Published: Friday, November 30, 2018
Thought the stress of finding the perfect Christmas gift was bad? If you’re a last-minute shopper, you’ll know finding a car park at the shopping centre can be even more overwhelming. Here are a few things you need to know as you manoeuvre your way around the car park this silly season. Words: Lauren Ferrone
Can I be fined for speeding in a car park?
Ever zoomed to get to that vacant spot on the other side of the car park? If speed limit signs are displayed at the entry or in the car park, you must obey them just as you do on the road.
If there aren’t speed limit signs displayed, technically the default speed limit – which is 50km/h – should apply. However, travelling at that speed is not recommended, of course, as you risk the safety of pedestrians, yourself and other vehicles.
Remember, travelling at slower speeds will make it safer for you and others to get in and out, especially as most car parks are in tight spaces.
If you’re caught driving without due care in a car park, you’ll be pulled over and be required to attend court. You’ll face a maximum $2500 fine, 3 demerit points and a $160 Victims of Crime Levy.
Now that’s money which would have been better spent on Christmas presents.
Can I reserve a car park by standing in it?
You know the silly season is well and truly upon us when you spot a desperate shopper reserving a car park for their driver by standing in it.
While there’s no law against doing this, we don’t recommend risking the possibility of being struck by a vehicle. A few extra minutes trawling the car park won’t hurt nearly half as much.
What’s more, 80% of more than 1000 respondents in a recent RAA Facebook poll say it’s not okay to secure a spot this way.
Many respondents – like Natasha Gibson – say it’s only acceptable if a driver’s saving a spot for an ambulance, police, or an RAA Patrol.
“I did it [saved a park] for the RAA man who came to fix my car. People were really understanding,” she says.
Car park prangs
The percentage of car park accidents that happen while 1 or both cars are reversing.
Can I steal a park even if the other car is indicating first?
We’ve all been there: spent what feels like hours driving up and down each row until a free spot opens up with your name on it. Just when you thought you’d claimed the spot by flicking on your indicator, another car zooms in.
Unfortunately, there’s no law against stealing a park that another driver considers theirs because they were there first, but there is somewhat of an unwritten rule. The decent thing to do is to give way to the vehicle that reaches the space first and allow them enough room to move.
The majority of you agree, with a recent RAA Facebook poll revealing 88% of respondents have never stolen a car park. Some, however, have had it happen to them.
“I was waiting whilst a car was reversing out of a car park and, quick as a flash, another car ducked into the spot! Not nice!” Marg Zerner says.
Hefty price to park your car
The average cost of a car park insurance claim.
3 quick parking lot etiquette rules
1. Keep an eye out for pedestrians rushing between parked vehicles.
2. Take a minute or 2 to place your empty trolley in the bay provided, rather than leave it for fellow drivers to navigate around.
3. Don’t risk damaging parked vehicles by trying to squeeze between them with your trolley.