Four years ago I wrote a piece on tactical parking. It’s time to revisit the subject. Tactical parking is when a driver backs into a parking space or garage, rather than front-in parking. In 2014, people were making fun of tactical parking. The joke is that it is a ‘guy’ thing. It’s not a joke. It’s about saving children from injury and death.
50 Children a Week
It is estimated that 50 children a week are injured or killed by someone backing hu’s (his or her) car or truck. Two children die every week. Most of these children are about one year old. Backing up a vehicle puts children at risk, and often the victim is the child or the grandchild of the driver.
In 2014, auto manufacturers had until May of this year to install back up cameras on every vehicle, but that does not completely solve the problem. Camera’s have blind spots and cameras require the driver to be focused on the dash, not on what is going on around the car.
Advantages of Tactical Parking
The major advantage of tactical parking (or backing in parking) is driver visibility, both backing in and pulling out. When backing in, the driver has to drive past the parking spot, driveway, or garage allowing a visual inspection of the area through the windshield and side window. This makes is safer for a driver to back in coming from the street or parking lot lane.
The real benefit is that as they pull out, the driver is viewing the area through the windshield, not craning hu’s head around to look out the back window, looking through the rearview mirror, or watching the small screen on the dash. Tactical parking also has the advantage of placing the driver closer to traffic lane when pulling out of a parking space, driveway, or garage.
Backing into a parking space can be a challenge for the inexperienced. It is not something to do when the parking lot is busy and cars are held up; however, tactical parking is only ten to twenty seconds longer that front-in parking.
If a driver can avoid backing completely, that is the optimal situation. In parking lots were two rows of cars park head-to-head, finding a parking spot where the two spaces are empty and the driver can ‘pull through’ is ideal. This allows safe parking and leaves the car facing traffic when it’s time to leave.
Practice, Practice, Practice
I use tactical parking every day and I still don’t do it on the first try. Part of the issue is that I’m anal about being in the middle of the parking space. I also fail to take the time to lower both side mirrors so I can see the parking space lines. The easiest place to practice is usually your own driveway and/or garage. If you live on a busy street, then going to an empty lot to practice is another good option.
The goal is to reduce the amount of backing up a driver has to do. Every hurt or injured child hit by a car backing up is a case of a momentary lapse, or a distraction, or an unexpected move by a child. We can’t eliminate those situations. We can work to have the car facing toward traffic when it moves from a parked postion. That will save a toddler’s life.