Car park etiquette rules

By Berty Nghiem on 24 October 2017
Car park crash

Christmas is not only a time of giving, it is a time when hordes of people go shopping for gifts and manners go out the window in the race to secure a parking spot. When this happens, tempers fray, delays increase and otherwise reasonable people end up doing things they later regret.

 But car parks needn’t get heated. If we all commit to courtesy, we’ll get home safely with our dignity intact. Use these rules to guide you, and feel free to suggest any new ones we might have missed.

1. If it isn’t a spot, don’t park there

Don’t be that guy that parks at the end of aisles. It might look like there’s just enough space for passing traffic but it was designed that way for a reason. Not only does this create a potential impediment for passing traffic, it also leaves your car vulnerable to collisions and scratches, which you definitely do not want. Park in designated spaces only!

2. Park straight and between the lines

It sounds simple but park accurately within the designated space. This makes it easier for those parked next to you, and allows them to get in and out of their vehicles and load their shopping items safely. If you park so close to someone that your door – or theirs – can’t easily open enough to get in or out, don’t be surprised if your door gets a ding.

3. Let drivers back out of their spots

If you see a fellow driver attempting to reverse out of a spot, be patient and give them enough room so they can safely reverse out of their space. A parking lot only works if people can come and go with ease.

4. If you don’t have a car you can’t save a parking spot

When you see this happening, it’s a sure sign that the car park has reached peak rudeness. It should go without saying that a passenger or friend can’t claim a spot by standing in it. This is extremely anti-social car park etiquette and is sure to raise temperatures and lead to an unhealthy confrontation.

Struggling to find available parking spaces? Download the free my nrma app which allows you to search for the best deals on parking then book and pay for a space.

5. Do not leave your shopping trolley untethered

Walk your shopping trolley back the bay. Leaving it untethered will create an obstruction for someone else, which will cause delays or worse still, an accident.

6. Drive slowly and defensively

Busy car parks are dangerous. Accidents are lying in wait. Obviously don’t text and drive, looking down for even a split second can lead to tragedy. Drive very slowly, anticipate other people’s actions, and respect pedestrians, staff and other drivers.

7. Road rules apply in shopping centres

Follow the directional arrows and watch for pedestrian crossings in parking lots. You could be fined and lose demerit points for speeding in shopping centre car parks so it’s best to be considerate of those around you by sticking to the speed limit and obeying the signs posted in a parking lot.

Street Parking TIP: Don’t take up two spaces on the street

In residential areas where unmarked parking spaces are limited, always try to park as close to the end of an open space as you can. For example you can often find that there is enough room for two cars between driveways, but if you park in the middle you’ll make it impossible for another car to park in that space. Even if there is not room for two full-size cars, there may be room for a small car or a motorcycle. Be considerate.

8. Indicate clearly and fairly

When you see a spot become available, put your indicator on to show which space you are about to take. If another vehicle is close to the same space and has already has its turn signal, that space has already been claimed. Don’t push in, accept the loss – another spot will be vacant soon. If someone is already waiting for a spot they have dibs. It is usually clear what this scenario looks like.

On the rare occasion that two drivers will claim the same spot at exactly the same time, reason would suggest that the one furthest from the spot should give way. Generally speaking, if you have already driven passed a spot and it suddenly becomes available, it’s safer for you to drive on then try to claim it from another driver behind you.

Do you agree or disagree with the above points?