Bay Parking: how many attempts do I get?


Your driving instructor may have told you that if you attempt the bay park but don’t get the car in the bay first time, you can shunt forwards & backwards to correct it. For this, you may be awarded a driving (‘minor’) fault.

But how many shunts are allowed? One or two? Three? Unlimited?

According to the Driving Examiner guidelines, there is no set number of shunts that is acceptable.

Here are some real experiences of some other instructors…

They only give them a few tries to get it right
Usually, 3-4 is the average


I had a student this week who completed the reverse after 3 adjustments. At the debrief the DE said if she hadn’t got the car in then, she would have been failed


There’s no limit […] if it was woefully bad so as to demonstrate little/no control they can just get candidate to drive on without opportunity for correction.


on a test one of my learners took a 2nd shunt and passed. He asked the examiner who said one more and you would have failed.


I’ve had someone pass with 5 attempts, as long as you are making progress they will let you continue. If you keep going back and forwards without changing […]they will call an end to it


As you can see, there seems to be a lot of variation in what has been acceptable on real driving tests.

My opinion, which is backed up by a very well respected instructor (who also trains people to become instructors in the first place) is that we need to look at what is happening on each shunt.

If the first attempt is way off the mark because of a complete loss of control, lack of observation or lack of understanding on how the steering should be applied then no amount of shunting is likely to work.
Similarly, if the candidate is shunting back and forth but not actually achieving anything (e.g. just ending up back in the same place each time) then the examiner is likely to award a serious fault and fail the candidate.

However, if each shunt is taken with good observation, the end result is getting closer each time, and the candidate is demonstrating that they understand, then the examiner is likely to be more lenient.

There is no limit… it’s all about making reasonable progress and improvement
If the attempts being made are doing nothing but confirming a lack of knowledge, understanding or ability then the examiner won’t be allowing that to be demonstrated again and again.
If, clearly, the pupil ‘gets it’ and is making sufficient efforts to rescue themselves in the right way, they will be given adequate chances to do so


My top tips for a successful bay park:

  • Move the car slowly and steadily, giving you time to observe, think, and adjust.
  • Make a plan before you move.
  • Every time you finish moving forwards or backwards, ensure the front wheels are straight.
  • Keep looking in different places: this gives you a general sense of position, and will make you more accurate than staring in just one mirror.

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