Reverse parking in a bay is considered the safest way to park and offers greater control of your vehicle, so making sure you can do this effectively is beneficial.
Many people find it easier to just drive forward into a parking space, but this can cause problems when you come to leave as your visual space can be compromised by other cars and blind spots.
It can also be dangerous to reverse out onto oncoming traffic and you risk hitting other vehicles or a passerby.
Taking the time to reverse park into a bay properly means you can simply drive out of the space once you return to your vehicle, which makes it quick and easy as you can see all the obstacles around you.
December 2017 saw the reverse bay park remain as one of the possible manoeuvres that could be asked of you in your driving test after it was revised, so it’s important that you master it and are confident parking in this way.
Here are some simple steps to help you learn and perfect your bay parking skills:
Assess Your Space
Firstly, check the bay has sufficient space for your vehicle. If other vehicles are overhanging their bays, you may want to reconsider this space until you have more confidence.
Also, make sure you look around where you are parking.
Are there lots of stationary cars, traffic or pedestrians?
Only begin your reverse parking when the area is free of obstacles. Use your mirrors to check around you and don’t forget your blind spots. If any pedestrians or vehicles come towards you, make sure to stop your manoeuvre until they have moved on.
Parking Using Your Reference Points
Once you have indicated your intention to park, you need to begin your manoeuvre using unique reference points.
There are four main points you need to look at to help you work out where your car needs to be. Once you’ve indicated and approached the space, come to a stop slightly beyond your chosen parking bay. At this stage start to reverse until you line up the middle of your passenger door with the closest side marker of the bay.
This is point 1. Once you have found this, start to reverse with your steering wheel fully locked to the left.
As you begin to reverse slowly, you’ll start to see the bay appear in your left wing mirror which will be point 2. Continue on, checking your mirrors until the bay appears in your right wing mirror, point 3. At this point, you should straighten up your steering wheel to park parallel with the lines of the bay. Edge backwards, keeping an eye on all your mirrors while making sure you avoid hitting any obstacles at the rear of the parking space.
Leaving The Space
Once you wish to leave the space, check all your mirrors and blind spots to make sure it’s safe to proceed. Begin to move forward slowly until your car is around a third of the way out of the space before steering in the direction you wish to leave in.