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  • Writer's pictureSimon Harrison

Forward Bay Park

How To Achieve A Perfect Forward Bay Park

If you are asked to do a forward bay park as your manoeuvre during your driving test then you would be directed to a public car park (Reverse bays would take place at the test centre car park if it has one).

At which point you would be asked to choose a space on the left or the right and park your car safely forwards into a bay.

Forward Bay Park - 4front Driving school, Driving lessons Loughborough

Forward Bay Park - 4front Driving school, Loughborough

To do this safely and correctly – at 4front Driving School, we advise our students to keep the car positioned to the left if you are choosing a space on the right. And vice versa keep the car positioned to the right if you are choosing a space on the left.

Depending on how busy the car park is will probably affect the decision you make regarding choice of space. You may also need to indicate early if the car park is busy so that you don’t build up a backlog of drivers getting frustrated with you stopping.

However, the more confident and competent you become with this manoeuvre, the quicker, safer and more accurately you will be able to achieve it.

4front Driving School, Loughborough

Always Follow The MSPSL Process.  Check your mirrors and observe around you including blind spots. Stop your vehicle when the first white line of the space appears to travel through your (the drivers) knees. It’s a visual marker, meaning that the front wheels have almost cleared the space that you intend to drive into. It works well using a visual marker as every car is a different length, width, has more overhang at the front, back etc. So if you find a visual marker that works for you then this can be adapted to suit most other vehicles.

Check your mirrors again and over your shoulders. If you have not already done so  – indicate in the direction of the chosen space. Turn your steering wheel using the Push Pull technique towards the parking space and slowly begin to raise the clutch just above the biting point so that the car is travelling at about 2mph. Your right foot should be hovering over the brake pedal encase you need to use it. There should be no need to use the accelerator. Once you have achieved a full lock the car should be driving into the space, between the two lines. Check both of your side mirrors to make sure that the left and right sides of your vehicle has a reasonable amount of free space on either side

You may need to adjust your steering if you have misjudged the space, steered into a full lock too slowly or too fast. There is only about 20-30 cm either side of your vehicle and the white lines to play with so this manoeuvre takes time, concentration and practice to master.

As you pull into the parking bay you are aiming to get your car in between the white lines. Not on them or over them in any way. You want to be parallel with the vehicles parked on either side of that space. Don’t choose a space of another vehicle either side of you is parked badly – eg: wonky or over the line,  making the space tight and making it more difficult for you to park.

Once your car is almost straight in the chosen bay you will need to unwind the steering wheel one and a half revolutions until the wheels of the car are straight.

If you have run out of runway you may need to straighten up the steering when the car has almost stopped. This is not the best practice but prevents you failing for crossing the line into the bay In front.

Therefore it is crucial that you are visually aware of where the front and rear of your vehicle are, especially when parking.

When you are satisfied with how you are parked, put the parking brake on and flick the gear stick into neutral and rest your feet.

If you are not satisfied with how you have parked then you have the opportunity to correct your manoeuvre. You may need to reverse back out a bit but make sure you consistently observe around you and react to anything that you may need to. Correction is an expectation. Not correcting mistakes suggests you are unaware of the faults you have made.

You could check if you are within the lines by opening the driver door, be careful- check your mirrors first before opening the door, encase there is another vehicle entering the space next to you or a pedestrian passing by.

To exit a parking space imagine other vehicles are parked on either side of you whether they are there or not so that you follow the same practice each time.

Get the car ready to go, select reverse gear, remove the parking brake and observe all your mirrors and over both shoulders. React accordingly. If it is clear reverse back in a straight line until your front wing mirrors have cleared the rear end of the cars either side of you. Then you can start turning the steering wheel, but making sure you are continuously looking around you for any potential hazards that you may need to react to.

You may not be able to do this in one go if the car park is tight and there is a vehicle parked in the space behind.

If you have to go forward again make sure that you keep observing around you and turn the steering sharply and go past straight to the opposite lock and maximise the cars steering potential.

Its OK to stop and wait for other drivers and pedestrians. You are expected to. However the examiner can’t read your mind so we always suggest that you explain the decisions you are making and therefore the examiner has no reason to mark you down for bad judgement or not being aware of or reacting to something or someone.

Examiners have a tendency to question – “Did you see that car?” (Yes or No answers are probably the wrong answers in this situation) but if you had said for example, “I am just waiting for the blue car to go by, then I will continue,” Then the examiner knows you have observed correctly and has no reason to question you or fail you for that decision.

Anyway by now you are clearing your space and ready to follow the signs to exit the car park. Hopefully you have considered the direction of the car park isles and your vehicle is facing the right direction especially if the isles are one way.

We strongly advise you master this manoeuvre and evaluate your performance each time you attempt it. Is there anything that you are not doing correctly that needs ironing out?

If you are interested in learning to drive then please call Simon at 4front Driving School on 07905657229

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