Monday 27 February 2023



Inside a shopping centre car park, you’ll have the option of parking forwards or reversing into a parking space.  While parking straight in may be quicker, reversing in can be a safer and a slightly more economical option.

Whether parking forwards or in reverse, you should check that the parking space is empty and no shopping trolleys left inside the space or any other potential obstruction.  Also, keep an eye out for pedestrian traffic.  Manoeuvring your car in at low speed should allow you control to park carefully.  At this stage, reversing into an empty parking spot will pose less risk than reversing out into any traffic.

Outside of showing off your parking skill, the reasoning for reversing into a parking spot is quite strong.  When reversing, the wheels doing the steering are at the back making your car more manoeuvrable.  When exiting forwards from the parking spot, it’s a lot easier to spot potential hazards and merge into traffic.

Furthermore, should you park your car long enough for the engine to cool down, it will be more economical to reverse into a parking spot while the engine is warm.  An internal combustion engine will use more fuel when it is cold, so you can potentially use slightly more fuel when reversing and manoeuvring out of a parking spot.  Driving forwards instead of reversing out will save fuel,  reduce a little vehicle wear & tear, and not to forget it’s a safer way to merge with traffic.

As reversing into parking spaces is considered an economical and safer practice, some worksites require vehicles to be reversed into parking spots.  Mine sites commonly exercise this as a rule for parking.

Of course, there are some advantages to parking in forwards.  You will have more visibility when moving forwards and if parking carefully, there’s less risk of bumping another vehicle.  When loading your vehicle with groceries from a shopping trolley, you’ll have much easier access to the boot of your car.  When reversing out, provided you use your mirrors and effectively check your surroundings, safety should not be a big problem.

In conclusion, the decision to move in forwards or reverse into a parking spot is between safety and economy versus convenience.  When learning to drive, take the opportunity to learn and practice both methods of parking your vehicle.

There are various methods of reversing into a parking by.  Here are a couple of videos which demonstrate how it can be done.  Of course, the best way is to get out there and have a go at parking your car - if it doesn't work perfectly, try again.  A lesson with a professional driving instructor is strongly recommended.

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