A Driving Instructor's Blog

I’ve written a couple of articles in the past to do with bay parking. One thing that keeps cropping up is how people refer to “the DSA way” and starting from a 90° angle to your final parked position. You do not have to start from 90°! You can park however the hell you want as long as you’re safe, in control, and end up in the bay (including on the line) and reasonably straight.

When I am teaching my pupils to bay park I recommend that they use the 90° method on test unless they already know how to do it using their own judgement (and sometimes, they do). However, I make it absolutely clear that when they start driving on their own there will be times when the 90° method doesn’t work. The two main examples of this are:

  • when there is no third line along from the target bay
  • when the bays are not of regulation size

I always explain how to park using other methods, but for most the easiest way is the 90° way and this definitely works in the Colwick MPTC car park. However, I’ve had a couple of tests at the new Beeston test centre in Nottingham recently and I’ve noticed that the bays do not appear to be the regulation size and the 90° method doesn’t work unless pupils have been taught specifically for those bays – or unless they know how to correct their position as they move into the bay. In fact, a pupil who passed his test today was asked to do this manoeuvre and it was only because I’d covered with him how to monitor  and adjust his position accordingly that he was able to do it perfectly. But he was an exceptional driver – and some of my other learners struggle doing that.

It’s an interesting one. ADIs love to rattle on about not only “teaching people to pass the test”, but in situations like this there is a large grey area. For many learners the manoeuvres have to be taught in such a way that they can get them right on the one attempt they get on their driving test. The driver who naturally has all the spatial awareness necessary to steer effortlessly into any space in reverse is not the norm, and the majority need a structured method that will see them through the test.

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