How To Reverse Bay Parking: Top Secrets




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This is probably thought of as one of the hardest things to have to learn when learning to drive a car and that of course is reverse bay parking. But worry not, we have your back with everything you need to know about reverse bay parking below.

Do’s And Don’ts of Reverse Bay Parking


  • Check your mirrors and blind spots before starting to reverse.
  • Use reference points to perfect your parking while learning.
  • Turn on your indicator to let others know your plan.
  • Take your time and go as slow as you can. Makes it easier.
  • Turn 1 or both side mirrors right down so you can see the lines.
  • Practice both 90-degree and 45-degree reverse bay parking methods.


  • Rush as this leads to panic, which will lead to mistakes.
  • Rely solely on parking aids, mirrors and technology. (remember to look behind you)
  • Ignore other road users, pedestrians, or cyclists in the area.
  • Forget to use the handbrake after parking

Two Common Methods To Reverse Bay Park

90-Degree Reverse Bay Parking Method Basics
  1. Drive past the parking bay and stop parallel to the parking space on the furthers side of the road away form thee bay.
  2. Make sure you are lined up with either your shoulder or halfway through your front door with a white line.
  3. Turn the steering wheel fully towards the space you want to park in and slowly begin reversing.
  4. When your car is halfway into the bay, straighten the steering wheel.
  5. Continue reversing until your car is fully in the bay.
  6. Feel free to drive forward and correct if you are not between the white lines.
45-Degree Reverse Bay Parking Method Basics
  1. While driving closer to the edge of the bay drive past the parking bay and stop at a 45-degree angle away from it (turn as if you are going into a bay on the other side)
  2. Turn your wheel towards the bay you are reversing into and begin reversing.
  3. As your car enters the bay, straighten the steering wheel.
  4. Continue reversing until your car is fully in the bay and make sure you are straight with the bay lines.
  5. Feel free to drive forward and correct if you are not between the white lines.

If you are looking for a video example of 45-Degree Reverse Bay Parking watch my video:

Both the 90-degree and 45-degree reverse bay parking methods have their pros and cons. The 90-degree method needs more space than the 45 degree. Its also more difficult to do if someone is waiting behind you and it cant be done if the parking bays are at an angle. The 45 degree method needs less space to maneuver and can be done with spaces at any angle. It does however need a bit more adjustment with the steering wheel. As a driving instructor I try always teach the 45 degree as this is the most useful in the real world. However if you are struggling with this there is nothing wrong with starting with the 90 degree method.

For everything you need to know about all the other types of parking check out our other guide:

In depth Step By Step 90 Degree Method

  1. Choose a parking bay: Find a space that’s large enough for your car, ideally without cars parked too closely, after all we all have bad days.
  2. Position your car: Drive past the parking bay and stop on the opposite side of the bay. Use a white lines as a reference point with your shoulder or half through your front door. If there is anyone around pop an indicator to show your plan.
  3. Check your surroundings: Look around for any pedestrians, cyclists, or other vehicles nearby. Check your mirrors and blind spots before starting to reverse.
  4. Begin reversing: As you start to reverse, slowly turn your steering wheel towards the parking bay. Keep an eye on whats going on around you and for god sake keep your speed down.
  5. Use reference points: As you reverse, use reference points on your car, such as the door handle or wing mirror, to check how far into the bay you need to be.
  6. Straighten the steering wheel: When your car is about halfway into the bay, begin straightening your steering wheel. Continue to reverse while keeping an eye on your reference points and the bay lines.
  7. Fine-tune your position: Once your car is fully inside the parking bay, stop. If you need to, make adjustments by moving forward and backward until your car is centered between the lines.
  8. Secure your car: When you’re satisfied with your parking job, put the car in park (or neutral for manual transmission), apply the handbrake, and turn off the engine.

Reverse Parking in Tight Spaces

Tight spaces can be scary, but with a bit of extra focus on your position and keeping your speed down, you’ll be able to maneuver your vehicle with no problems in know time. Begin by sizing up the space and making sure there’s enough room for your car. Angle your car slightly towards the bay, check your mirrors and blind spots, and then slowly reverse while turning the wheel. Remember, slow and steady wins the race!

Problems to look out for

If the cars next to you have parked wonky or not central to there space. This makes it far harder for you to park.

You need to make sure you can open both side doors comfortably but more importantly can the car next too you open there doors other wise they may end up cracking there doors into your car.

If you are in a multi story car park or end bay next too a wall you might need to tell any passengers to get out first because theirs not enough room once in the space.

Reverse Parking on Hills

Parking on hills adds an extra layer of fun or difficulty depending on how you want to look at it. When parking uphill, remember to turn your wheels away from the curb, and when parking downhill, turn them towards the curb. This will prevent your car from rolling away if the parking brake fails.

Tips For Parking Up Hill

Use a bit more gas than you might normally. Think about any time you get ready to lift something heavy. You always do a count down. The car needs the same and this is what your gas peddle does. This will stop you from stalling on the hill.

every time you stop the car don’t hesitate to use your handbrake. Its there as a tall to stop you rolling back.

When you stop the car after parking leave it in gear. This will give you an extra layer of security to stop you from rolling in case the handbrake fails.

Common Reverse Bay Parking Mistakes and How to Avoid Them

The Most common mistakes include:

Not checking mirrors and blind spots and instead relying on your mirrors. This gives you a terrible view behind you. When you turn around you can see out of all 3 windows.

Going to fast while in reverse which leads us to make mistakes or not turn the wheel at the correct angle we need and then everything falls apart.

Turning the wheel too early or too late which is only human after all we all make mistakes. The important thing here is just to correct it.

Panicking when we need to adjust when actually if we are able to just stay calm and continue going slowly we are more likely to get it right the second time.

The easiest way to avoid making nay mistakes on your reverse bay park is to keep the car as slow as possible and don’t stare in any one mirror or direction for too long. The final point is of course practice.

Using Parking Aids and Technology for Reverse Bay Parking

Most modern cars now come with parking aids like sensors and cameras. These can be super helpful, but it’s also important not to become too dependent because after all they are called parking aids for a reason not parking crutches. Nothing beats our own eyes so make sure you are turning around and having a look. that way you are not going to miss little Darcy crossing the car park behind yo one day. In the driving test using parking aids absolutely fine its just again important that we are not purely using parking aids and not looking around at all to make sure its safe to move.

Reverse Bay Parking on the UK Driving Test

In the UK, reverse bay parking is one of the 4 maneuvers as part of the driving test. You will be asked to do just 1 of these 4 maneuvers. If it is a forward or reverses bay park you will not be asked to do either of these with a car on any side of you. In fact you will not be allowed to do one with a car next to you. You will generally be fine to correct any mistakes you make once but most people fail there driving test if they move the car to correct more than one extra time. I cant stress how important it is that you are looking behind you when reversing and moving the car extra slowly around 1 to 2 mph.

How To Use Reference Points in Reverse Bay Parking

Reference points are the key to knowing when to turn your wheel and how far to reverse. They are visual markers that help us know when to turn our wheel and position our car to get the perfect bay park. Find a point on your car that lines up with one of the parking space lines, like the door handle or wing mirror, and use it as a guide. I recommend using your should as its an easy method that works for most people. This will change slightly depending on your car however. So you might need to have a few goes in your car and see which reference point works for you. Once you find the reference point it can be easier to pop a bit of sticky tape on the door at this point so you don’t forget it. You can ever have this on a driving test.

Reverse Bay Parking vs. Forward Bay Parking

While forward bay parking might seem easier and often can be, reverse bay parking is generally much safer. Reverse bay parking is also a safer option when a space is particularly tight as its easier to get the back end in first rather swinging the front round. Reverse bay parking gives us better like better visibility when leaving the space as well which is a winner as we have probably just come out of a busy shop. Forward bay parking is generally the more popular option because it is easier to get your shopping in the boot when the boot is closest to the end. Practice both methods to become a parking genius.

Tips for Teaching Teens Reverse Bay Parking: A Parent’s Guide

Patience, encouragement, and most importantly, clear instructions are the mos important part when teaching your teen to reverse bay park. Start in a quiet, open car park and teach them to park without nay cars on either side. After all they will not be expected to park next to a car on the driving test. Once they have begun managing the basics in quiet car parks then move on to busier car parks.

For more information on how to teach your teen to drive check out our guide: Teaching Your Teen To Drive.

How to Adjust Your Mirrors for the Best View when Reverse Bay Parking

Its all about the white lines. Most driving instructors will use the stick on blind spot mirrors just for this reason. Proper mirror adjustment is a massive part of reverse bay parking because if you cannot use anything to adjust with it make sit almost impossible. If there are cars on either side then this will be a bit easier because you have something to adjust with. Otherwise you will have to turn at least one mirror all the way down as far as it will go until you can see the white lines. Once you can see the white lines while looking behind you use one mirror to focus on lining up inside that white line. Then hey presto you will be in the space.

Reverse Bay Parking Next to Cars

When parking next to cars its generally easier to park because you can actually use the cars next to you to adjust with and don’t need to worry about the white lines provided they have parked properly of course. This can be more nerve wracking but with a bit of practice it gets much easier. Just make sure you are extra cautious and give yourself enough space to turn and don’t be afraid to make go forward and fix it.

Reverse Bay Parking With no cars on either side

  1. Begin by driving your car slowly toward the bay that you wish to park in.
  2. When you are about 1 meter away from the bay, turn your wheel sharply to the left and continue to reverse into the space.
  3. Stop when your car is aligned with the lines of the bay and the rear of the car is centered.
  4. Turn the wheel sharply to the right and reverse a few inches more until the car is properly positioned in the bay.
  5. When the car is in the bay, turn the wheel to the straight position and apply the handbrake.
  6. Put the car into park and turn off the engine.

Final thoughts 💭

This is definitely one of the most intimidating driving test maneuvers and forms of parking for new drivers. The best bit of advice I can give you is to go over the methods above and practice practice practice. Good luck everyone and if you want an all in one driving course that you can learn to drive with in your pyjamas check it out here:

Key Points Summary

  • Choose a suitable parking bay.
  • Position your car correctly before starting.
  • Check your surroundings for obstacles and other road users.
  • Use reference points to guide your parking.
  • Practice both 90-degree and 45-degree reverse bay parking methods.
  • Remain patient and practice regularly to improve your skills.

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