Businesses looking to cut costs often overlook parking within their company car guidance.
However, in these times it’s worth looking at all aspects of a fleet policy to make savings. With 20% of car accidents occurring at parking speeds, a reverse-parking policy can result in savings on insurance and repair costs.
Around one in five of all car accidents happen when parking, according to safety experts. However, this can be significantly cut by reversing into a parking space rather than driving in forwards.
The primary reason that reversing into a space is better than reversing out of one is visibility. If you take the extra time to reverse into a space in a car park, then you will have to drive past it, and can check it’s really clear and empty, and not occupied by another car, bike, debris or even a person.
Martin Starkey, training manager at driver safety firm TTC Group, explains: “Follow the advanced-driving mantra that you are unlikely to hit anything that you see and you should always park to leave, not park to arrive.
“The Highway Code dresses this up a little differently by saying you should always reverse from a ‘major into a minor’, and not the other way around (which reversing out of a parking bay is).”
It’s also much easier to reverse into a space than it is to reverse out of it.
As Starkey points out: “When you are reversing into a bay, the chances of that parking space being filled while you are performing the manoeuvre is very low. However, the chances of the road behind you being filled while you are reversing out of a bay is very likely, meaning there is a greater chance of encountering something that you have not seen.”
Most drivers won’t think about mechanical sympathy, but reversing out of a space with a cold engine is less efficient and uses more fuel than just slotting first gear or Drive and pulling out smoothly first time.
It’s a point highlighted by Rebecca Ashton, head of policy and research at the driver improvement organisation IAM Roadsmart. She says: “Reversing into a parking space means the engine is running and warm, so therefore will be producing less emissions than a cold engine. You should also remember that a cold engine is also likely to emit more water vapour, which could obscure your vision to the rear.”
While this may not be an issue in the company car park, you never know when you’ll need a quick getaway. If you’re facing forward, you’re at an immediate advantage. This is not about speeding, it’s a serious point; if you do need to respond to an emergency, you’re probably not going to think about being as careful as possible when exiting a parking bay, so going in backwards means you’re always ready.
Getting away from danger quickly and safely can also be a concern, particularly for lone drivers.
Starkey explains: “In badly lit and quiet car parks it is worth noting that, from a security perspective, it is better to reverse in too, because you can use the door as a shield if you get it between you and any assailant, and then use it to push them aside, get in the vehicle, close the door and drive straight out.”
New to the list of reasons for implementing a reverse-parking policy in the company car park is Covid-19. If every car is parked the same way around then every driver is guaranteed to be more than a metre away from any other driver also exiting their vehicle.
On top of all of the above, if every car is reversed into its space it looks better than a mix of forward and backward cars. Either consciously or sub-consciously this will create a better image to visitors.