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Riddle Me This…
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ghporter
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Jan 9, 2023, 07:27 PM
 
This isn’t a thread for stuff that goes in the “Questions you always wanted to ask” thread. I’m thinking of this more as a place for stuff that gets under people’s skins. Like my starting issue…

Why do so many people back into parking spots, regardless of traffic in the parking area, regardless of whether or not they can actually back their vehicle safely, and regardless of how their (often really poor) parking affects others?

Glenn -----OTR/L, MOT, Tx
     
reader50
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Jan 9, 2023, 09:01 PM
 
So they won't have to back into traffic when they leave. If there are large cars parked beside you, you can't see oncoming traffic. So you have to back up on faith, and hope a careless driver doesn't take away your car. Huge hit on your insurance, especially with the damage to the neighboring parked car. And higher rates for years to come.

But an empty parking spot doesn't move around, and shouldn't have any cross traffic. So back into it, keeping the actual cross traffic in view all the time. Your car lasts years longer. Your driving record stays clean. And your insurance goes up - but only by the typical annual hit.

I just added a rear camera to my pickup, so I don't have to back into traffic blind. Before that, I would park that vehicle parallel, or way back in the parking lot, beyond most cars. Because I'm not that much into faith - my belief is the bad drivers are out to get you.
     
Thorzdad
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Jan 9, 2023, 10:46 PM
 
Some of the greatest moments in a driver’s life are when you pull into a parking space and discover you can pull through to the space in front of you, so you don’t have to back out.
     
ShortcutToMoncton
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Jan 10, 2023, 12:23 AM
 
Reverse (backing) parking is safer.
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Laminar
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Jan 10, 2023, 09:25 AM
 
Sounds like a minor irritant.
     
ghporter  (op)
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Jan 10, 2023, 10:43 AM
 
It would be minor, and I’d go with safer, if even most of the people who back in did so better than half-assed. Which they don’t, at least around here.

Pulling through is different. The only big deal there is making sure you’ve pulled all the way through, and you’re not blocking the spot behind you. Which again is something folks around here don’t do properly.

I think one key issue for me is that when one backs into a parking spot, it usually takes a bit more time, and often quite a bit more maneuvering room. So if it’s a busy lot, backing in will get in the way of other drivers trying to park or leave. And not one damn is given by most of the people around here who back in.

Another issue is that backing a big pickup truck takes quite a bit more attention to detail. And there are a lot of large trucks around here. I think I’ve already expressed what I think about the majority of people who drive always-pristine, never been used for a load, pickup trucks.

I applaud the now nearly universal backup camera. I use mine a lot. But I think a lot of “drivers” think it means they don’t have to keep any situational awareness. “I’m backing up using my backup camera, so I can ignore everything else.”

Ideally, every driver would maintain awareness of what’s around them all the time. We all know that’s not going to happen with even a fraction of people behind the wheel. To me, most of the people I see backing into parking spaces completely ignore the rest of the world when they park. So they block access while they’re parking, and they don’t position their vehicle properly in the space, essentially taking up an extra space (or more). I see that as impolite at the very least.

Safe driving should include awareness of what’s around you, and at least a little bit of sharing. And the way backing into parking spaces is done here I don’t see either happening.

Glenn -----OTR/L, MOT, Tx
     
Laminar
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Jan 10, 2023, 10:53 AM
 
Any extra time taken up by backing into a spot is made up for by not having to back out of it, right?
     
Thorzdad
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Jan 10, 2023, 11:00 AM
 
I recall, way back in the mists of time, backing into a parking spot was part of driver education, the same as parallel parking. I know I was drilled on both, anyway.

That said, I can’t imagine trying either maneuver in any of the behemoths so many people drive today. Parking slots are barely big enough to fit a pickup/suv/etc. when they park straight in, let alone trying to back one into a slot.
     
ShortcutToMoncton
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Jan 10, 2023, 11:15 AM
 
Personal grievances aside, if I recall correctly reverse parking is the statistically safer practice. In fact I believe there are a number of companies that mandate reverse parking in company-owned lots or vehicles.

(Glenn, you’re in Houston - Schlumberger used to be one of those companies, not sure about now.)
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Laminar
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Jan 10, 2023, 11:56 AM
 
I can kind of see why - if someone is backing into a spot, they're already moving and have pulled near the spot, so everyone expects them to keep moving. Then when you pull out of the spot, your first movement is forward where you have the most visibility of everything around you.

If you're backing out from a parking spot, your car has been stationary for a long time, and the first movement backwards is both unexpected to bystanders and in a direction where you have very poor visibility.

And yes, anyone that willingly daily drives a truck is a psychopath. They're horrible and I hate my life. Well, one time I found a Power Wheels on the curb that I was able to throw into the bed on a whim, but other than that it's a nightmare.
     
subego
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Jan 10, 2023, 12:26 PM
 
Originally Posted by reader50 View Post
or way back in the parking lot, beyond most cars.
A peeve of mine is passengers who act like a 300 foot walk is the march out of Egypt.
     
Laminar
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Jan 10, 2023, 12:32 PM
 
Prove them right by pelting them with bread from the sky.
     
ghporter  (op)
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Jan 10, 2023, 01:30 PM
 
Laminar, the driver’s time spent is a wash. But what about the OTHER drivers? As I said, in a busy lot, backing in can get in the way of a lot of other people, and they do NOT get any later benefit out of the fact that that one driver is backing in.

Shortcut, there’s a difference with company vehicles and Joe backing his “only uses it to run to the grocery store” pickup. AT&T requires their drivers to place orange traffic cones behind their company vehicles when they park - so whether straight in or backed in, the AT&T vehicle is going to have visible cones. I’ll also point out that somebody driving a company vehicle will be held liable for any damage to that vehicle, as well as damage the vehicle does to other vehicles - this tends to make such drivers more attentive…or fired.

And I completely agree about people who somehow must park as close as possible to wherever they’re going. Including the gym. Unless I have something heavy or bulky to take INTO where I’m going, I will park where I can find a spot - that isn’t badly encroached on by other, badly parked cars. I will walk from the back of a parking lot, by choice. Of course I have a different angle on this walking stuff, being both a rehab therapist and the proud owner of certain aftermarket parts involved in walking.

Glenn -----OTR/L, MOT, Tx
     
subego
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Jan 10, 2023, 01:43 PM
 
Originally Posted by Laminar View Post
pelting them with bread
Great. Now I’ve got fucking Smashmouth in my head.
     
Laminar
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Jan 10, 2023, 01:46 PM
 
Originally Posted by ghporter View Post
Laminar, the driver’s time spent is a wash. But what about the OTHER drivers? As I said, in a busy lot, backing in can get in the way of a lot of other people, and they do NOT get any later benefit out of the fact that that one driver is backing in.
Right....and what about the people that sit and wait while you back out? Would they be better off if you had backed in so that you could drive straight out?

In both cases you're backing up at some point. In both cases people are waiting for you to back up.
     
ghporter  (op)
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Jan 10, 2023, 01:55 PM
 
It strikes me that I may be reacting to a local phenomenon. People operating motor vehicles (I can’t honestly call a lot of them “drivers”) in and around San Antonio are clearly different from people doing the same thing elsewhere.

For example, drivers in Houston go fast and don’t leave much space between their car and other cars. But the vast majority of freeway drivers in Houston do the same thing, so traffic is pretty smooth.

Here in San Antonio there are a number of different styles of driving, from “zombies” to “cattle” to “daredevils” to “really too afraid to be driving anywhere”. And it doesn’t matter what part of town, what time of day, or anything. Since everybody is doing their own thing, often faster than is safe for conditions, traffic is scarier and has far more snags than I’ve seen in Houston.

So maybe it’s these San Antonio “back in to park” people that bug me, rather than the whole concept.

Glenn -----OTR/L, MOT, Tx
     
Laminar
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Jan 10, 2023, 02:00 PM
 
What's the time difference between people waiting for someone to back in, and people waiting for someone to back out? How could that in any way, shape, or form vary geographically?
     
reader50
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Jan 10, 2023, 04:15 PM
 
I think he means crazy drivers prefer to live in San Antonio.

It might be true. We have crazies around here, but honestly, I don't run into them often. Brake checkers are rare here, etc.
     
Laminar
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Jan 10, 2023, 04:43 PM
 
Originally Posted by reader50 View Post
I think he means crazy drivers prefer to live in San Antonio.
It felt like a deflection from acknowledging that no matter how you pull into a parking space, you have to back up at some point.
     
subego
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Jan 10, 2023, 05:01 PM
 
Backing in requires a lot more skill than backing out.

Likewise, there are times when backing in will exacerbate a cluster.
     
Spheric Harlot
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Jan 11, 2023, 08:01 AM
 
There is a HUGE safety difference between slowing and stopping in “traffic” (such as it is in a parking lot) and then backing into a parking space, with the surrounding drivers aware of what’s happening, and backing OUT of a parking space into moving traffic you cannot see.

In Japan, it is standard technique to back into parking spaces. Everybody does it.
     
Laminar
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Jan 11, 2023, 09:46 AM
 
Originally Posted by subego View Post
Backing in requires a lot more skill than backing out.

Likewise, there are times when backing in will exacerbate a cluster.
I tested it this morning for fun. From stopped to stopped, it took me 15 seconds to back into a spot and 11 seconds to back out of one. Side note, pulling forward into the spot took me two tries because I got a bad angle and the truck has a horrible turning radius.
     
subego
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Jan 11, 2023, 12:46 PM
 
If I have the correct angle, I can drive a car into a spot without stopping. Effective time: zero seconds.

I know you can do this too.
     
reader50
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Jan 11, 2023, 01:53 PM
 
He was timing the backup portion of the procedures. Not the forward portion.
     
ghporter  (op)
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Jan 11, 2023, 02:49 PM
 
I think San Antonio attracts a diverse group of people. There are a lot of military people here who come from who knows where (along with family members), and they bring their driving styles.

Lots of people visit from Mexico; During Holy Week the number of luxe cars with Mexican plates is astonishing, as is how badly these vehicles are driven. I personally think these visitors are showing off - it may help their cred back home, but they just look like awful tourists here.

We have a major medical and dental school, a branch of Texas A&M University, The University of Texas at San Antonio (UTSA), University of the Incarnate Word, St. Mary’s University, Our Lady of the Lake University, Trinity University, Wayland Baptist University, Webster University, and several campuses of the Alamo Colleges (community colleges). People literally come from all over to attend these schools. And they bring whatever kind of driving they did “back home.”

So right there, there could be a really big reason for chaotic, and “I don’t care about the rest of the world” driving styles here. Maybe crazy people also congregate here, but it’s kind of hard to tell, given how crazy many features of this metro area have become.

Glenn -----OTR/L, MOT, Tx
     
Laminar
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Jan 11, 2023, 03:38 PM
 
Originally Posted by subego View Post
If I have the correct angle, I can drive a car into a spot without stopping. Effective time: zero seconds.

I know you can do this too.
Depending on the turning radius of the vehicle, the width of the available spot, and the width of the driveable parking lot, the right angle may be literally impossible in one try. There are times I literally can't swing out wide enough to get into the right spot in one try.
     
subego
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Jan 11, 2023, 04:59 PM
 
Originally Posted by reader50 View Post
He was timing the backup portion of the procedures. Not the forward portion.
D’oh!
     
ShortcutToMoncton
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Jan 12, 2023, 07:37 AM
 
So a very slight time difference (if any) for a much safer approach.

This seems like a super easy riddle.
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Spheric Harlot
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Jan 12, 2023, 07:43 AM
 
Originally Posted by Laminar View Post
I tested it this morning for fun. From stopped to stopped, it took me 15 seconds to back into a spot and 11 seconds to back out of one. Side note, pulling forward into the spot took me two tries because I got a bad angle and the truck has a horrible turning radius.
If you hadn't bought such a pussymobile, but a REAL tank, that would be a moot issue. Those can turn on the spot.
     
Laminar
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Jan 12, 2023, 09:17 AM
 
BRB buying a Hummer

     
Spheric Harlot
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Jan 12, 2023, 01:59 PM
 
Originally Posted by Laminar View Post
BRB buying a Hummer

Ah, the manly crabwalk.

Kinda irrelevant on second thought, because that thing just backs OVER parking spaces rather than INTO them.
     
Laminar
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Jan 12, 2023, 03:56 PM
 
     
ghporter  (op)
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Jan 13, 2023, 08:13 PM
 
Originally Posted by ShortcutToMoncton View Post
So a very slight time difference (if any) for a much safer approach.

This seems like a super easy riddle.
Again, it’s ONLY a slight time difference for the person parking. The other people waiting to get past that person (to enter or leave the lot) have to wait for that person to fiddle around with their position, after their personal maneuvers to back in. It may be safer for the person backing in, but it’s inconveniencing other people, and unless it’s done by everyone, all the time, it can startle or confuse other drivers.

Glenn -----OTR/L, MOT, Tx
     
Laminar
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Jan 14, 2023, 07:43 PM
 
You're still missing it?
     
Spheric Harlot
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Jan 14, 2023, 08:06 PM
 
Originally Posted by ghporter View Post
It may be safer for the person backing in, but it’s inconveniencing other people, and unless it’s done by everyone, all the time, it can startle or confuse other drivers.
You literally just pitted safety against inconvenience, and safety lost.

I’m speechless.
     
ShortcutToMoncton
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Jan 15, 2023, 12:02 AM
 
Originally Posted by ghporter View Post
Again, it’s ONLY a slight time difference for the person parking. The other people waiting to get past that person (to enter or leave the lot) have to wait for that person to fiddle around with their position, after their personal maneuvers to back in. It may be safer for the person backing in, but it’s inconveniencing other people, and unless it’s done by everyone, all the time, it can startle or confuse other drivers.
No. It is literally safer for everyone.

From an inconvenience standpoint, it’s already been alluded to a few times above, but: isn’t it almost the exact same traffic delay for someone backing out of their spot? Except in that situation, that same turrible driver in that too-big vehicle is coming out backwards into moving traffic. That’s the risk you’d prefer?

I’m honestly scratching my head on this stance. Except in certain narrow circumstances, reverse parking is almost always safer and better, and causes less accidents. There is almost literally no downside, except you have to stop when they are backing in instead of when they’re backing out.

Simply putting, taking a strong stance against reverse parking…feels like some sort of hot take?
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subego
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Jan 15, 2023, 01:23 AM
 
It’s ultimately a question of being in the way.

If there’s a car behind me, pulling in gets me out of the way the fastest.

I always back into my garage, except when the street is a cluster. Then I pull in to get out of the way.
     
ghporter  (op)
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Jan 15, 2023, 11:16 PM
 
The big assumption being made is that the person backing in is doing so in as safe and efficient a manner as possible. This may be the point that bugs me about backing in here in San Antonio: most of the people I see backing in are NOT behaving as if they are aware of anything else in the world but themselves and the spot they want. Sometimes they just zip in and block access to the vehicles on either side, and other times they spend a substantial amount of time adjusting, though the “improvements” in the vehicle’s position in the parking space may be minimal.

I’ve seen many people (usually in trucks) back in part way, then suddenly and rapidly burst out forward without noting the movement of other vehicles around them. The “almost collisions” I’ve seen have been scary.

Others have wheeled around past the parking spot and stopped so suddenly that it seemed that they only just noticed that parking spot. And they rapidly back in. And often - not just in this sort of case - they are so far off being centered that they block access to cars on one side of that spot.

The folks around here who actually can back in safely are rare.

So, let’s posit that, given competent drivers, backing in is safer in all cases. I’m comfortable with that. But do the safety stats account for the percentage of drivers who ARE actually competent in this maneuver?

When I mentioned other people waiting for the one backing in, I only said “waiting.” I did not include the element of “what is this guy actually trying to do?” It may be the abysmal quality of Texas driver training, it may simply be that here in San Antonio most drivers don’t bother thinking beyond their own bumpers.

But HERE, I do not see the waiting part as mere inconvenience. It’s more anxiously waiting to see what happens next. Will they have to back away as the guy parking readjusts, and will there be another car behind them that keeps them fro being able to back out of the way? Will someone try to go around them and block the guy parking? Since this kind of parking is done in such an inconsistent manner, “you never know what you’re going to get.”

In my OP, if I’d included the randomness, lack of situational awareness, poor ability to center in the parking space, and the other items I’ve since brought up, would my gripe have seemed as “anti-safety” as it apparently has? My whole point was that the lack of attention, skill and coordination WITH backing in is a problem. Around here I see it as a problem with backing into parking spaces, but that’s apparently an indication of how severely bad so many local drivers are.

Glenn -----OTR/L, MOT, Tx
     
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Jan 16, 2023, 12:04 AM
 
First, I would assume the stats account for all drivers of all abilities.

Second, then what’s the difference with this entire swath of subpar drivers backing out into moving traffic? If they’re so dangerous in stopping and reverse parking, how aren’t they even more dangerous trying to get out in reverse…except in that instance you have no idea they’re coming?

Third, are there metrics to show that San Antonio drivers are so much worse than anywhere else? The US seems to have advanced stats on every factor of life, do you have rankings of worst driver cities?

Finally—as Laminar alluded above, large vehicles are typically safer to park in reverse because their turning radius sucks. (I’m assuming it’s why that Hummer has the crazy rear steering?) Anyone who’s spent much time driving a full-size pickup will tell you that parking headfirst is super tough if you have to make that 90-degree turn in a parking lot. Unless there’s double spots, I’d always reverse park a larger pickup.
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Jan 16, 2023, 01:31 AM
 
First Google hit says for 2020, Texas and North Carolina are tied for 7th worst in the country.
     
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Jan 17, 2023, 05:01 PM
 
It looks like subego’s located a good point. Crappy drivers in Texas (and North Carolina)…. I’m slightly afraid to learn where the other 6 “worst drivers” are.

Bad drivers backing out aren’t substantially better or worse than crappy drivers backing in. But at least backup lights tell other people that a specific vehicle is in reverse, and they can be dodged/avoided/waited for. With backing into parking spaces, only the parking space knows when the vehicle is in reverse; everybody else has to sort of guess what the driver backing into the space is doing, will do next, etc.

I feel better that it appears the vast majority of people drive much better than my fellow South Texans. And that would include how most people back in to park.

It’s kind of amazing how a person can get caught up in how their little piece of the world operates, and not be particularly aware of how the rest of the world runs. And here I thought I was all “well informed” and stuff. I guess I just proved myself wrong on that.

Glenn -----OTR/L, MOT, Tx
     
subego
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Jan 18, 2023, 08:39 PM
 
Different link, supposedly more up-to-date. Has Texas tied with North Carolina for 7th worst this time.

6: Arizona
5: California
4: Florida (driven a bunch there, can believe it)
3: Tennessee
2: Nevada

And, drumroll…

1: Mississippi! We’re #1!
     
ghporter  (op)
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Feb 1, 2023, 03:46 PM
 
While vacationing in West Texas, I had a chance to see a whole different group of drivers. Two groups, actually.

The locals who backed into parking spaces were much better than just about any San Antonio driver at backing in. They were clearly aware of their surroundings, signaled their intentions, and were pretty efficient at it.

The tourist crowd was not that way. People from all over the country come to Big Bend National Park, and many of them drive “off road capable” vehicles, festooned with stickers from parks all over the nation. And the ones that back into parking spaces are bad at it. Some are really bad.

So I’ve figured out that first, my observations that led to starting this thread are completely colored by how awful San Antonio drivers are at pretty much every part of driving*. And that many people elsewhere who routinely back into spaces, in large or small vehicles, seem to have actually learned how to do it well. And finally, there are a lot of people from all over who seem to very wrongly think that they can maneuver their large vehicle as if it were a Mitsubishi Eclipse.

*Early in January, I watched a semi towing a large dump trailer weave in and out of traffic as if the driver was trying out for “Fast and Furious XII”. It was quite scary, but it’s an example of how vehicles here are operated…

Glenn -----OTR/L, MOT, Tx
     
subego
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Feb 28, 2023, 05:11 PM
 
So, let’s say you’ve got to put “outrigger” feet on something so it won’t tip over. Something tall and wide, but thin, like so…



Is there a height based equation for that? I know the center of gravity will play a role too, but I thought maybe there’s a simplified equation if it’s known the center of gravity will be lower than halfway up.
     
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Feb 28, 2023, 05:31 PM
 
Is there any wind involved? Possible outdoor use?

This is an aspect ratio problem. Assuming no wind, it scales independent of size or weight. The narrower you make it, the less stable it'll be. Just a matter of where your personal comfort zone is. Eyeballing your picture, the manufacturer chose a ~5 to 1 aspect ratio. The lower the center of gravity, the narrower you could go while retaining the same stability. I never took structural engineering, so no equations, sorry.

Note that there is "wind" even in a closed room, whenever you roll it around. When the kids race around on it, the wind will be stronger.
     
andi*pandi
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Feb 28, 2023, 05:43 PM
 
I don't think the chalkboard pictured was designed to withstand wind. So I would estimate both a larger foot, and braces going up to the vertical support, like triangles....

or an easel design, with weights on the feet?

Will it need to move or can it anchor like a real estate sign?
     
subego
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Feb 28, 2023, 07:28 PM
 
Thank you both! Excellent responses!

This is going to be a “theater flat”, with background scenery painted on it, but it’s going to be on casters to facilitate easy maneuvering (by middle school children) on and off stage when needed.

So, thankfully, no outdoors. Actual dimensions of the “flat” part are going to be around 7 feet tall by 4.75 feet wide. If I use 1x3s, that’s 2.5 inches wide. This will be attached to a base made out of 2x4s, which will have the outriggers and casters. That’ll give it some weight at the bottom, and I can add more in a pinch.

The one thing going for me is the big flat part is painted fabric, so it’s not really expected to take any significant, head-on force to the flat side. The intuitive way to push it around is from the frame. Likewise, since it’s on casters, those will suck up some tip forces put on it.
     
Laminar
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Mar 1, 2023, 10:06 AM
 
When the center of gravity is no longer above the outriggers, it will tip. The shorter the outriggers, the greater the percentage of pushing force gets translated into tipping force. The correct design will depend entirely on your casters - if you assume worst case scenario where they're all four swivel casters oriented 90 degrees to the push direction, then all of the force is tipping force until the casters swivel correctly. So it's not really a simple a + b = c equation. You could start by making really long outriggers and try the casters at narrower and narrower locations until you find the stability limit that you're comfortable with, then cut down the outriggers to just the right length.

With middle schoolers, I'd put a good margin of safety in there both because you don't want them injured and because they're a good chance they'll get a rough with them once or twice.
     
subego
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Mar 1, 2023, 11:13 AM
 
Originally Posted by Laminar View Post
because you don't want them injured
Party pooper!

I put 1 foot outriggers (with no casters) on my 6x4 prototype because I had 1 foot cribbing on hand. They worked better than I imagined, so I’m thinking 2 foot with some extra weight at the bottom will be good enough.

One advantage to middle schoolers is they’re mostly short stacks, so they’re going to be muscling it around closer to the CoG.

Also, thanks for putting into words the idea that keeping the CoG within the outriggers is the goal.
     
Laminar
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Location: Iowa, how long can this be? Does it really ruin the left column spacing?
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Mar 1, 2023, 11:41 AM
 
You could always drape a sandbag over the outrigger to add super stability at the cost of slightly higher push effort.
     
 
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