Lesson 1, Topic 1
In Progress

Reverse Bay Parking

On this lesson, you will learn about the Reverse Bay Park manoeuvre. You will cover:

  • choosing an appropriate bay
  • parking safely and accurately
  • how to deal with other road users

The most important parts of parking are:

  1. Good observations
  2. Good speed control
  3. Be accurate

Reverse Bay Parking

You may be asked to perform a reverse bay park during your driving test. If you are, it will be in the driving test centre at the start or end of your test.

It is not essential to have reference points for steering accurately into a bay, but they may help you initially with accuracy and to have the confidence to know what you are doing. This tutorial will provide reference points, but it is important to get your own reference points in your own car.

Starting Position

Position the car parallel to the bays and at least 1 car width away from the bay.

Decide which bay you want to park in, and find your reference point (see below).

You are now ready to reverse into the bay.

Steering into the Bay

Once you are in position, and your reference point is lined up, you will use the P O M routine to steer into the bay.

PREPARE the car to move – select reverse gear, set gas and bite.

Selecting reverse gear will activate the reversing lights at the rear of the car. Other road users now know what you intend to do. Other ways to inform other road users are:

  • Apply your brakes so your brake lights are activated
  • Signalling (cancel your signal as soon as other road users are aware)
  • Eye contact (turn around and look at the driver behind)

OBSERVE – check all around, including both blind spots. Look out of the rear window before starting to move.
The front of the car will swing out when you turn, so a blindspot check is essential. MOVE – release the handbrake and steer full lock left.
Move very slowly (walking pace) and keep checking all around.
If a car or pedestrian approaches, pause and let them pass.


Line up a bay line so that it appears in the centre of your front passenger door. The car will go into the 3rd bay from this line.

Completing the manoeuvre

As the car starts to enter the bay you will start to see the bay lines either side of the car.

You are aiming for about the same gap both sides.

As the car straightens up in the bay, continue moving very slowly and quickly straighten the steering.

Keep looking back and reverse until the car is fully in the bay.

Check your position, you are aiming to be central and straight.

If any of your wheels are touching the bay lines you will need to adjust your position by driving forwards and left or right (depending on where you need the car to be), and then straight back into the bay.

Secure the car by applying the handbrake and selecting neutral.

PLEASE NOTE: You will not be successful on your test if your wheels are touching the bay lines.

Reverse Bay Parking to the Right

The above bay parking tutorial is for parking on the left.
To park in a bay on the right you can use the same method. The difference will be that the reference point will be the centre of the driver’s side door instead.

Driving out of a Bay

Care needs to be taken when driving out of a bay. You will use the P O M routine:

PREPARE the car to move – select 1st gear, set gas and biting point

OBSERVE – check all around, including both blind spots

MOVE – when you are sure it is safe.

Release the handbrake.

Drive straight forwards by about ½ a car length.

This will be when the door pillars are in line with the end of the bay line.

Check again and do a ½ steer, move a little further forward and then apply full lock.

You may need to signal your intention, especially if the car park is busy or you cannot see what is around.

Drive out of the car park carefully. Look out for cars reversing out of bays, and for pedestrians walking around.

Drive out at an appropriate speed.


Important Points

1. The most important aspects of any manoeuvre are:

  • Effective observation
  • Good control
  • Accuracy

Accuracy is not as important as effective observations and good control.

2. You should always move the car very slowly when reversing, and give other road users priority.

3. When steering, the car should be moving. Don’t steer while the car is not moving. This is known as ‘dry steering’ and can cause damage to the tyres and steering mechanism.

4. Do not signal while reversing. Your reverse lights will inform drivers behind what you intend to do.

5. Look back when driving back! Don’t rely on mirrors only. You can see more distance behind and to the sides when you turn around and look back.

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