Car park etiquette rules

Car park etiquette Car park crash

With the holidays approaching and more cars back on the roads due to eased restrictions, parking spaces can go at a premium and cause some motorists to forget basic etiquette. When this happens in car parks, tempers can 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 can get home safely and 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 driver who 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. Only park in designated spots in which you and your vehicle are eligible.

2. Park straight and between the lines

It sounds simple, but ensure you are parked 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 vehicles 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 you come back to a dinged panel.

3. Let drivers 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 exit the space. Stopping too close will only delay you for a longer as they now have to navigate yet another obstacle. 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 a person reserving a space on-foot, it’s a sure sign 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. Unmanned trolleys have also been known to roll, so if you don't like the idea of someone's stray trolley hitting your car, don't do the same to someone else.

6. Drive slowly and defensively

Busy car parks are dangerous. Accidents can happen at any moment with so many fixed and moving obstructions in such a small place. Drive very slowly, anticipate other people’s actions, and respect pedestrians, staff and other drivers. Obviously don’t text and drive – looking down for even a split second can lead to tragedy.

7. Road rules apply in car parks

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

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

In residential areas where unmarked parking is limited, always try to park towards the end of an open space. If the spot is by a driveway, still leave a reasonable amount of room for another car to enter/exit. Even in smaller spaces, where there may not room for two large cars, there may be room for a small car or a motorcycle, so be considerate.

8. Indicate clearly and fairly

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

On the rare occasion that two drivers claim the same spot at the same time, reason would suggest that the one furthest from the spot should give way. Generally speaking, if you have already driven past a spot and it 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?