Lifestyle

Parallel parking etiquette

A reader is curious about etiquette when someone has stopped in the traffic lane to back into a parallel parking space.

This is an instance that is not specifically covered in the Motor Vehicle Act. In the event of an collision, it may be the fault of either driver depending on the circumstances.

The driver that intends to park should signal to the right in advance of the parking space. Traffic following must not be following closer than is prudent, so there should be room to back up when the driver who is parking stops.

Be careful backing up, because following traffic may not have stopped, or stopped right behind. Move into the parking space, and if there is a curb, you must be within 30 cm with the right side of the vehicle when you stop.

Vehicles approaching from behind may pass the parking vehicle on the left only if the pass can be made in safety. Beware that the front end of the parking vehicle may swing out when it backs up.

Courtesy and caution will be the best guide in this circumstance. It would be wise to stop and wait if the person in front of you is parallel parking. It costs only seconds and you would appreciate a driver that did the same while you parked!

For more information on this topic, visit www.drivesmartbc.ca. Questions or comments are welcome by e-mail to comments@drivesmartbc.ca. Tim Schewe is a retired RCMP constable with many years of traffic law enforcement experience. His column appears Friday.

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