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Should you leave the car in reverse with the parking brake on and the engine running?

My wife backs the car out of the garage, leaves the engine running and the car in reverse and puts on the emergency brake and gets out of the car. I think this is dangerous and it is only a matter time before the brake lets the car run across the street or run over me or my kids as we load up the trunk. She thinks a brake is a brake and it will always stop the car. I yell about this when I see it happen. Is this an acident waiting to happen?

It is dangerous. Not a wise thing at all. Brakes can fail…Not only would I put it in park…but also use the brakes. That is one of the dumber things I’ve heard anyone do.

Why in the world would she leave it in reverse?? Tell her to put it in park! Takes a half second to go from P to R; is it worth the risk of killing somebody?

No, not ever, NEVER should she do this! This is very dangerous, the parking brake wasn’t designed for this.

I agree with the others. This is an accident waiting to happen.

YES. I would refuse to stand behind a car in reverse with the motor running. If one of your kids gets run over the child and protective services will be notified by the police and/or hospital and your kids will be taken away for their own safety.

You have a brain and if she does this; it is your responsibility to put the car in park before anyone else goes near the car.

Show the results of this poll to your wife. It’s dangerous and it doesn’t have to be all. Use park and the parking brake. If there is an accident then the insurance company will probably not pay a dime if they find out about this procedure. It’s not worth the risk and I don’t see any plausible reason for doing so in the first place.

I’ve heard of lazy people and I’ve heard of irresponsible people, but the OP’s wife is a unique combination of these two negative traits.

If someone is too lazy to move the shift lever just one position in order to help assure that the vehicle does not move and injure her own children in the process, I have to question her overall judgment.

This is ridiculously stupid (and I’m being nice when I say that). This is absolutely an accident waiting to happen.

It would be safer to unhook your parking brake cable so that you no longer have a parking brake than it would be to let her keep doing this.

This is an ABSOLUTE NO-NO. Very, very dangerous.

Lion’s right. This is absolutely an accident waiting to happen. I sincerely hope that when it DOES happen nobody is seriously hurt.

Maybe she has an explantion for why she leaves it in reverse. Have you asked her? It seems like it doesn’t take much effort to put it in Park, but maybe it’s difficult to get into Park for some reason. Maybe that’s why she leaves it in reverse

On a manual transmission car you can’t leave it in reverse, and there’s no Park setting, so you put in in neutral and set the brake. That is reasonably safe if the brake is set well and it’s not on a steep hill. If there’s something wrong with the Park setting, maybe she could at least put it in Neutral.

Me, I wouldn’t get behind a 3000 pound car that was in reverse and running and nobody at the wheel, no matter how well the parking brake was set I’d turn the car completely off before doing that.

But before doing anything else, ask her if there is something wrong with the Park setting, that makes it hard to use. Maybe it just needs an adjustment is all.

The answer to the question is “ablolutely Yes!!” It seens to be unanamous!!

Yes it will warm up a little faster if you have it in gear, but not much faster. The problem is it is not safe.

And they say there is no such thing as a stupid question. I am referring to the topic title only. I’m sorry you had to ask this question, your wife needs some counseling and or training. Maybe take here to a transmission or brake shop or a local trusted mechanic and let her ask that question.

Here’s an addendum to all these agreeing posts that it is a never-never no-no.
– yet I doubt the OP is even reading these –

She can be stopped in reverse…set the park brake and believe it to be secure…then, whoooops the car moves !!!
– why –
The engine RPMs can fluctuate from time to time and if the park brake strength is only marginal ( you won’t know it till it’s too late ) THE CAR WILL MOVE when the RPMs increase slightly.
– why –
1 - As the engine warms…things change. You WILL hear RPMs change.
2 - Even in cold weather, in the defrost setting the A/C compressor runs. As it cycles, the RPMs may change.

Time calculation quiz answer.
It takes LESS time to put it in park than to set the park brake !

In a perfect world, one day when she’s doing this the brakes will fail, nobody will be injured, although several people should be put briefly in mortal danger, and property damage will include the complete destruction of at least one mailbox so it can qualify as a federal matter.

That should make it enough of a lesson that she’ll never do it again.

If she’s anything like my daughters, that’s what it will take, since they just never seem to learn EXCEPT by hard knock experience.

Yes, it will probably take the inevitable accident to convince the OP’s wife that she is being incredibly lazy and incredibly irresponsible, but–since we don’t live in a perfect world, the scenario envisioned by dadoctah is overly optimistic. This woman could well wind up killing someone–perhaps one of her own family members.

Imagine her getting into the running car; catching the accelerator pedal by mistake; the car taking off; and throwing her forward further depressing the pedal more. This sequence will only terminate when the car hits something solid enough to stop it. Then the open door will slam onto any appendage (most likely dragging leg or hand on the roof) still outside the car.

This story is sort of off-topic, but reading the thread reminded me of it. Years ago I used to live at about 6500 ft altitude in a small ski-resort town in the rocky mountains. Lot of snow all winter. There was a story in the newspaper about this feak accident involving a car, a roof, and a rope. It went like this:

After a big snowfall, the husband decides the snow was getting too deep on the roof, so he decides climb up there with a ladder and shovel it off. It’s a two story house. The roof is fairly steep, and with snow on it, he’s afraid of slipping off and falling two stories “ker-plunk” to the ground, so he has an idea. He ties a rope to his car bumper, his car is in the driveway, then throws the rope over the roof to the other side, then he ties himself at the waist to that end of the rope, and the car below in the driveway secures the rope, so he won’t slip and slide off the other side of roof. It’s working fine. For a while.

What he didn’t plan on was that his wife decides she needs some milk from the 7-11. Her car was in the garage, which was blocked by the husband’s car in the driveway. So – not noticing the rope – she backs her husbands car out of the driveway! OOOPS! She pulls her husband - he’s quite surprised I’m sure – from the far side of the roof where’s he shovelling, up over the ridge of the roof, at which point the wife stops, but it’s too late. He slips down the front side of the roof and falls two stories! Fortuneately, he fell into siome snow covered bushes and misssed hitting the driveway, so his injuries, while considerable, were not fatal.