My present company has a rule posted that everyone must back into parking spaces. This was implemented before I came here, and now, as we try to reinforce the issue, I can’t find any studies or statistics that support this move.
I was told this practice was pioneered by Dupont (as with many things), so I emailed a Dupont consultant and they said "not us." I was directed to the NSC as they had "done a study"; they too said "nope". I have been all over the Web…ack!
Anyone have any supporting information why backing into a parking spot is preferable to driving in? Insurance industry, safety, whatever…
The Smith System classes talk about backing into parking spaces that are at right angles to the vehicle travel lanes. It is, allegedly, safer to drive forward out of a parking space than it is to back out into traffic.
Therefore, I suggest that you check with the Smith System organization. They should have the studies to support their contention.
As far as I know it’s not necessary from an ergo stand point that it is better to back into parking space but more from a liability stand point. Car insurance companies will be able to tell you who is responsible for accidents when they occur in a parking lot. From my experience, if you were park and need to go back to go out of your parking space, you are responsible if you hit somebody. In case that you are going front out of your parking space, it’s either the other or both who will be responsible for the accident. The visibility of other cars is also greater when you go out from a parking space from front instead of from back.
I used to be a contractor at DuPont facilities several years ago. I’m not sure if they "invented" this rule, but they did indeed require it at the facilities that I traveled to for work. During their safety orientation training they explained the reasoning for backing-in to parking spots was two-fold:
1. Employees are more alert at the beginning of their shift and are less likely to bump into
someone else’s car while lentering the parking lot. After a 8-12 hour shift you are physically
exhausted and are only thinking about getting out of there.
2. In the event of a facility-wide emergency that required an evacuation, as opposed to a
shelter-in-place, employees cars could be more easily moved if they were already aimed in the
"going out" position.
Another point relating to this parking requirement is that DuPont facilities also required that all vehicles which were parked within the facility perimeter (inside the security fence-line) were required to have the keys left in the ignition and the doors unlocked. In the event of an
emergency, anyone could move any vehicle out of danger.
If you need further information, try the DuPont safety orientation video or pamphlets for employees and contractors. DuPont puts an extremely high emphasis on safety.
The practice goes way back. I was taught this in the Army 40+ years ago and continue to this day.
Army reasoning had to do with being able to get to the engine/battery in the event the vehicle didn’t start and the possible need to leave an area quickly.
I’ve alway found it easier to back into an empty box than back out into traffic in the aisles of a parking lot.
It is also easier because the swinging part of the car (the part with the wheels) is not constrained by the cars on either side. Another way to say it is that the wide swings of the front wheels are less manifested by the back wheels, so one can place the back of the car into a tighter spot as one backs in.
Helps to have rubber pads on the back bumper, though.
The forum ‘General Ergonomics Topics’ is closed to new topics and replies.