Lazy, thoughtless and careless... please just learn how to park

Modern driving standards are deteriorating, says Trevor Laffan, and a little consideration for other road users would go a long way.
Lazy, thoughtless and careless... please just learn how to park

Not only do some people park over the lines, but other park in disabled bays, when they do not have a disability. Picture: Stock

It’s amazing the number of drivers who insist on doing things their own way with no consideration for anyone else.

Green Party Leader and Minister for Transport, Eamon Ryan is no stranger to dreaming up unusual schemes. Growing lettuce on our windowsills, reintroducing wolves, and village car-pooling are just a few examples and now he’s at it again. His latest idea in relation to housing is a little confusing though.

“We need to get the balance right, we do need to provide housing for our young people, and it does need to be close to the centre and high quality, and at the same time numbers. We do need large numbers of new housing, and they do need to be high quality,” he said.

But to keep the prices down, he has suggested scrapping car parking facilities to cut costs of building new apartments.

Ryan reckons not everyone needs a car space, and the cost of the apartments could be reduced by not having to include expensive car parking. I think he might finally be onto something. He can’t eliminate car parking completely, but we could tweak his idea and save some money.

Parking spaces in apartment blocks, shopping centres and industrial estates are usually marked out with paint. They’re professionally lined to designate individual parking bays, with spots for disabled drivers and parents with toddlers. There is a cost associated with painting those lines and that gave me an idea. Don’t bother with them because nobody pays the slightest bit of attention to them anyway.

I meet my buddy every week for a coffee and because of the Covid restrictions we usually get the coffee and take it outside to the car and have a chat. Lots of people have the same idea and wherever we go, it’s always busy with cars constantly coming and going and it’s amazing the number of drivers who insist on doing things their own way with no consideration for anyone else.

It’s common to see drivers abandoning their cars, with the wheels on either side of the white line, taking up two spaces and lone drivers parking in parent and toddler spots and leaving it there while they go for a walk.

The worst offender of all though, is the cuckoo in the disabled bay. The one who parks the car and then trots off to the shop. I know not all disabilities are obvious or visible, but I reckon if you can give Sonia O’Sullivan a run for her money, then maybe you should save the disabled spot for someone who really needs it.

According to the Irish Wheelchair Association, many of their members find simple tasks such as going shopping or meeting a friend for a coffee is an ongoing challenge because too often these spaces are occupied by people who do not have a disability and many of them can often be very aggressive towards people who attempt to highlight their inappropriate parking.

I’m not exaggerating when I say that sometimes the parking is so bad, I expect the driver to realise it when they get out of the car and dash back to fix it, but they never do. They just lock it up and walk away. It’s lazy, thoughtless, careless and very annoying but unfortunately, it’s typical of the way modern driving standards are deteriorating. A little consideration for other road users would go a long way.

I was parked near the City Hall recently waiting to collect my wife after getting her vaccination. I reversed as closely as I could to the footpath behind me to make room for others. A lady pulled up in front of me and reversed up to my bumper. She turned off her engine, got out of the car with a shopping bag and was heading off about her business when I opened my window to call her. I explained to her that my life was going to get very complicated if I tried to move. She looked at me and threw her eyes up to heaven, jumped back into the car and moved it forward. Then she got out again and stormed off as if I had stood on her corns. If she understood what she had done, she gave no indication of it.

I had to go to my daughter’s house recently at half eight in the morning and it was an eye opener. They were stuck at home thanks to some bug they picked up, so I ran to the shop to pick up a few things for them. Because I’m not used to being out at that hour of the morning, I had forgotten what it was like. The traffic was manic. When I pulled into the supermarket car park, it was like being in the dodgems at a fairground. There were cars whizzing in all directions, everyone seemed in a rush.

The narrow roads were full of children walking to school, and in some places, there were no footpaths, but drivers weren’t slowing down. They were oblivious to any danger.

Passing the school was a nightmare. Cars were abandoned everywhere, including the very areas that are marked out to prevent parking. Those markings are designed to make the place safer for THEIR OWN children, but some people either didn’t understand or just didn’t care. Others were driving at a speed that was totally inappropriate for the location, given that there were children everywhere. By the time I got home, my nerves were frayed.

The following day I was walking through town when I saw a guy returning to his car to find he was blocked in. A car had parked to within six inches of his front bumper and another one had done the same thing behind him. He was scratching his head in amazement but there really was no mystery. Too many drivers simply can’t drive properly.

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