This paper was produced as a response to a query from one of our members.

To Reverse or Not to Reverse, for that is the Question?

The Problem:

Does anyone have a policy of only reverse parking and if so what rationale did you use to implement it?

There are a myriad of moments during everyday life when a common behaviour may be performed in one of two ways, cleaving the world into two feuding camps. There are those that insist driving forward into a car park is trading short-term gain for long-term pain while many individuals maintain that going in forward is the natural thing to do. Then there are your sensible fence sitters which maintain that it depends on the circumstance. So all in all, some find it easier pulling in forwards, some find it easier reversing, no biggie…right?

The Royal Society for the Prevention of Accidents said: “In general it is preferable to allow the driver a choice, depending on the car park layout or circumstance.”


The Institute of Advanced Motorists (IAM) said: “reversing into a space meant cars were in a safer position for pulling away.”

A few common arguments for and against:


  • You shouldn’t reverse out into a stream of traffic.
  • When going in reverse your steering wheels are at the back so you can manoeuvre the car more accurately
  • More visibility of pedestrians and potential obstructions
  • Load the trunk of your car while standing in the way of traffic
  • When people arrive they are mentally fresh and quite aware of their surroundings


  • You are going forwards into a small space and reversing into a big space
  • If you use your mirrors and look around before reversing out, safety should not be an issue
  • Reversing into a park means that people exit faster from a parking space and will be less vigilant on their way out
  • loading groceries when one’s trunk was nestled up close to another vehicle can be difficult
  • Head in parking minimizes the risk of denting an adjacent parked car