Driving Examiner Guidance: Parking

Reverse parking:

The reverse park exercise can be conducted either into a parking bay in the DTC car park or on road. Examiners have flexibility in making a choice of which manoeuvre to use (pull up on the right, forward park or reverse park) providing that each manoeuvre is used equally over a period of time.

Parking in a bay in the driving test centre car park

The size and layout of the car park may restrict the options available to the candidate. Examiners should allow the candidate to reverse into any bay of their choice and no attempt should be made by the examiner to determine or dictate which bay is used or how the candidate carries out the exercise.

At the start of the test

After the pre-brief the candidate should be told that, before going on to the road, they are to carry out the reverse park exercise into a convenient bay. They should be asked to drive out of the bay to the left or right (if both options are available in that car park) and stop with the wheels straight before reversing into any convenient bay and parking the car (examiners should not instruct candidates to park in the centre of the bay). The instruction is to prevent them reversing back, into the bay on the same lock.

Providing some attempt has been made to straighten the front wheels, examiners should not be concerned if the wheels are not completely straight. The candidate may elect to drive forward to adjust the angle at which they address the bay they intend to reverse into, or space permitting, they are allowed to drive forwards into one bay before reversing back in a straight line into the opposing bay.

Once the exercise is completed the candidate can be given the instructions for following directions around the route.

At the end of the test

On the approach to the centre the candidate should be advised to turn into the car park and reverse into any convenient bay to park the car. The candidate can again make their own choice of bay and carry out the manoeuvre in the way that they choose, given the restrictions that may be imposed by the characteristics of the car park.

Candidates should park within a bay, but examiners should not be too concerned, when making their assessment, of the final position of the car in the bay. Parking outside the bay is unacceptable. Candidates should not normally be penalised for crossing the lines when entering the bay. Examiners should consider whether the car could reasonably be left, in that car park in the prevailing conditions, in that position. Exceptionally the examiner may feel the need to leave the car before making an assessment. This is acceptable provided the candidate is asked to secure the car and stop the engine.

Irrespective of the presence of other vehicles or pedestrians, the candidate should be expected to take all round observations to ensure that the manoeuvre is executed safely. The question is not whether there is anybody there, but whether the candidate has taken adequate observations to ensure that safety is maintained throughout the exercise. Observation should be assessed as though the exercise was carried out on road.

At some DTCs, to avoid congestion, it will be necessary for some examiners to carry out the exercise at the start of the test and some at the end. The exercise may be completed into any empty marked bay, irrespective of whether cars occupy the adjacent bays, providing that these vehicles do not encroach on the bay to be used.

Parking on the road

The candidate should be asked to pull up well before a parked vehicle identified by the examiner. They should then be asked to drive alongside it and reverse into a parked position either:

  • behind one parked car, when the exercise should be completed within two car lengths or
  • between two parked cars, where the gap should be equal to about two car lengths

Drivers of vans or other small commercial vehicles are expected to do this exercise in exactly the same way as a car driver. Vehicles parked on the offside of the road should not be used.

The candidate should show proper care for the safety of other road users while reversing.

If, because of the examiner’s seating position, the candidate has difficulty in taking observation, examiners should be prepared to adjust their seating position during the reversing exercises.

Forward parking:

The forward park exercise should be conducted into a parking bay in a car park along the test route, without the need to deviate too far from the route. The examiner will direct the candidate to a suitable area of the car park, which is not too busy and will not interfere with customers and car park owners / operators. There is no requirement to carry out this exercise between two cars. In exceptional circumstances, and depending on the layout of the car park, this can be carried out at the DTC, providing the manoeuvre can be conducted by steering into a parking bay, then reversing out to the left or right and driving forward into another area of the car park. If test centres are close to each other, this manoeuvre can be carried out in neighbouring test centre car parks, providing the conduct of the manoeuvre is not compromised.

Whilst being directed around the car park the candidate should be advised to drive forwards into any convenient bay, finishing within the lines, either to the right or the left (if car park allows). The candidate can make their own choice of bay and carry out the manoeuvre in the way that they choose, given the restrictions that may be imposed by the characteristics of the car park. The candidate should then be asked to reverse out to the right or left (if car park allows). If there are one way systems in operation, the examiner should dictate which direction the candidate is required to reverse in.

The size and layout of the car park may restrict the options available to the candidate. Examiners should make no attempt to determine or dictate which bay is used or how the candidate carries out the exercise. If the car park is too busy or no bays are available or suitable, the examiner should direct the candidate out of the car park. Candidates should park within a bay, but examiners should not be too concerned, when making their assessment, of the final position of the car in the bay. Parking outside the bay is unacceptable. Candidates should not normally be penalised for crossing the lines when entering the bay. Examiners should consider whether the car could reasonably be left, in that car park in the prevailing conditions, in that position. Exceptionally the examiner may feel the need to leave the car before making an assessment. This is acceptable provided the candidate is asked to secure the car and stop the engine.

Irrespective of the presence of other vehicles or pedestrians, the candidate should be expected to take all round observations to ensure that the manoeuvre is executed safely. The question is not whether there is anybody there, but whether the candidate has taken adequate observations to ensure that safety is maintained throughout the exercise.

The above is taken from The Driving Examiners Manual.
https://www.gov.uk/guidance/guidance-for-driving-examiners-carrying-out-driving-tests-dt1

Where appropriate it has been reformatted and edited so it only refers to the driving of ordinary cars (class b).

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