The other day I went to pick up a colleague at his hotel, and noticed that almost half of the cars were parked backwards in the spaces that were at 90° angles to the driving lane. So I've been giving it a try, and I actually like it. It's taking some getting used to—I've set up the controls for Driver #2 on the car for side mirrors down so I can see the lane markers at the touch of a button—but it's not that difficult.
There seems to be a reason for it, it cuts down on parking lot accidents (good for me!), and is safer in terms of being able to see people, especially children who might be in your path.
Slate.com: You're Parking Wrong
"When backing in, I have to drive past the slot, then back in. On my way past it, I can look in the slot to ensure it is clear. I have situational awareness, so it is pretty safe to back in. When I leave, I just have to drive out and that is safer than backing out. If I don't back in, when I leave I have to back out into what is basically unknown traffic."
Backing into traffic in parking lots is more hazardous than you might think. Parking lot crash statistics are a bit hazy, particularly for crashes involving only property damage, but a study by the Insurance Institute for Highway Safety in 2001 and 2002 found that 14 percent of all damage claims involved crashes in parking lots (some number of which must have involved vehicles moving in and out of spaces).
As the article from slate.com asks, if the logic of back-in parking is so clear, why doesn't everyone do it?