Driving down residential streets has become somewhat of a logistical nightmare which appears to be getting worse every year. It seems either the streets have shrunk, or every man and his dog own two vehicles, transforming what was a normal two-way street into a single lane mess. At times it feels like a constant battle of who gives way to who, or how close you can actually get to acar without swiping its mirrors off.
Can we blame the housing shortage? With average house prices hitting record highs, the number of occupants per household is increasing and children are living at home ‘rent-free’ for longer. There’s only so much off road parking one home can have. Or is the traffic to blame? More people are relying on public transport to get to work and back, and so leave their car outside their house for weekend use only.
According to the New Zealand Roadcode: “A motor vehicle must not be parked on the road during the hours of darkness unless it is clearly visible to other road users. This means it should be lit by street lights, or you should turn on the tail lights and the side light nearest the centre of the road on the front of the vehicle”.
However, from what we have seen, it seems that some rules of parking are less known and less policed. Here are a few places that the Roadcode advises not to park your vehicle:
• where it will be in the way of other people using the road (including pedestrians)
• near a corner, curve, hill, traffic island or intersection, if it will stop other people from seeing along the road
• on the road, if you can park the vehicle off the road without damaging grass or gardens (a controlling authority may have a bylaw and/or signs prohibiting parking on a grass verge)
• on any footpath
• without due care and consideration for other road users. You must leave sufficient room between your vehicle and any adjacent parked vehicles to allow easy access.
If you do get pinged for inconsiderate parking, you can expect to receive a parking infringement between $40-60 depending on the rule broken.
Catch 22 - even though we want to park off the side of the road as much as possible, we can’t block the footpath and there is a fine line between both. It is also a good idea to make sure there is not another vehicle parked on the roadside opposite your car. That is, unless you like scratches and regular mirror replacements. The risk is minimised if your car has clever mirrors that can fold in electrically.
A final tip: make sure your car has a current Warrant of Fitness and registration. Failure to display these could land you a $400 fine, even if your car is just outside your house.