It's not a common practice in Maine or even the entire country, but AAA recommends people change their habits by backing into parking spaces.

In my recent trip to Hannaford in Portland, I was the only one in my row of spaces who backed in. I do this whenever I can because no matter how hard I try, I'm afraid of someone hitting me or worse yet me hitting someone walking by without seeing them. I've received my fair share of horn honks because I'm in the lane of traffic a little longer to stop and reverse into the space, but AAA says it's much safer.

Ideally, they recommend pull-through parking, where you find two spots back to back and pull through one to park in the other facing the lane of traffic. With this move, you never have to back up, which is the safety issues. With all the new modern technology designed to help drivers back up like collision detection and rear view cameras, the danger still exists.

In a study conducted by AAA and, researchers found that these devices failed more often than you would think. in tests conducted, 60% of the time these systems failed to detect pedestrians, 48% of the time they didn't detect motorcycles, 40% bicycles and 30% passing vehicles. And no system was found to show 100% of the space behind the vehicle.

So while the pull-through method of parking is the best, you're lucky when you can find it, especially at Hannaford in Portland or any store right now during the busy holiday shopping season. Your next safest bet is to back into a space since the chance of you colliding with a pedestrian or car or greatly reduced compared to backing out the space.