Which is a Safer Parking Method?

Most drivers are accustomed to parking in a particular way. But is one method better than the other? Does it really make a difference whether we back into or pull forward into a parking spot? As a matter of fact, often it does. Backing into a parking spot is generally consider safer than pulling into it, but that doesn’t mean it is best in all circumstances.[1]

Why Reverse Parking is Safer

  • Backing into a parking space requires pulling past it first. This gives you much better visibility of the spot itself and could help you avoid hitting a motorcycle, grocery cart, or debris. These smaller objects are often hard to see as you turn and pull forward into a parking spot with cars on both sides.[2]
  • Backing in gives you optimal visibility as you exit your parking space. This is important because you will be entering the vehicular and pedestrian traffic in the parking lot.[3] Rear-view cameras can provide improved visibility as you back out of a parking space, but most are not as good as the visibility you have looking out of your windshield.
  • Backing in allows you to exit your parking spot more quickly in case of an emergency.

Of course, backing into a parking space has a few downsides as well

  • Sometimes other drivers in the parking lot might not expect you to back in. This can lead to some confusion, and you might lose a spot if someone pulls into it behind you.
  • Loading groceries or other items can be difficult if your trunk is too close to the car in the spot behind you.
  • It can be more difficult to park properly park between two cars when doing so in reverse.

In some situations, like angled parking spots in some grocery store parking lots, backing in may not be an option at all. Other spots, such as angled or parallel street parking in Texas city centers, it may be necessary to pull in facing forward. It’s always safer to use these parking setups the way they were intended.

Studies on Parking

A recent study was commissioned that suggests a connection between backing into a parking spot, delayed gratification, and economic success.[4] That study found that, within the parking lots observed, only 6% of cars in America were backed into their parking spots, compared to 88% percent in China. In the same time period, the United States had a 1.5% productivity gain, while China had a 17.8% productivity gain.[5] The way you park certainly won’t affect your economic situation, but it may indicate your mindset on delayed gratification, which does affect financial success.

So why do most of us still pull into a parking space forward-first? It may be habit, it may be preference, or it may be that we haven’t known any better. However you decide to park your car, remember to stay focused, observant, and considerate of those around you. Doing so will help all of us stay safe no matter how we park.

Texas Laws on Parking

No matter what your parking preference, everyone as to follow the laws governing parking in their area. In Texas, you are not permitted to stop, stand, or stop your car in a variety of places. For instance, you cannot  double park. This is when you position your car on the highway side of another automobile that is at the edge of a roadway or a curb. You cannot park your car in the crosswalk, walkway, or (of course) in an intersection. It is likewise unlawful to park in between a designated safety zone and the curb. When parking, you need to stay at least 30 feet from the opposite end of a safety zone.

Driving in Texas necessitates motorists to focus on their environment and to the laws of the roadway. This does not stop if you are parking your car. In reality, if you park improperly or in the incorrect location, you might end up being a threat to other drivers. It is extremely important to take notice of the parking laws and to comply with them. It will keep you and others safe, and it will guarantee you do not get a parking ticket or have your automobile booted or towed. The following are some selected excerpts from the parking laws in Texas.

Section 545.303 of the Texas Transportation Code states that:

  1. For street parking: you must be parked parallel and be less than 18 inches from the curb.
  2. TDOT can put signs anywhere they think that parking may be obstructive
  3. Local ordinances or Texas law may permit angled parking in certain areas

Paying a Ticket online in San Antonio

You can pay your parking ticket online at the city of San Antonio website online payments page.


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