Defensive driving isn’t all about driving. Sure, you need to drive defensively, taking all safety precautions such as wearing your seat belt and not allowing distractions to interfere with your driving, but you also need to think carefully about where you park your car as well.

It can be so tempting when you see an empty parking space close to entrance of your grocery store, but if it is marked for handicapped drivers only, or mother’s with small children, or compact cars, make certain you don’t violate the law in order to save yourself a 30-second walk.

In Florida (and in many other states) police take those signs very seriously and will ticket drivers who ignore. It is also possible (and legal) for the store to have your vehicle towed rather than waste time trying to track down the driver.

Indeed not every driver who has a ‘disabled’ parking permit actually needs one, but steps are being taken to weed out those in need from those who are simply lazy. Florida, for instance, has a new going into effect this October.

Under the current law, people with permanent disabled parking permits must renew them every 4 years, but they don’t have to prove they need them.
Starting next month, it will get tougher to cheat the system. Anyone in Florida with a blue permanent disabled parking permit must provide a certificate of disability signed by a doctor or other medical professional, each time they renew….Starting October 1st, when drivers renew those permanent disabled parking permits, they’ll need to provide a form signed by a licensed physician, as proof that they truly need it.

However, just because you see someone else using a disabled parking space without the proper permit is no reason to take the law into your own hands. Notify the store manager and let them sort it out. That is also part of being a good defensive driver and keeping your own ducks in order.