At the rate at which people drive distracted, being vigilant could mean the difference between a quick tug at the steering wheel to avoid a collision or expensive panel work and a lot of frustration!
Here are a few things to bear in mind, which could make a big difference to your wallet and time!
1. Observe and respect the rules. Just as there are road rules, there are also laws within a public parking lot, and these too need to be obeyed. The speed limit is one such rule, as well as where to park and of course sound levels. As much as you might like the latest jam blasting from your sub-woofer the rest of the public most likely does not share your sentiments so please keep the volume low.
2. Watch for drivers backing out of blind spots. Small cars parked between larger vehicles like vans and SUVs often have to back blindly out of their spaces, so be alert and don’t lose your cool when a little car seemingly pops out of a parking space. If you are not driving too fast or distracted, you should be vigilant enough not to be caught off guard.
3. Posted speed limits. Many large parking areas have speed limit signs. These are for the safety of pedestrians and other drivers. They are not a suggestion nor are they displayed to decorate basement parking lots. Look out for them and obey them.
4. One Way signs and markings. In some malls and business centres, lanes in the parking area may be one-way-only and are most likely marked with a directional arrow painted on the ground at the beginning, middle and end of each lane. Whilst it may be tempting to scoot into a lane clearly marked as a one-way in order to get to a parking bay, the consequences, should your bumper unceremoniously kiss that of a car which has the right of way could be costly, time-consuming and embarrassing. Don’t risk it – rather drive right round till you get to the empty bay or find a parking spot elsewhere.
5. Stop and Yield signs. These serve the same purpose in parking lots as they do on public roads, allowing the right-of-way to a vehicle driving in a certain lane or direction. They should be obeyed not only because it is illegal not to do so, but because the only type of T-Bone you should be involved with, should be medium rare and accompanied with baby potatoes, not between your car and the one which had the right of way.
6. Handicapped spaces. You don’t need to be a rocket scientist to know that if you are not physically handicapped, these parking spots are not meant for you. In case you are not sure which they are, let us refresh your selective memory. Handicapped parking spaces are usually clearly marked with signs, special markings in a different colour paint and most often have a wheelchair sign and the word “RESERVED” written in big bold lettering – you simply can’t miss that! Also, they are often wider than regular spaces to accommodate wheel chairs; are located near disabled ramps, and are close to the business’s entrance. It might seem like a grand idea to pop your car into one of these bays but in fact, it is incredibly rude and selfish, so don’t do it.
7. Pedestrian crossing. These are commonly found near the main entrances and exits of most large malls and business parks. Similar to their purpose on a public road, pedestrian crossings (also known as zebra crossings) are especially for the safety of pedestrians. The moment a pedestrian steps onto a designated crossing, they have the legal right to walk across the road and motorists are obliged to let them do so. Granted, some pedestrians mistake the zebra crossing for an imaginary runway and in so doing annoy the living daylights out of waiting drivers. Be that as it may, motorists are strongly dissuaded from revving their engines, making obscene utterances or hooting at said pedestrians. Simply inhale and exhale a couple of times and before you know it the “model” would have stepped off the crossing allowing the flow of traffic to resume.
8. Indicators / turning signals. Using your indicators to give other drivers an idea what your intentions are is not only polite but serves the very purpose indicators were designed for. But not just that, using one’s indicators in a timely manner is highly appreciated by other motorists. It is important to note that indicators are not an optional extra, rather, they come standard on ALL vehicles; they do not have an expiry date nor are they susceptible to wear and tear. What this tells us ladies and gentlemen is that they should be used often and without fear. Once you get the hang of using them you will gradually notice a decline in angry gestures made at you by other drivers!