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How to deal with reverse bay parking

There are many benefits to reverse bay parking. For starters, reversing into a space is far easier than you might think and it takes up less room than driving in forward. Plus, you can drive straight out again rather than having to reverse out, which can be dangerous.

Follow our step-by-step guide below on how to safely complete the reverse bay parking manoeuvre:

Allow plenty of space when reverse bay parking

Reversing to the right (or left) – Give yourself plenty of space between you and the bays. Getting too close can make it more difficult.

Position when reverse bay parking

It’s essential that you use full effective all round observations, position your car where there is a white line marking the bays so it’s adjacent to your central doorpost (at right angles) – this is line number 1. Count back to the third space from that line. This is your target space, number 3.

Observation is key when reverse bay parking

Make your observations and start reversing (using clutch and brake control to keep slow). At the same time steer fully to the right (or left), carefully monitor your progress, allowing the rear end of the car to point towards the chosen bay, meanwhile, the front end will swing out. Ensure that you complete all the necessary observation checks.

Use your mirrors when reverse bay parking

You should see a white line in each side mirror. Adjust the steering to ensure the rear wheels pass into the third space. For ease, you may open your window and look out and down, to help you get between the lines.

Check for obstacles when reverse bay parking

Always remember to check around for other road users. Carefully straighten the steering wheel and slowly reverse into the bay. As you approach the rear of the bay, look back over your right shoulder and make sure you don’t over shoot. When reverse bay parking you’ll often find there is a wall or another car behind you.

If at first you don’t succeed…

If you don’t get it right first time, don’t worry, safely pull forward out of the space, adjust your position, and reverse into the bay, hopefully this time between the lines, completing the bay parking manoeuvre.

It is quite acceptable on test to make some forward adjustment, provided it is not overly repeated, or takes too much time.

Other methods for reverse bay parking

If the car park is quite small and space is limited, you may have to do a mini 3-point turn to allow you to get into a space. First, approach your chosen space, and, drive away from it, either at a 45-degree slant, or directly across and into the opposite space. Then reverse back into the space. This is often more practical, as steering is done in first gear.

Practice in a quite car park, keep away from other vehicles, and try them all. Once you have mastered this, try reversing in between two parked cars.

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