“Park to Leave” or “First Move Forward” is a policy of many of our customers. For those of you who are not familiar with these terms it means you need to be parked in a place where you can jump in your vehicle and leave the location without getting tangled up with other people trying to leave in a hurry. Ideally, the location is arranged in such a way that everyone can drive forward into a parking place and continue forward out of it.
One argument for first move forward is that drilling rigs can be hazardous places and everyone may need to evacuate in a hurry. Anytime you park where the parking lot is going to empty quickly, like a movie theater or sports event, you will improve your chances of getting out unscathed if your first move is forward where you can clearly see the other cars pulling out. From our experience with motor vehicle accidents, it is clear that backing up in a parking lot is about the most dangerous thing you can do. I have a dedicated parking spot at the office. If I drive in head first, then I can’t see oncoming traffic as I back up until my truck is halfway across the driveway. When I back in I can check the driveway and wait for traffic. I can check behind me before I start and be pretty certain that no one else is going to be driving in that same space. I try to do the same when I am parking anywhere. The best spot is one where you drive forward to get in and drive forward to get out. These can often be found in parking lots but you probably have to park further from your destination. The next best option is to back into a spot that has no parking behind it. This can be found on the edges of a lot.
I don’t always find an ideal spot to park but I try to find a spot without cars on both sides. This means I walk further. Is that such a bad thing? Some parking lots are not designed with full size pickups in mind. They are usually pretty and hold a lot of cars per acre but there are sharp turns and not a lot of room between rows. Solution? Just don’t go in. Park elsewhere and walk in. The time spent jockeying into a small space, risk of scratched doors and the difficulty of getting out will consume as much time as a little walking.