Driving 101:  Back It Up

Yesterday afternoon I had another near miss when a driver bolted backwards out of their parking spot and nearly caused me to hit them.  This was no slow back up.  The woman just cranked it up and backed it out of there.

This is not the first time. I am very anxious when I have to back out of a parking space or drive through a parking lot.  Once again the common problem seems to be impatience.  No one wants to wait or consider their surroundings.  Just put the vehicle in gear and out of there.

Here’s what you are supposed to do:

  • Look before backing up.  Use your head.  I mean turn your head to look.  Don’t depend solely on your mirrors or backup cameras.  It is easy to lose our depth perception just using mirrors or cameras.
  • Put vehicle in reverse and back out slowly.  Look in all directions for people walking as well as other vehicles.
  • Turn your steering wheel into the direction you want to back out.
  • Always be alert of the backup lights (white lights) of other vehicles.

Another part to this backup issue is for people who are walking in a parking lot.  Always be the better person in the situation where cars are backing up. You can see the situation much better than a driver can. Always be prepared to yield to the driver.  I know people have the “pedestrian having the right-of-way” mentality but an accident is going to hurt you a lot more than the car. I see too many people trying some power play with this and dare a car to hit them.  It isn’t a contest.  Most drivers aren’t trying to purposely hit you.

If you are driving through a parking lot, be alert to drivers who are backing up.  Don’t be a jerk and fly past them if they are already backing out.  I know.  None of us want to wait.  But really, how much time is it going to cost us.

Also, if you have passengers in the car with you, enlist their assistance when backing out.  It is always helpful having extra eyes being alert.

So I beg you, please, don’t just assume no one is behind you when you back up.  Back up slowly.  Tap the horn (Yes, it’s still okay to tap it instead of laying on it and using an obscene gesture) if there are people or other vehicles that are not aware of your intentions.


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I love to get paid for writing but I continue to write anyway. It is something I feel driven to do. I may not always get the grammar correct but I hope I can entertain whoever reads it.

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