Essential Driving Skills

Bay Parking


From 5th May 1999 you may be required to do the reverse park exercise as a reversing into a parking bay at the driving test car park. If you are asked to reverse into a parking bay, you can usually choose whether to reverse from the right or the left. When practicing you will be able to see which way suits you best.

Reverse parking into a bay must be carried out at the Test Centre at the start or end of the test, when there is a car park at the Test Centre. So if your Test Centre does not have a car park, you will NOT be asked to do this exercise.

You can choose whether to reverse from the right or the left. When practicing you will be able to see which way suits you best. If the Test Centre has a bay parking facility find out if it is possible to practice at the Test Centre itself. This is not always possible because a learner should never obstruct a driver who could be on to your instructor about this one

You can either reverse into a bay to your right in which case you will be able to see the bay clearly over your right shoulder or you can reverse into the bay to your left in which case you get a clear view of the bay in your rear window. The left hand reverse is generally considered to be the easier option, however it can only be used if you have plenty of space in front of the bay.

The following are what you should be looking out for when dealing with a bay park:

  • Look at the layout markings and the size of the space available
  • Use your mirrors and signal if necessary
  • Check your position and keep your speed down
  • Use effective all-round observation
  • Look out for pedestrians
  • Reverse and park as neatly as possible, with your wheels straight
  • Make sure that your vehicle is neatly parked between the layout markings in the bay.
  • When doing these manoeuvres take your time, reverse under full control, safely and steadily. Always use good, effective all-round observation and show consideration to other road users.
  • You should be aware that if any "shunting" (moving forwards then back again) is needed to correct your ultimate position between the lines, then it must be done BEFORE your car enters the bay.

It is OK for you to move a mirror before starting the manoeuvre, just make sure that you do not become too reliant on the mirror and forget to use all round observations or else you will justifiably pick up an observation fault. Remember that all round observations are essential when carrying out this manoeuvre with occasional quick glances at the side mirror for checking your position.

The Driving Test

The examiner on the driving test will expect you to do your bay parking:-

1. Safely
2. Smoothly
3. Under control
4. Making proper use of the accelerator, clutch, brakes and steering
5. Without crossing the white bay marking.

The examiner will also be looking to see that you:-

1. Are aware of other road users
2. Keep looking all around throughout the manoeuvre