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Driving tips

Is it safer to back into or drive into
a parking spot?

Published June 20, 2013
6

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Q: Which is the safer way to park: frontwards or backwards?

A: Backing into a parking spot is the method of choice for those who might need to exit quickly and safely, such as emergency vehicles.

Commercial van and truck drivers, having large rear blind spots, typically prefer to head into a vacant double parking spot, so they can drive through to the other side and then head out when exiting.

If they must use a single parking space, most would opt to initially back in (facing stationary obstacles only), rather than have to back out (facing fixed and moving hazards from all sides) when exiting.

In real life, though, many drivers are lacking in reversing skills, particularly into confined parking spaces. I suspect that’s the real reason most drivers — regardless of vehicle size — predominantly head in, then back out of parking lots.

Q: A front licence plate isn’t required in Florida, so can I remove mine when visiting there?

A: Florida DMV did not reply to our inquiry.

In general, visitors are expected to comply with vehicle licensing regulations from their home jurisdiction when travelling. Hence, motorists from single-plate jurisdictions aren’t charged with not displaying two plates in Ontario.

Removing your front plate in Florida might potentially leave you open to charges. For example, Ontario commercial plates, as used on pickups, require the validation sticker on the front plate, so removing it would be a “drive without currently validated tag (plate)” violation.

This information shouldn’t be taken as legal advice or opinion.

Q: The latest Ontario Road Safety Annual Report (for 2010) was finally released in March. It’s already several years old. Why does it take so long to produce?

A: Ontario Transportation Ministry spokesperson Bob Nichols replies:

The Ministry makes every effort to produce the Ontario Road Safety Annual Report in a timely manner.

ORSAR is a compilation of data from several sources, including other ministries.

Collision reports are received in paper form from police services across the province throughout the calendar year and into the early part of the following year. MTO then inputs the information into its Accident Database System and, when necessary, contacts the originating police service to resolve discrepancies or obtain additional information.

The Ministry conducts an annual review of fatality files at the Office of the Chief Coroner to determine the cause of death and other critical details, such as the presence of alcohol, drugs, medical or physical conditions, fatigue or intention among fatally injured drivers and pedestrians. Without such data, production of ORSAR is not possible.

There are more than 200,000 reportable collisions annually in Ontario. Hence, entering and verifying this data is time-consuming and resource-intensive.

To streamline the process, Ontario has recently moved to an electronic data capture system.

Email your non-mechanical questions to Eric Lai at wheels@thestar.ca. Due to the volume of mail, personal replies cannot be provided.

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