Park in the bay.
Reverse bay parking is one of four possible manoeuvres that the examiner may select during your practical driving test, and it is one that you must learn before taking the test.
Many people struggle with bay parking, but fortunately, it is less likely on the driving test than other maneuvers because not all driving test centers have bay parking bays available. On occasion, you may travel to a different test center with bay parking facilities to perform the maneuver during your test, provided the center is close enough.
This step-by-step tutorial will show you a technique with diagrams that should allow you to pass this part of the driving test if you follow it exactly. We off the bay parking reference points guide because reference points, or'markers,' are a valuable aid in successfully completing a manoeuvre.
Please keep in mind that this tutorial is only for reversing into a bay. The new driving test now includes forward driving into a bay and reversing out, which is covered in a separate tutorial.
There are no specific rules for the bay parking maneuver, but the examiner will be looking for you to demonstrate three important key points during the driving test. These are:
- Accuracy - Parking in a bay within the lines and not too close to a car on either side.
- Control entails keeping the vehicle's speed under control through the use of clutch control and effective steering.
- Observation - Throughout the bay parking maneuver, maintain constant all-around observation.
Prepare, observe, and move
It is critical for the bay parking maneuver (or any maneuver) to Prepare the car, Observe your surroundings, and then Move if it is safe to do so (POM). For more information, see the driving routine POM.Diagram A demonstrates how to bay park.
A Positioning and Reference Point
Place the car in the center of the road, as shown in diagram A. Don't worry about where the turn is right now; instead, focus on keeping your car reasonably close to the center of the road. This will provide sufficient distance from the parking bays by widening the turning circle, making it easier to maneuver and observe. Furthermore, it will provide enough space to the right for when the car swings out, avoiding any obstacles such as kerbs or fences. Stop the car once you are confident that you are in the center of the road. If you're on a incline, use the handbrake. Regardless of other vehicles or pedestrians, select reverse gear. Your reversing light will illuminate, signaling to them that you intend to reverse the vehicle.
You must now reverse the vehicle to the point of turn. The reference point may differ slightly from vehicle to vehicle, so you may need to establish your own reference points. Before beginning to reverse the vehicle, make an all-around effective observation to ensure you are clear of other vehicles and pedestrians. If you are satisfied that the road is clear, it is critical that you look out the back window because this is how you will travel (you will fail if you do not). Reverse the car slowly. Consider a slow walking pace as a speed indicator. While reversing the car, keep an eye out for the reference point and look around in all directions. For more information, see bay parking reference points.
Points of reference for bay parking turns
Select one of the parking bay lines shown in diagram A and align it with the center of your front passenger door and stop. When you turn completely left lock, you will be guided into the third bay from the line. Ideally, the parking lot will be empty. If that's the case, you can use whatever reference line you want. If there are other cars in the bays, you may need to calculate which reference point line you will need to guide you into your chosen bay.
B Swift Steering, Slow Vehicle
You arrived at the reference point and came to a complete stop. It is not necessary to stop the car at this point, but doing so breaks the maneuver down into sections, making things easier. It will also remind you to consider important factors that will determine whether you pass or fail the driving test.
Now that you've come to a complete stop at the turn's reference point, use the hand brake if you're on a slope and fear the car will roll. At this point, you must quickly turn the wheel to full left lock. Before you do this or move the car, take a good look around to make sure the area is clear, then look in your right blind spot because the front of your car will swing out. When you're satisfied that everything is clear, look out the back window and gently reverse the car. As soon as the car begins to move, steer full left lock.Diagram C shows how to bay park.
C Points of Observation and Reference
This is the most difficult part of the bay parking maneuver, so keep the car moving slowly. Stop the car if you are unsure of your position at any time.
While reversing slowly, keep an eye out in all directions, including the rear windscreen and the blind spot to the right. Stop the car if any pedestrians or vehicles approach. If they are going to pass, wait until it is safe to proceed. Continue if they stop and wait for you.
Continuously perform all-around observation, and as the car begins to turn, keep checking the left side mirror for the appearance of yellow line 'A' (refer to point diagram C). Using this mirror, you will be able to determine how close or far you are to this line. As the car approaches the bay, a yellow line 'B' will appear in the right mirror. It's critical that you keep looking around and checking reference points - that's a lot of looking, so drive slowly to fit it all in.Diagram D shows how to bay park.
D Finishing and fine-tuning
Straighten the wheel as soon as lines A and B appear parallel to the car in the side mirrors. Straightening up from a lock usually requires about a turn and a half of the steering wheel. Remember to steer towards the line you want to get closer to if you need to adjust.
As a final point of reference, the very end of line B (diagram D) should align with your right side mirror. Using this reference point will keep you from going too far back and hitting a kerb at the back (another failure). Using these reference points should greatly assist with the bay parking maneuver. As previously stated, for different cars and seating positions, the reference points may need to be adjusted slightly. After you have come to a complete stop, apply the handbrake and select neutral.
Techniques for parking in bays
This is just one effective bay parking technique. There are other techniques, but it doesn't matter which one you use as long as you do the manoeuvre safely by keeping the car slow and making plenty of all-around observations.
To the right, there is bay parking.
This bay parking tutorial is intended for parking on the left side of the bay. The same method can be used for bay parking on the right. The difference is that your reference point of turn will be out your window rather than the passengers. Additional information on establishing reference points can be found at bay parking reference points.
The car is being rolled.
Car parks are usually level, though there may be a slight slope on occasion. The examiners consider rolling the car in a direction you did not intend to go as a loss of control. If there is a slope, make sure to use the handbrake and gain the bite point every time you stop. This eliminates the possibility of the car rolling.
There will be plenty of time to bay park.
In general, you have about 4 minutes to perform a maneuver. This is a long time, and most students do not require it. Utilize as much of that time as possible. Keeping the car as slow as possible will increase your chances of being accurate with reference points and constantly looking around.
Help and advice on bay park
Here are some hints and tips to help you succeed at the bay park maneuver during your driving test.
The test center's parking lot should be quiet, with few cars parked in the bays. It may, however, be quite congested with cars coming and going. If other vehicles are waiting for you to get out of their way, don't rush through the maneuver. After all, it is a testing facility, and they are likely to be aware that you are taking a test and will be happy to wait for you. Doing the maneuver too quickly will almost certainly result in something going wrong.
Continue with the maneuver.
If you overshot a reference point during the bay parking maneuver or believe you are not within the bay lines when finished, explain to the examiner that you will pull forward a little to correct. As long as you do everything safely, you should be fine for a test pass.
If everything goes wrong, for example, if you hit a kerb unexpectedly, the test will most likely fail. However, some examiners may be more lenient than others, particularly when it comes to manoeuvres. Ask the examiner politely if you can repeat the maneuver. They may let you go depending on the examiner and time constraints.
Vehicles and pedestrians approaching
The best-controlled and most accurate bay park ever created will still fail your driving test if you don't observe what's going on around you and react appropriately. Maintaining a slow speed allows you to look around in all directions at all times. If a vehicle or a pedestrian approaches you, stop and let them pass before proceeding. If they are still waiting, proceed.
See: for a guide to establishing reference points and markers.
- Bay Parking Reference Points
See: for tutorials on all test maneuvers.
- Parking in Rows
- Road Turn
- Round a Corner in Reverse
Myths that are widely held
It is commonly assumed that you must finish completely straight and parallel with the lines in the bay, as well as in the bay's center between each line. This is not true. It is acceptable to finish at an angle rather than straight in the bay. All is well as long as you stay within the bay lines. If the examiner isn't certain you're within the lines, they'll exit the vehicle to double-check.
The maneuver must be completed in a single motion with no adjustments. Not true once more. They are more than happy if you pull forward to correct as you reverse towards the bay.
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