Bay Parking at the Driving test centre


Parking in a bay.

The size and layout of the car park may restrict the options available to the candidate. Examiners should allow the candidate to reverse into any bay of their choice and no attempt should be made by the examiner to determine or dictate which bay is used or how the candidate carries out the exercise. This exercise can be requested at the start or end of a normal driving test.

The start of the test

After the pre-brief the candidate should be told that, before going on to the road, they are to carry out the reverse park exercise into a convenient bay. They should be asked to drive out of the bay to the left or right (if both options are available in that car park) and stop with the wheels straight before reversing into any convenient bay and parking the car (examiners should not instruct candidates to park in the centre of the bay). The instruction is to prevent them reversing back, into the bay on the same lock. Providing some attempt has been made to straighten the front wheels, examiners
should not be concerned if the wheels are not completely straight. The candidate may elect to drive forward to adjust the angle at which they address the bay they intend to reverse into, or space permitting, they are allowed to drive forwards into one bay before reversing back in a straight line into the opposing bay.
Once the exercise is completed the candidate can be given the instructions for following directions around the route.

Examiner instruction beginning of the test
Would you pull forward either to the left or the right so that your wheels are straight,
then reverse into a convenient parking bay. Finish within one of the bays.

On the approach to the centre the candidate should be advised to turn into the car park and reverse into any convenient bay to park the car. The candidate can again make their own choice of bay and carry out the manoeuvre in the way that they choose, given the restrictions that may be imposed by the characteristics of the car park. Candidates should park within a bay, but examiners should not be too concerned, when making their assessment, of the final position of the car in the bay. Parking outside the bay is unacceptable. Candidates should not normally be penalised for crossing the lines when entering the bay. Examiners should consider whether the car could reasonably be left, in that car park in the prevailing conditions, in that position. Exceptionally the examiner may feel the need to leave the car before making an assessment. This is acceptable provided the candidate is asked to secure the car and stop the engine

Examiner instruction end of the test
I should like you to reverse park in the car park. Drive forward into the car park, then
reverse into a convenient parking bay. Finish within one of the bays.

How to reverse park into a bay

Preparation - Clutch down, first gear, gas and biting point.

Observation - All around to check for pedestrians as well as moving vehicles.

Manoeuvre - Move away when it is safe to do so.

1. Start about one car's width from the parking bay that you wish to reverse into and atleast one car length past it

2. Select reverse gear

3. Full observation - all round the car essential prior to starting

4. Slowly start to move the car backwards while turning the steering wheel to a full left lock (left reverse) or a full right lock (right reverse)

6. Keep looking all around as you go back, good all round observation is essential for this manouvre

7. As the car comes to around a 45 degree angle to the bay, look in the left door mirror (left hand bays) or right door mirror (right hand bays). You will see the side of the car and the white line. Decide if the car will fully fit into the bay. If you think it will, leave your steering on full lock. If not, turn the wheel approx half a turn in the opposite direction

8. When the back wheel enters the bay by passing inside the white line, ensure that full left lock (left hand bays) or right lock (right hand bays) is now applied.9. Quick look both ways

10. When the side of the car and the line look straight in the mirror, keep the car moving slowly and straighten the steering wheel

11. Look over both shoulders as you come back into the bay and stop when you are fully in the bay - be very careful at this point not to go too far back.

12. Handbrake on and put the gear lever into neutral, exercise complete.

Parking Essentials

The speed for the manoeuvre is to be dead slow

Good observations & consideration to other road users/pedestrians

Use mirrors properly to check position relative to the bay

Make any positional or steering corrections before you enter the bay

Don't touch or go over the white lines of the bay


Thank you for visiting Philip Manfield School of Motoring Cardiff