Parking in a bay is the way you would park your car in a car park in such places like the supermarket. The place where you park, marked out by white lines, is called a parking bay.
In nearly all cases it is safer to reverse park into parking bays. You will have a better view when driving back out of the bay, which is essential in a busy car park say at the supermarket. You can also reverse into parking bays more accurately,using the manoeuvrability or reverse gear, to ensure you finish in astraight position, in the centre of your bay.
The bay park manoeuvre will only be carried out at driving test centres where there is private parking. If the test centre does not have private parking bays, you will not be asked to do this manoeuvre on the driving test.
How To Bay Park
There are many different ways of parking in a parking bay. Different car parks have different layouts. If you are taught one specific method it is not bound to work every time. The picture below shows you how to reverse into a bay on the left, in much the same way as you would reverse into a sharp road on the left.
Once you have identified a suitable space you would pull up, using the MSM routine, a couple of bays past the one you will be reversing into. You would then start the routine for reversing into the parking bay as shown below.
Clutch down, select reverse gear, set the gas and bite the clutch. If you’re going downhill then use brake control. This is where you keep your clutch down and just use the brake to control your speed.
Look all round making sure it’s safe to continue, taking note of anything you may need to keep an eye on while reversing. For instance, if there is someone walking towards you with a trolley, you may need to stop if they were to walk behind your car. Finish your observations and look out of the back window.This is the direction we are going to be driving, so you need to look mostly out of the back window, but checking all round as you go.
Reverse straight back, mostly looking out of the back window but keep checking to see if anything is changing around you.
The point of turn is going to be different on different cars. For this type of bay park it should be a similar view to the point of turn on a sharp left reverse. Look for the line on the side of the bay that is closest to you, and line it up in the back left window, like you did the kerb on a sharp left reverse.
Like on all manoeuvres,pause at the point of turn and have another check all round. When you start to turn your car’s front end will swing out so this observation is particularly important. Look for cars coming into the car park, and for pedestrians, especially children. If you are in the driving test car park then watch out for other learners on their driving lessons or driving test. Make sure you know that they are about to do before you continue.
If all is clear then continue moving slowly backwards, whilst turning your steering wheel to full lock left (1½turns left on my car). A slow moving speed and quick steering is vital. The car should start to manoeuvre into the parking bay.
Check around as you go, but as the car is nearly straight in the parking bay you should be looking in your wing mirrors to see how the position looks. If you can see the lines on both sides, in both wing mirrors, then things are looking good.
When the car is almost straight in the bay, you should start to straighten the front wheels by taking off the full left lock (1½ turns right on my car to straighten). All being well the car is straight at this point. You can now reverse back to make sure your car is not overhanging the front of the bay. Use the wing mirrors and the position of the end of the bay to judge this point, making sure you do not reverse too far.
If you are not happy with the position of your car, you can use the POM routine and drive out a little. Then POM and reverse back again, making any adjustments that are necessary.
If the position of the car is way out then you need to adjust the original point of turn. If you were too far over to the left of the bay, go a bit further on your initial point of turn. If you are too far right, stop a little earlier for your point of turn.