Car Park Etiquette – Guest Blog

If there is an element of driving that is sure to stoke the fires of road rage its bad parking. Whether it’s a car parked across multiple lines or sticking its butt into the road so everyone has to swerve around it, everyone has something that has their finger itching for the horn and muttering, if not full-on shouting, to themselves.

Here we list several ways in which we can all become better parkers, and so be better drivers and, in a small way, make the world a better place to be. They’re not rules exactly, more like guidelines.

Park in the lines

Parking space is at a premium and it’s a rare car park that has so much space that cars aren’t packed in. Whether you’re parked in a ‘private’ car park such as a supermarket or office, or public one such as an NCP, get your car between the painted lines as straight as possible. If you don’t you risk getting your car ‘dinged’ by whoever has to squeeze in next to you.

Disabled spaces are for disabled people

It’s a rare car park that doesn’t have spaces for disabled people or parent and child parking. These spaces aren’t just closer to the shop/elevator/etc. to make it easier for the people concerned; they are also wider to make it easier for them to get in and out of their vehicle. This is especially important for a disabled person who may require the car door to be opened to the maximum for safe access. Go find another spot, even if you’re ‘only going to be five minutes’.

Pick up points are pick up points

On a similar note, some car parks have drop off and pick up points, or loading bays – places where a passenger may quickly hop into, or out of, a car, or where someone is allowed to park get a particularly large item loaded into their vehicle. It is not intended to be the closest possible parking spot to the shop entrance, hospital main doors, etc. It’s amazing how lazy some people can be. By parking in these spots other cars that are genuinely dropping off or picking up will double-park, causing delays. Some car parks have areas that are marked out as not for parking, usually with yellow or white criss-crossing paint like a box junction.

That doesn’t stop some people parking in them of course, especially if they are in a convenient spot or it’s the first ‘space’ they see. The parking spaces at the far end of the car park are just as valid, but some people seem to be very lazy or selfish, or both, and just can’t be bothered. Such people could probably benefit from the exercise the extra walk to the further spaces brings.

Control the kids

With all the cars moving around you have to wonder why some people let their children run around – it’s a park for cars, not for kids!

Trolleys have their own parking bay

Another rant on laziness: Almost every supermarket car park has trolley bays dotted around so you’re rarely more than a few metres from one. So there’s no real reason to leave a trolley in the middle of a parking space or travelling gently around the car park being pushed by the wind into cars.

Don’t cause a jam

It’s universally recognised that some car parks are so popular that you’re lucky to find a space and some cars can be seen going round and round like a 10k Olympic runner, determined to find a spot somewhere. Inevitably some drivers will stop when they see someone about to leave a space (or think they’re about to leave) and will wait patiently for the parked car to move, causing people behind them to wait as well. But if that parked car shows no signs of leaving then please move on because the traffic behind you will be building up and you may cause a jam.

On the flip side of this coin, however, is the person who goes to their car to dump some shopping in the boot before heading back to the shops, or similar, sees someone waiting for their space because that person thinks they are going to leave, and does not bother to indicate that they are actually staying.

OK, rant over. Hopefully you haven’t recognised any bad habits of your own here, but if you have, please, please have some consideration for your fellow driver and car park user.


This article was written by Rob Powell from, the car insurance comparison website.

4 replies
  1. Kev
    Kev says:

    I think the main cause of bad parking is that people are simply in too much of a rush to care about how they’ve parked.. and consideration for others just doesn’t come into it. Cars hold personal space, therefore selfishness dominates. I wish we had a better ‘culture’ for parking, so people all reversed parked/ OR all parked front-facing.. so you wouldn’t ever have two driver’s doors banging into each other when the space is tight/someone parks over the lines etc.

  2. Parking Management
    Parking Management says:

    Great article. Kev makes some great point sin his comment too. With our hectic modern lifestyles, people are often in too much of a rush to put the time into perfect parking. Leaving your car parked badly can often stop someone else form being able to use the adjacent bay: especially frustrating during busy times.

  3. Andre Smith
    Andre Smith says:

    Well i run a parking management and enforcement company too. Reverse parking isn’t great as the exhaust fumes go into the adjacent buildings where nearby.
    My main bug bear is people using disabled bays without being disabled Its also always the same sorts of people. You could walk to a supermarket car park with 500 cars and you could walk in and tell who is driving the car in the disabled bay.

  4. MIchael
    MIchael says:

    Parking in a disabled bay when you are not disabled is just wrong. Personally i think offending drivers should have their cars impounded and pay a hefty fine!

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