Reverse parking vs forward parking: Which is better?

Arif · Oct 03, 2020 08:00 AM

When obtaining a Malaysian driver’s license, the only type of parking you are tested for is parallel parking. Other parking methods like perpendicular parking, double parking, and angle parking are not tested. Mainly because parallel parking requires a little bit more skill and concentration.

"chup" parking. Photo: Uber Ad

The most common type of parking today is perpendicular parking, since it offers the most efficient use of space. Perpendicuar parking just means that the car is parked perpendicularly (90°) to a road/curb/wall.

There are two ways to park in a perpendicular box – forward parking and reverse parking. Each of us have a preference of one method over the other. Unless the parking lot has “reverse parking only” signs, you’re free to choose between the two.

Reverse parking allows you to leave faster in case of an emergency, while forward parking allows quicker entry. Some say that reverse parking is safer and some say that forward parking saves valuable time. Do you agree with these statements? Let’s go over the benefits of each method.

Benefits of forward parking

Forward parking. Photo

1. Easier and faster entry

For new and inexperienced drivers, forward parking is much easier. The parking spot is in clear view and you don’t have to rely much on your mirrors to align the car. Reverse parking can be a little disorientating to less experienced drivers.

If you still haven't got the hang of reverse parking, take some time to practise.

Forward parking entry is also faster. If you feel like your reverse parking skills may cause a congestion behind you, proceed with forward parking.

2. Better access to the trunk

If you’re grocery shopping or loading some luggage for long-distance travelling, having the tail out is a lot more convenient.

Benefits of reverse parking

1. Better view (if equipped with rear view camera)


Unless equipped with surround view, modern cars are usually equipped with a rear-view camera only. Hence your view of the rear becomes much better than your view of the front, especially concerning low objects like tree stumps, children, and small animals.

2. More manoeuvrable entry

Photo: telegraph

Cars are much more manoeuvrable in tight spots when in reverse. Unless you have four-wheel-steering, only the front wheels turn when you turn the steering wheel. This makes the car pivot around the back end, making reverse entry much more manageable in tight spaces.

Forklifts steer with the rear wheels. Photo: Meridian Leasing

Ever wondered why forklifts have rear-wheel-steering? It allows precise manoeuvring and sharp turns.

Whether its reverse parking or forward parking, you will still have to do a reversing manoeuvre, be it for either entering or exiting the parking space.

Reverse parking is safer since you are reversing into an empty space instead of moving traffic.

3. Safer and easier exit


With a reverse-parked car, you get a clear view of the road you are about to pull out into. The wider field of vision allows you to exit more safely and there is less second-guessing of crossing traffic.

Some cars are equipped with Rear Cross Traffic Alert Systems, but driving forward out of a parking box gives you much better situational awareness.

In an emergency situation, a reverse-parked car is much easier to pull out with.

4. Easy to access the engine


Besides being safer to exit with, reverse-parked cars also have more accessible engine bays. Unless you have a portable jump starter, reverse parking is more convenient if your car has a weak battery.

Just like how forward parking makes the boot more accessible, reverse parking makes the engine bay more accessible.


Reverse parking may be a little bit harder to master for new drivers. Once you’ve got the hang of it though, it does offer some additional benefits over forward parking.

Some situations call for forward parking and some situations call for reverse parking. Whether you prefer forward parking or reverse parking, what is more important is that you park your car well-aligned within the box.