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Is It Okay To Pull Through One Parking Spot Into Another Empty One?

Illustration for article titled Is It Okay To Pull Through One Parking Spot Into Another Empty One?
CountersteerYour true stories of good and bad things that happen in cars.

I’m not sure I fully realized how contentious this concept is, or how divided people are about this relatively simple concept: when you’re in a parking lot with spots that meet back-to-back, is it okay to drive through one empty spot and directly into the empty spot connected to its end? A question a child might ask, but not a childish question. Also, why are you letting that child drive? This is serious business.


Personally, I think I’m pro pulling through to the empty spot. When I encounter a situation with an open spot staring right at me, it’s like a little treat: you get to position your car in the easier-to-exit arrangement of being nose-out, for really no extra effort. So why not do it?

There’s a lot of good reasons to consider doing this: it’s statistically much safer to exit a parking space going forward, because even with backup cameras and little doohickies that beep at you when you’re about to mow down a dog, your view from your car is still much better via the front windshield.


AAA has come out against backing out of parking spots as well, though they seem to be against the fundamental idea of backing out and aren’t as clear regarding the “pull-through” maneuver.

Of course, there are downsides as well: if the parking lot is very crowded, it’s possible you could be pulling through into a spot as another driver is turning into it to park, causing momentary confusion and, if both drivers really suck, a low-speed wreck.

There are other situations when a driver may be duped into thinking a parking spot is open when it’s not—motorcycles, for example, or if you have a small car between two hulking SUVs, then the fact that the spot is occupied is also possibly unclear, but any reasonably attentive driver can deal with that.

Also, some places have made reversing into parking spots illegal, though this is less about pull-through and more in places with only rear license plates because police want to be able to easily check license plates on cars in parking lots.


Overall, I’m still pro pull-through; if you’re in a situation where it’s possible to do it, and things aren’t so busy that you’re concerned some other driver may be swooping in to lock eyes/headlights with you, then I say treat yourself. Have at it.

I’m sure there’s many of you who disagree, so now’s your chance to argue your point! Pull-through or no-through? Tell me! Now! Or else!!!!!!!!!

Senior Editor, Jalopnik • Running: 1973 VW Beetle, 2006 Scion xB, 1990 Nissan Pao, 1991 Yugo GV Plus, 2020 Changli EV • Not-so-running: 1977 Dodge Tioga RV (also, buy my book!:

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As long as someone isn’t trying to pull into the spot on the other side it is totally fine.