Bay parking using the mirrors

How to do reverse bay parking using the mirrors.

Let's have a look at possibly the simplest way to reverse bay park any car.

It's quite common for your driving instructor to give you a reference point for when you need to turn into the bay and a lot of new drivers find reference points useful.

This reference point will help you park your instructors car and pass this part of the driving test. But when you buy your car and the size of it could be different, then you might struggle to reverse bay park as the reference point may not work.

The best part about the technique we're going to look at is that there won't be any when to turn reference points for you to remember.

This technique will work in any car, your instructors car and your car and is also acceptable to use on the driving test.

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Video on how to do reverse bay parking

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How to do reverse bay parking

Reverse bay parking at an angle

How to reverse into a bay on the left.

To make it less stressful, practise where there's a few empty bays.

As I'm going to reverse into a bay on the left, I'll move the left hand mirror down a little, not too much though as you'll want to be able to see the bays behind and not just tarmac. Moving the mirror down slightly will help you see the bays later and it's fine to move the mirror on the driving test. But it's really important not to stare at the mirror as you reverse or you'll fail your driving test as you might hit someone or something.

Drive forward and close to the bays on the left.

Now check the interior and right hand mirror plus a quick right shoulder check to make sure no ones overtaking. No reference point to remember, when it's safe, just randomly steer full-lock, maximum to the right. Steer left a little before stopping to get the wheels ready for when you reverse to the left and stop before driving into the bays ahead.

Select reverse.

Side mirror view

Reverse bay parking without reference points

In the left hand mirror you can see some bays to reverse into.

There's 3 bays to choose from. The bay in the middle is normally the best one to choose.

You need to get the side line to end up next to your car. The line on the right will be fine as long as you're reasonably close to the line on the left.

Observe all around before reversing. Check over your right shoulder at the blind spot, the right hand mirror, ahead, the left hand mirror, left blind spot and rear window.

To be on the safe side, make sure there's no other vehicle parked next to the bay you want as you might slightly cut into another bay as you reverse.

Because there's no reference points or set method you'll have to use your judgement to reverse and steer into the bay. Just react to what you see in the mirror. If you're getting too close to the line on the left then steer right or left if there's too much of a gap between the car and line.

You must remember not to stare at the mirror and keep observing around for other car park users including looking over your left shoulder through the rear window. Stop if anyone gets close to you but continue once it's safe.

Reverse bay park on your driving test

Once the car feels straight, straighten the steering back to the right. You'll know when the cars sraight as the lines and kerb ahead are running parallel with the front of your car.

If you're ever unsure which direction the front wheels are pointing then look through the rear window, reverse very slowly and see which way the car goes. If it moves right then steer left to straighten or if the car goes left then steer right to straighten.

Don't worry about cutting the side line as you reverse into the bay (even on the driving test) as long as you're not getting close to a parked vehicle.

The objective of this manoeuvre on the driving test is to observe for other road users and to park within a bay.

As you build up experience and get used to your car, you'll be able to do this manoeuvre a bit more precisely.

If you're unsure that you're in the bay then you can open your door to check. If you're not within the lines then make sure it's safe, drive forward and readjust it back in the bay. This would normally be a driving fault on the test but at least it won't be serious for being out of the bay.

Re-adjust the side mirror once you've finished.

That's one way of reversing into a bay using your side mirrors. If you prefer to use reference points then have a look here.

Reversing into a bay on the right is similar but use your right-hand mirror.



Back to the other manoeuvres.

Read about the other driving test manoeuvres here including: pull up on the right-hand side of the road and reverse 2 car lengths, forward bay parking, reverse bay parking and parallel parking.

Other manoeuvres that are not tested but recommended to practise are the 'turn in the road' and the 'reversing around a corner' exercise.


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