The seven hazards of public car-parks have already been discussed. One reader mentioned the additional danger that cars may be broken into in car-parks. This is one of the reasons that parking on a wide and busy street can be preferable to parking in a parking building or designated parking area. The enclosed and often poorly lit purpose-designed spaces seldom feel especially welcoming or safe.
But parking your car on the street has its own set of problems to beware of. Here are my five pet parking peeves.
1. One car taking up two spots
Sometimes there is room between two driveways for two cars to parallel park on the side of the street. For motorists to be able to realise the full potential of such parking opportunities, they need to have a brain in their head and an awareness that people other than themselves also have needs.
Unfortunately, some drivers lack these attributes. I have seen cars parked in such a position that half a car could fit in front of it and half a car could fit behind it. Of course, in such circumstances, there is room for precisely zero other cars. Do not get me started on how inconsiderate this is, especially if parking spaces are at a premium.
2. Cars waiting behind you
This really irks me. Another motorist realises you're about to vacate a street-side parallel park and decides they will take possession of it as soon as you leave. Instead of driving past you, stopping, indicating left and preparing to reverse in once you've gone, they sit behind and to the right of you. This obscures your view of vehicles coming past them.
In such cases, in an attempt to leave the parking space, I edge forward a little bit then see there are cars coming past the waiting vehicle from my right, so I reverse back into the park to avoid being hit. Then I try again. Then I reverse. This can happen six or seven times all because that one driver has chosen to sit in the worst possible place. The good news is that the person who needlessly created the blind-spot is the person who is most inconvenienced by your dithering.
But do you know what's most annoying about these motorists? Once you've finally vacated the park, they whizz past it, stop and reverse in. You are kidding me. I have no words. If they'd done this originally I'd have been long gone. Instead, I'm mouthing obscenities into my rear-vision mirror.
3. Car noses over narrow pavements
Some streets have designated parking spaces that allow cars to park perpendicular to the road and the pavement. And sometimes these cars are driven so far forward that their noses protrude well over the pavement, meaning pedestrians have a difficult time edging past them. I'm looking in particular at the motorists who park in Kent Street and Teed Street, Newmarket. Sort yourselves out, please, and just back up a bit. Thank you.
4. Parking in a disabled park
As previously discussed, it is very poor form to park in a mobility parking space if you are not in possession of a mobility parking permit. Why is this so rude? The answer should be obvious: you are likely to be preventing people who are legitimately entitled to it from using it. (The same rule applies to so-called disabled toilets although this principle seems to not apply if you're an All Black seeking to host a romantic "tryst".)
5. Parking with two wheels on the kerb
The other week there was a vehicle in my favourite parallel-parking street that had been parked with its two left wheels up on the kerb. I want to say it was a ute. I think it was. I did a double take. Say what now? We do not park like that around here. This is not how we roll.
I kept well away from this particular vehicle for two reasons. Firstly, it would need more room than usual to extract itself from its awkward position so I didn't want my car in its path.
Secondly, and xenophobically, this vehicle must have belonged to an out-of-towner, possibly even someone from rural New Zealand. Ever alert to stranger danger, I intuitively understood the importance of giving this ute and its driver, clearly unfamiliar with our local custom of parking with all four wheels on the road, a wide berth.