Did you know backing into parking spaces is actually safer than pulling into them? It’s true. Every year, about 300 people are killed and 18,000 are injured by drivers trying to back out of their parking spaces. Crazy, right? Well, we can fix that if we back into parking spaces instead—it is much safer to pull out moving forward. If you’re not exactly confident in your abilities and want to learn how to back into a parking space, below we will go over the best tips for reverse parking so that you can back into a parking spot safely and correctly.
Learning how to back into a parking space can greatly improve your driving skills. It can also help you stay safe on the road and avoid hurting others. To further make the case for reverse parking, take note that even AAA recommends backing into a parking spot rather than pulling forward into it. Of course, people may not want to back in because it takes a little more time and effort than parking head-in, but the payoff is significant. Do we need to show you those injury and death numbers again?
If you’re ready to learn how to back into a parking spot, check out our best tips below.
How to Back Into a Parking Space
Before you try to back into a parking spot in a real-world situation, you may want to practice first in an empty parking lot so you don’t put yourself or others in danger. After you a practice a couple times, you should gain quite a bit more confidence and be able to do it anytime!
1. Find a good parking spot.
Especially during the beginning stages of learning reverse parking, it’s best to scope out a parking spot that gives you plenty of room. If you can find one with only one car bordering it, it will leave you a little more margin for error. If you can’t find one with only one car bordering it, just make sure that the empty space you pick has enough room for the size of your car—it usually depends on how well the other drivers parked.
2. Slowly drive past the parking spot, and put on your blinker.
Once you find your parking space, it’s time to begin your reverse parking. Slow down the car and pass the spot. You should end up just past the parking space, directly behind the car bordering the left side of it—about three feet away. Put your right blinker on to indicate to other drivers that your intention is to back into the parking space.
3. Take a look around before reversing.
Once you bring the car to a stop, it’s time to back it up. But first, take a look around to ensure no one is behind you, and keep an eye on your passenger side mirror to make sure you are not too close to the parked car on that side.
4. Turn the steering wheel all the way right, then a half a turn left, then reverse.
To get the right turning angle, you will need to turn your steering wheel all the way to the right, but then turn it back left about half a turn. With more practice, you will understand more about the angles as they relate to your car. After you’ve turned your steering wheel, slowly begin backing up as you watch out the back window. To make this process easier, many people place their right hand behind the passenger seat and keep their left hand on the steering wheel—doing so gives you better visibility. Another option is to get a great backup camera for your car so you can execute this move even better and with less stress.
5. Frequently check mirrors as you back in.
Don’t rush the reverse. Slowly pivot into your spot, but don’t forget to keep checking both of your side mirrors to make sure you’re in line and will not hit the cars bordering your space. Taking it slow will help you stay calm and safe during this part.
6. Adjust as necessary, then stop when you’re in.
This is when knowing the size of your car and/or having a backup camera is important. You will want to stop reversing when the back of your car reaches the end of the parking space, but sometimes that can be hard to tell from the driver’s seat. A backup camera will ensure you’re all the way backed-in without being too far (these are the three best cheap cameras if you’re budget-conscious). If at any time you feel like you’re too close to the other cars, feel free to pull forward a bit, turning the wheel as necessary, then backing up a little again to completely square it off. You will notice if you’re too close to other cars—just make small adjustments to make sure you back straight in.
7. Boom. You did it!
Put the car in park and enjoy your beautiful parking job from outside of the driver’s seat. Now think about how fast and simple it will be leaving your parking spot—you’ll just have to drive straight out of it!