Driving lesson M4. Bay Parking

Bay parking is an essential skill to learn if you are parking in multi storey or supermarket car parks. The skills required are very similar to those needed for the reverse to the left and the reverse to the right.

You often see drivers struggling trying to reverse out of parking bays especially at night or if they have passengers in the back seats, however drivers who have reversed in can drive straight out. Not only is it safer to reverse into a parking space it is more eco-friendly as you will not use extra fuel manoeuvring when the engine is cold.

Key learning notes

When parking in a car park it is safer to reverse into a space than drive into it, so it is vitally important that your observations are effective and you keep the speed of your vehicle down to a very slow walking pace. Remember that pedestrians use car parks as well and may walk in front of or behind your vehicle.

When choosing a bay to reverse into make sure you have sufficient space to park and open your doors. The configuration of the car park will determine how you line your vehicle up to start your manoeuvre.

1. Location
Choose the bay you want to reverse into and pull up about two car lengths past it. Select reverse gear and prepare the car to move.

Bay parking target

2. Observations
Take good all round observations to make sure it is safe to move.

3. Position to turn
Look behind and reverse slowly until the first white line of the bay you are reversing into appears to be in line with the top of the back seat through the left rear passenger door window.

Position of turn

At this point take good all round observations again and if it is safe to carry on steer full lock to the left (or right if reversing into a bay on the right) as the car moves slowly into the bay.

Throughout this manoeuvre you should be looking through the rear window, you can however take glances in your door mirrors if this helps you to successfully position the car.

As the car becomes straight and parallel with the white lines, straighten the steering as appropriate so that your car finishes parked straight and centrally between the two white lines.

Turning position

Sharp corner park
When reversing from the left into a bay as shown below it is almost identical to a left had reverse round a sharp corner.

Sharp corner park

Diagonal park
Another way to reverse into a parking bay is to pull forward diagonally in front of the bay you wish to turn into and reverse, as shown in the diagram below.

Diagonal park