Quiz: Backing up
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Backing Up Is Hard To Do: 4 Tips For Backing Up A Car Safely
Backing up a car in a crowded parking lot can be kind of like trying to thread a needle in a dimly lit room. You have to be very precise and be keenly aware of where you’re going. There are certain things that are good to know beforehand as well.
Here are 4 tips for backing up a car safely:
The first thing you want to do when you sit down in a car is put on your seat belt. It doesn’t matter if you’re going across the street or across the country. You are operating a complex machine that weighs thousands of pounds.
You Don’t Need the Gas Pedal Right Now
When you’re reversing you should not have to use the gas pedal in an automatic car. You should only have to use the brake pedal. You don’t need much speed while backing up a car.
If you’re in a manual or a stick shift you’ll have to get a good balance between the gas and the clutch, but if you’re reading this and you’re learning how to reverse in a manual you probably already know what you’re doing with the clutch. A manual car is in neutral by default and when you put it in reverse it’s going from neutral to reverse. In an automatic reverse is automatically supplying gas to the engine which is why you don’t need to apply extra gas.
So we’re going to assume you’re in an automatic car. Hold your foot down on the brake, grab the gear selector, and put it in reverse. It’s not going to move yet.
Before you start check your rearview mirror and both your side mirrors. Take a few seconds to turn your head and look all around the car and look through every window including your rear windshield, the two back passenger windows, your driver’s window, and your passenger window on the right.
Look for any pedestrians, any cars, or any other thing that may be coming your way. Sometimes when there are many cars around you it can be hard to see. Use your best judgment to know when it’s a good time to go.
Ease your foot off the brake just a little until the car is slowly moving. Make sure to go very slowly while meticulously looking around your surroundings both left and right.
There are certain things that your mirror may not show. Check your mirrors as well as looking back right and back left at your surroundings.
Know Which Direction You’re Going Before You Pull Out
It can be hard to remember right from left while you’re looking all around in multiple directions. A good way to remember which way is right or left is to take a minute before you’re backing up a car and look straight ahead at the front of your car.
Remember that while you’re looking at the front of your car, if you turn the car left, the back of your car will go left, if you turn your car right the back of your car will go right. When you turn your head around the way that you perceive things is a little different which can make it a little complicated.
Make Note of How Close You Are to the Cars Beside You
Before you start reversing, look at each car to the right and to the left of you. They should both be about an equal distance from your car. Sometimes one car is parked really close, and in those situations, you will want to back out in the closest car’s direction. For example, if a car is parked closely on your right, you will want to back your car out to the right because the front of your car has more space to avoid hitting the car on your left.
If you’re pulling out to the left start slowly turning left when you’re about halfway out. If you’re pulling out to the right start slowly turning right when you’re about halfway out. The more that you turn the steering wheel the harder of a turn you will make. When backing up you don’t need to turn too hard or too fast.
Know that when you turn the steering wheel left the back of your car will go left, but the front of your car will go right, When you turn your steering wheel right, the back of your car will go right and the front of your car will go left.
The farther that you get away from the cars beside you the more you can turn the steering wheel so that your car is fully turned when you get out of your parking spot and you don’t hit other cars or objects that were behind you when you were parked.
Once the front of your car has completely passed the back of the other cars then you can slowly make a hard turn in the direction you’re going. Once you’ve turned enough so that you can turn the other direction and drive away without hitting the car next to you, Slowly turn the wheel the other way and drive away.
Backing up a car can be hard, but if you’re extra careful you can do it. Make sure to continue to always be looking around your surrounding, even when you’re almost done backing up and you’re about to drive away.
It’s okay to go as slow as you need, don’t feel pressured to go too fast to please other people that may be waiting for your spot.