previously worked at a place where you were forced to reverse park due to the safety matters. I had to think about this one. Is it really safer to back into a spot than back out of it? After pondering this for a very long time, I have concluded that maybe it is. When you back into a spot, there shouldn't be anyone walking behind you. But when you back out of a spot, there might be someone walking there. Maybe they are onto something.

In any case, the thought of backing into a small space has daunted me for years now. I have thought of it more from a safety issue of the two cars I'm trying to fit between (and my own!). I most often look for what Mark has termed "a through and through." You know, the double open spot where you drive through the first spot, to get to the second spot so it looks like you backed in, but you didn't? THOSE are my FAVORITE! 

But recently I have been studying the technique of reverse parking while watching others as I wait for them to finish so I can drive by. That, coupled with the few things I remember our instructor said about reverse parking, and I had this uncanny desire to try it for myself yesterday when arriving to work. It helped that there were not many other cars around, so I only had to fit next to one car and not in between two. I successfully reverse parked "in one go!" Because it went so well, I thought today I'd try again. I parked in a different location today and it was slightly more challenging, I had someone waiting on me (I definitely hate others watching! same with parallel parking), and it took two tries, but I didn't hit the car next to me and it still wasn't a half bad attempt.

Who knows, this just may become a new habit! Not bad for a (formerly) blond, female American (all of which are 3 strikes against me for being a reverse parker)!!


Siân said...

I am very proud of you! I think it is easier to reverse park a smaller car - that's maybe way there's not so much of it here - and probably land space too... I'm so impressed that you've done this out of choice. I think this shows you're doing well living in another culture!!

Kimberly said...

We tend to reverse park a lot here in Cayman, don't know why. But we call it "backing in" too. I guess it is to make a quick get away.