Why don’t other drivers stop to let you back out anymore?

You just got back to your car after doing a little shopping and, of course, the parking spaces on both sides of your car are now occupied by gigantic, extra-long trucks that not only parked way too close and made you have to suck it all in just to be able to squeeze into your ride, but also make it impossible to see if there’s any traffic behind you while you attempt to back out. A few years back, this wasn’t a problem as some nice person would probably stop their car and allow you to back out, giving you peace of mind and, more importantly, not creating a crash. But, that’s not the case anymore as most drivers just seem to keep driving right behind you.

So why doesn’t anyone stop to let people back out these days? Here are some theories:

1) People are just too damn busy now. There is no time to wait, not even 20 seconds, for someone to back out of a parking spot because everyone is so important now that they won’t wait a fraction of a minute for you to back out or even 10 seconds for a Netflix show to load without freaking out.

2) People are mean. Everyone is just pissed off now and, well,  fuck you, it’s their world and while they barely tolerate you being in it, they will absolutely not do anything even remotely nice or human-like for you.

3) People assume technology will take care of it.  Cars have those cameras now showing a blurry fish eye view of what’s directly behind you.  You’ll obviously be fine.

4) People are all on their phones. It’s not that people are too busy for you or mean spirited, they are all just trying to reply to their group texts while they should be focused on driving, but it’s a parking lot and they feel like there probably won’t be a cop around to bust them – plus they are super devious because they are holding their phone low and out of view of the law and, therefore, untouchable. They would stop for you if they saw you, but all they see now is their screen. This is my best guess.

Anyway, if you happen to see someone attempting to back out of a parking space at the mall or Trader Joe’s or the Olive Garden, try stopping and giving them that nice wave to signal that you are a decent human being and they may back their car out with ease. But, pay close attention, because if they don’t give you a thank you wave in return, well, then you can question why you did a such a nice thing for such a terrible person.


  1. I learned years ago that my impatience while driving was only hurting myself. I started changing the way I drive & it completely changed my stress levels in most other aspects of my life. When at a stop sign, I always motion to give the other driver(s) the right of way, regardless if I arrived 1st. Most people smile & wave back. I no longer get upset about missed parking spots or stopping so a car can back out. All the stress over that stuff was not necessary & fully within my control.

  2. It’s really simple. When you’re backing up, you don’t have the right-of-way. If you hit a forward-moving car when you’re backing out of a parking spot, the authorities will deem it your fault. You have a greater duty of care backing out than the person moving forward.

    That’s what happened to me when someone drinking coffee in their car hit my car as I was backing out one time. My argument that they weren’t paying attention didn’t go far, even though they had coffee all over them after the crash. You’re right that it’s difficult to back up sometimes, but that’s life.

    Is it courteous for someone to stop to let you back up? Maybe, but you shouldn’t expect it, and it may just create its own problems. It’s like the guy who’s first at a four-way stop, but wants you to go ahead of him. Yeah, he’s trying to be nice, but It just creates confusion. There’s a reason for right-of-way rules that everyone is supposed to follow, and one of them is to eliminate the uncertainty about how these situations work.

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