Vehicle Etiquette: How to Park Your Car


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We’ve all seen it – a vehicle parked too close to the line, across the line or on a wonky angle. It’s the luxury model or hotted-up car parked knowingly across two bays to avoid door dings and trolley scratches that really set your teeth on edge. Then there are the people who squeeze their giant SUV into a tiny spot and you have to climb into your car via the sunroof.

We’ve all done it – spotted a car park, committed to it and then realised, too late, that we don’t quite fit. Or we pull in quickly because we need to dash into the post office just before it shuts or grab a quick coffee before that meeting and we return to our car to notice we’ve parked askew in a straight bay/on the curb/up the curb/too far away from the curb – oh the shame.

Sometimes, there’s nothing more infuriating than searching for a parking spot. You’re busy and in a hurry and you don’t want to waste time circling the block or the parking garage searching for that illusive empty bay. And once you find that precious spot, you swoop on it. You feel under pressure too – the line of cars and their annoyed drivers twitch irritably as you painstakingly attempt to reverse into the car bay.

To avoid the public humiliation and personal aggravation of poor parking choices, follow these top tips.

Find Your Sweet Spot

Not all car parks are created equal. Some bays are narrower than others, some are angled, some are parallel and some are straight. If you’re not comfortable parallel parking or reverse parking, look for a different spot.

Be Patient and Wait Your Turn

Be patient, both with yourself and other people. Leave yourself enough time to find a decent parking spot instead of making parking an added pressure in your day. Also, wait your turn. Stealing another person’s parking space is just plain rude (and karma will bite you back one day!)

parkingPark Straight

If there are lines marking a bay, park straight between them. Try to park in the centre of the car bay with equal space on either side of your vehicle. Make sure you pull into the bay far enough but not so far that you stray into the bay in front of you (if there is one).

Don’t Straddle the Lines

Never, ever straddle the lines or take up more than one parking bay. If you’re worried about your car being dinged or scratched in the car park, park further away where there are fewer vehicles.

Close to the Curb

If you’re parking on the road, tuck your car in tightly with the curb (without scraping your rims). Make sure your vehicle isn’t jutting out into traffic.

Pay Attention to the Signs

Only park where parking is allowed. Never park in no parking, permit only or loading zones. We all know not to park in a disabled parking bay without the necessary permissions but these days there are more than just disabled bays set aside in car parks. You may also see bays marked out for parents with prams or pensioners; these are usually closer to the front entrance of a building, just like disabled bays.

Open Doors with Care

Open your doors carefully to avoid knocking or damaging your car doors or other vehicles. If parking on the street, be aware of pedestrians, cyclists and other traffic.

Protect Your Car

Your car will probably suffer a few dings, scratches and other parking related mishaps throughout its life. Luckily, most comprehensive car insurance policies will cover the repairs if you have a run in with a wayward trolley or open your car door onto a light post. Parking etiquette is important but if you need a refresher on how to park, try this parking guide, the Safe Drive Directory or watch some helpful how to park videos. Happy Driving!


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