Many of us can find parking and looking for the right spot quite challenging but sometimes we also forget about checking our surroundings when we leave the car.
A few simple checks can avoid costly and irritating car park mistakes and make your trip a lot less stressful. This week’s tips give advice on parking from IAM RoadSmart’s head of driving and riding standards, Richard Gladman.
- Pick the right spot. The far end of a dark car park may not be the safest choice for a lone traveller returning late at night
- Costs of parking. Always carry change, a mobile phone or a bank card. If you are not a change carrier leave a few coins in your coin compartment and close the lid
- Timing is everything. Try not to choose a location you know will be busy at peak times or wait for the key time when the parking regulations change. Always check the local sign posts and markings as ignorance is no defence. Definitions of days such as bank holidays can also vary between places. If in doubt ask a parking attendant. Technically you should have a few minutes grace to get back to your car but it’s not worth the risk as fines are always much more than the parking charge
- Take your time. Don’t succumb to the pressure of time or people around you. Rushing could lead to costly mistakes
- Be on the lookout. Always check whether a parking permit is required and take note of where you parked. In a strange city or a huge car park it can be easy to lose your car. There are several parking apps available that you can use. If you are really worried about finding your car, a sticker in the windscreen may help
- Spot the danger signs – for example parking next to the trolley bay on a Saturday afternoon, broken glass in the darkest corners or parking next to a scruffy vehicle or people carrier. Young children don’t tend to think about other cars when they fling the doors open.
Richard said: “The competition for parking spaces can be really fierce in some towns and cities. By staying calm and giving yourself time, flexibility and a good grounding in local knowledge you will stand a much better chance of bagging that perfect space. If you want to stay healthy and save money then parking a little further away and walking can be a win-win.”