Reversing into a Parking Bay

This manoeuvring exercise involves reversing into a parking bay in a car park. As discussed in reverse or parallel parking, it is easier to manoeuvre your vehicle when reversing into a parking space. In car parks it is usually easier and safer to reverse into a parking bay than to drive forwards into a bay (see part A of the diagram). The benefits of reversing in, as opposed to driving in, include the fact that it is usually easier, and it’s much safer to drive out forwards rather than reverse out. There is also the added security benefit that in the unlikely event of being threatened by someone with malicious intent in a car park, driving out forwards will offer a quicker and safer exit.

The reversing into a parking bay is an essential skill to learn if you want to be able to effectively park your vehicle within parking bays in marked car parks. Depending on the layout of the car park and available space you may employ one of two methods to park. You can choose to reverse from a 90 degree angle into the parking space (see parts B and D of diagram) or alternatively drive into a position where you can reverse into the bay from an ‘almost straight line’ or diagonally (see part C of diagram). There are easy steps to follow when carrying out this manoeuvre.

Firstly, on approach to your starting position, drive past the parking bay on either right or left you intend to reverse into (see blue car in part B and green car in part D of the diagram), check that the parking bay is clear of obstructions and that it is wide enough for your vehicle. A badly parked vehicle in the next bay might make it difficult for you to park or open your vehicle door. Select reverse gear promptly when positioned for the manoeuvre so that drivers following can anticipate your move.

Secondly, use the prepare, observe, and move (P.O.M.) routine to reverse and use clutch control to maintain a very slow speed. Carry out all round observation and be particularly mindful of pedestrians who might step out behind your vehicle. Be prepared to stop when pedestrians are around and continue only when it is safe. You should continually look over your right and left hand shoulders and behind whilst reversing.

Thirdly, when you reach your point of turn (approximately when your wing (side) mirror is lined up halfway in the second or third bay from the bay you intend to reverse into), apply full lock to your right when reversing into a bay on your right (see diagram B) or apply full lock to the left if the bay is on your left (see diagram D). Keep your vehicle moving very slowly, and check out of your door window as your car swings out as you steer.

Finally, when your car is parallel to the parking bay lines, straighten up by steering briskly to the left when reversing into a parking bay on your right (diagram B) or briskly to the right when reversing into a parking bay on your left (diagram D). If you misjudge the parking bay, pull forward and reverse back. You may open your door after parking to check you are within the bay lines. If not, then you should pull out forward and correct it maintaining good observation including looking out of the back window when reversing back in. Make sure that you are park centrally in the available bay, leaving yourself and the drivers and passengers of the vehicles on either side, sufficient room to open the doors and get in and out easily; doing this will also help to protect your paintwork if other drivers open their doors carelessly. When stopped, apply the parking or hand brake.

In next week’s article we shall be discussing how to carry out an emergency stop. For further explanations or clarifications on the articles in the Essential Skills of Driving column, consult the author.

Stephen K. Dieseruvwe

Director General, Delta State Traffic Management Authority (DESTMA)

**Driver Trainer and Road Safety Consultant

**Email: sdieseruvwe@gmail.com

**Tel: +2348167814928

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