Street Parking Safety Tips
Parking on the street safely is tough. Leaf litter, other cars, thieves and parking inspectors all pose a risk. Luckily, you can minimise that risk.
We investigate parking on the street safely:
- Reduce the potential ‘reward’ for thieves
- Fold in your wing mirrors, they’re expensive to replace
- Parking under trees is a bad idea
- Parking over the kerb can get you fined
1: Don’t give thieves a chance
We’ll start with one of the most important. At the end of the day, you can clean your car a lot more easily than replacing stolen items and fixing the damage.
Always avoid leaving anything valuable in a place where people can see. For example, a phone charger on the seat, a bag on the rear parcel shelf or a backpack in the cargo area (if you drive an SUV where it’s visible).
To make the risk of breaking into cars worth it, thieves want to make sure there’s something worth stealing.
Additionally, always double check doors are locked and windows are up – it’s a simple anti-theft option for your vehicle. Parking on the street safely starts with a secure vehicle.
2: Mirrors and handbrake
Pretty simple here. Fold in your wing mirrors and keep your handbrake applied when parked.
Folding in your wing mirrors will reduce the chance of a cyclist or other car swiping into it. They can be pretty expensive to replace – especially power mirrors with heating elements and turn signals.
A lot goes into car repainting, even small scratches are expensive to repair.
Parking on the street safely also means avoiding vandals. Sometimes vandals intentionally push and roll cars that have the hand brakes off. Simply keep it engaged when parked in addition to selecting ‘P’ if you have an automatic.
3: Trees and lights
Trees – no, lights – yes. Some drivers try to park under trees for shade. For a short time, this is ok but trees can damage car paint.
Birds, twigs, sap and leaf/flower debris all cause problems. Did you know that it can be acidic and stain paint? Furthermore, leaves and petals can clog drainage holes – the ones at the bottom of your windscreen, near the wipers for example.
Cooling a hot car is easier than fixing stained paint and clogged drainage holes.
Streetlights are a friend. Parking on the street safely at night means having enough light to (hopefully) deter thieves. Try to find a well-lit area on the street.
4: Over the kerb?
Often a solution to parking on the street safely is the two passenger-side wheels up on the footpath and the other two on the street.
Check with your council or local government as this can sometimes result in a parking fine. Parking over the kerb might block cycling lanes or pedestrian areas. Poor parking is a common driving mistake that’s easily made unless you go checking signs in the area.
If it’s permitted, it’s usually a good way to keep clear of other vehicles, especially on narrow streets.
5: Extra protection
If you’ve seen that yellowish-faded discoloration on some car headlights, it’s UV damage. Covers are the solution. Headlight covers are clear plastic films that adhere to the surface of headlights. They protect against sun and UV damage.
Some car dealers offer this service, but you can do it yourself – for much less. Products like Turtle Wax Ceramic Spray are a simple spray-on-wipe-off job. It protects your car’s paint from rain and dirty water.
Most cars come with these but if yours doesn’t have one, they can be a simple installation. Some people get the idea that ‘you hear car alarms all the time and no one comes running’. They aren’t usually aimed at catching thieves, but they do act as a deterrent.
These are large and cumbersome to fit over a car but can really help protect your car. Putting one on each night and taking it off again in the morning isn’t much fun but when parking on the street for a long period of time, a car cover is worth it. They protect from sun damage, rain, birds and tree debris.
End of the Day
For most people, their car is the most or second-most valuable asset they own. Taking good care of it is a no-brainer. If your car has been looking a little neglected, a spring clean can really help and following the above tips can keep it in good condition.
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