i see your orange cone, sir, and will run o’er it



How ’bout a light and airy code word question to start our weekend proper? I had no idea there was such a big debate on whether you should pull straight into a parking space, or back into it (leaving your car facing forward). I definitely have my own preference – and parking lot etiquette has taken over a curious amount of real estate in my mind since spending time in California – but what is yours?

0 thoughts on “i see your orange cone, sir, and will run o’er it

  1. Ellani

    Don’t know where you got the graphic, but the German in it is complete rubbish!!!
    As long as you can park it well, then it’s not a problem with me HOW you do it!

  2. scruggs

    I always drive straight in. I have too much of a track record of hitting inanimate objects to make it more complicated than that. I do sometimes (ok, all the time) roll my eyes if I am behind someone trying to back in because it holds me up. One place where I may consider backing into a space is at church since the Golden Rule doesn’t seem to apply in the parking lot and getting out of your space into traffic in the lot can be daunting.

  3. kent

    @Ellani, I’m not so sure the German is that bad. “Scheiss Drauf” (literally (imperative) “Sh*t Out!”) is a pithy colloquial expression commonly translated as “F*ck it!”
    The rest of it is pretty straightforward except for the trailing infinitive ‘wollen’ — which makes no sense to me. “Just park your car, damn you, you thoughtless twat.”
    Sometimes it’s hard to distinguish highly idiomatic German from things put together (poorly) by non-native speakers. Since I’m one of the non-native speakers, I can’t pass definitive judgement.
    If you ever want to read baffling German, try looking at record reviews on the various sort-of-German-Pitchfork web sites. They’re every bit as slangy as record reviews in English, and usually have several words about which Google Translate knows nothing.

  4. dean

    Some of my pals with large trucks have explained to me that they can’t make the sharp turn needed to enter most parking spaces, so they back the suckas up.
    But, it makes me want to scream when Soccer Mom in the Mercedes does it at school. Really?! Needing to make a fast getaway later?!
    You have hit the nail on the head regarding one of my pet peeves. I hope to see a comment from someone (besides someone with a big truck) defending the backing-in idea.
    Off with their heads!

  5. Bruce Wayne

    I have a turntable platform in my “garage” that allows me to pull into the garage and then it turns my car around for me, so that when I leave, I pull forward.
    It is a necessity for me, as I can never know when Commissioner Gordon is going to shine my “calling card” into the skies, such that I am forced to depart in a hurry.
    I don’t take kids to soccer practice.

  6. Greg T.

    I usually back into the space for one reason: visibility. When I am parking, I know what is in the space and don’t really have to worry about someone or something entering the space while I am parking. When I am pulling back out of the space OTOH, I prefer to be able to see what cars or people are in the lane. This is much harder if I backed in.

  7. xuxE

    the hardcore Bostonian in me says backing in is the correct way.
    pull up as beside the car which is parked in front of the exiting car, leaving a few feet behind sufficient for exiting car to pull out behind you.
    pull back in reverse staying as close to the car on your right without hitting it, and as soon as your car starts to clear it, cut the steering wheel hard toward the curb.
    once your back wheels get close to the curb, cut hard the opposite way and straighten out into the space.
    if someone tries to steal your space, pull up close beside their driver’s side door so they can’t get out and curse at them to see if they will give back the space that is rightfully yours.
    if not, stay in front of their driver’s door, even park or double park there if possible, forcing them to climb over the passenger seat to the opposite door to get out as punishment.

  8. Neva

    Ian, are you talking about parallel parking specifically or all kinds of parking. With parallel parking I always back in, like xuxE describes b/c otherwise I can never get in a space correctly, otherwise I just pull straight in, but I will say that I am much, much better at parking since trading in the minivan for the prius (with the back up camera!).

  9. Ellani

    @Kent: yes, it starts out fine, and with a little goodwill you can translate it, but then it completely degenerates: ‘F–k It. Just park your damn car…’ But ‘du inwissender twat wollen’ is total gibberish. Sounds like a translation program gone awry…

  10. Ian

    Neva, I meant at spots in front of a Target or grocery store. As for parallel parking, isn’t it basically impossible to pull straight in without making 17 adjustments?

  11. Tanya

    Well, it’s a safety rule at our company to back in to a parking space, but only if you cannot find a space that is accessible by pulling through. The reasoning is the same as what Greg T. mentioned above. Visibility and conditions haven’t changed while backing in. Hard to see and things could’ve changed when backing out. My husband rolls his eyes whenever I do it “off company time” but I’ve become a masterbacker. tee hee.


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