After attending many a car meet (and hosting several of our own), we’ve had our fair share of meet experiences! The good, the bad, and the downright confusing… Some of them have created everlasting memories of an epic night out with our friends, and other experiences… Well let’s just say, our facepalm game was strong. Burnouts, excessive noise, disrespecting the meet organizers and even the local law enforcement… There’s always ‘that guy’ who makes us cringe with their disturbingly inconsiderate antics. ‘Car Meet Etiquette’ is a term we’ve recently adopted to describe the way we should probably try and behave at car events – after all, we’re all a community, and we need to respect each other and sticker together to have a kickass time, right? After consulting our fellow friends on the car scene, we’ve compiled a list of the top dos and don’ts at your local car meet.
- Get out of your car!
If you’re at a car meet, don’t feel like you’re not welcome! There are hundreds (even thousands) of like-minded enthusiasts who are keen to meet other people, just like you are. You don’t meed mates with you to come along to a car meet; in fact, we encourage you to mingle and chat with other people as that’s what meets are all about – making friends! Don’t be that guy who just sits in their car all night long being the lord commander of the night’s watch – your car isn’t the wall, you CAN venture and mingle! You may have noticed that our friends at All Japan Day park everybody at random as opposed to with their mates – it’s for these exact reasons that they do this!
- Take photos and get on social media!
What’s as awesome as a night out with sweet cars, like-minded people and your mates? Heaps of pictures to remember the night and the cool rides you’ve seen! It doesn’t matter if you’re a professional photographer with a super expensive DSLR camera and an editing studio capable of producing a Hollywood blockbuster, or if you’re just a dude with a 2MP phone camera straight out of 2007. You should take heaps of photos of what you enjoyed seeing, and post them up online to share with your friends and other meet attendees! You never know – somebody might have really loved your car and snapped it, and you have yourself a new facebook cover photo because you love it so much (and vice versa with somebody and a shot you’ve taken)! Social media is the primary method for sharing meet information around nowadays, and the only way these meets are going to prosper is if you’re proactive on your social media! Invite your friends, share the events, like the facebook pages… It goes a long way in ensuring that the meets stay jam-packed of amazing and unique rides!
- Ask questions!
See a car you really like, and know that the individual standing near it is the owner? Don’t be afraid to come up to them and ask them about it! The same applies to you – if somebody comes up asking questions about your ride, take pride and talk to them about it! We’re sure that you’ve come across rides just like yours at meets and have seen some mods you’d really like to attempt yourself; well asking them about it not only gets you some great build advice, it can make some likeminded friends as well! Nothing makes the SL team happier than seeing new enthusiasts connect, and that’s one of the reasons we have meets in the first place.
- Don’t judge!
At Slow Life, it doesn’t matter what you drive. It doesn’t matter how much you’ve spent on it, or how little you’ve spent on it. It doesn’t matter how you’ve modified, or how you haven’t modified it. It doesn’t matter if it’s Japanese, Euro, American, Australian, or wherever else it may be from. It doesn’t matter how many kilowatts it recorded at the dyno last week, either. What matters is that you love your car, and you respect what everybody else has done to theirs! Every car is beautiful in its own unique way, including yours. Be proud of what you’ve built and what you own. Be proud of what everybody else has done, too! Your ride’s a masterpiece in your eyes, and so is every other ride at the meet. Compliment owners on their build, and you might just find that they appreciate yours just as much!
- Follow directions!
For every car meet, there’s a group (or individual) who’s taken the time out of their week to prepare, book and organize the fun night you’re attending. These guys (much like us) work very hard to ensure that you’re safe, fed, hydrated and entertained throughout the night, so it’s the respectful thing to do to simply follow the directions of the organizers without a fuss! If we ask you to not rev your car, it’s because we don’t want to have a bad reputation with the local law enforcement and residents. If we ask you to move your car, it’s because we pre-planned another use for the area you parked in (such as a U-turn bay or a display by one of the event sponsors, vendors or features). Following the directions or the organisers not only reduces the stress of putting the event together; it makes the event safer and more fun for everybody!
- Loud revving and burnouts
At every meet, there’s always ‘that guy’ who thinks he’s the next big D.K. and treats the meet like the next skid pan world championship. Guess what, buddy? It doesn’t make you look cool! In fact, it makes you look like a complete moron with a complete disregard for the safety of both yourself and other meet attendees. Think about the owner(s) of the venue this meet is being held at – would you like it if somebody laid a solid layer of rubber on the asphalt (or grass) that you’ve paid good money to have built and maintained? Not only is it unsafe, but excessive noise, revving and burnouts can have a serious long-term impact on the relationship between the car scene and the police, media and general public. Car meets are a privilege, not a right. This privilege could be taken away at the snap of the right fingers, and we don’t want to see that happen. If we can demonstrate that as a community we are family-orientated, safe, considerate and generally well-behaved; THAT is how we can actively reduce the ‘hoon’ stigma which has consistently plagued the car scene for many years. There are plenty of outlets for those with the need for speed, noise or skid – track days, drift prac and other motorsport events are held frequently around the state. Save the noise, the speed and the skids for the right place and the right time!
- Alcohol Consumption
This should be a no-brainer, but it’s one that still needs to be said. When cleaning up at events, it’s unbelievable how many cans and bottles of alcoholic beverages have been left behind! Cars and alcohol certainly don’t mix, and we really hope that whoever consumes alcohol has been a passenger and NOT a driver. It may be a fun night out, but car meets are not licensed venues; and thus can’t tolerate alcohol consumption. Meet locations are more often than not hosted in dry zones, and we strongly discourage getting on the drink at an unlicensed automotive event!
Although many event organisers provide bins or clean-up services at their events, it’s actually shocking how much litter is left behind. We’ve picked up everything – from soiled diapers to spare tyres(literally)! We have no idea how or why there were spare tyres left behind, but it’s happened! We’ve even encountered mashed up, semi-sundried portions of the colonel’s secret herbs and spices splattered all over the ground, and it really isn’t fun to clean up. If you have some rubbish at a meet, please don’t dispose of it on the ground! Either find a bin or take it with you until you can locate a bin. It’s that simple. Oh, and if you’re changing your tyres at a meet, your old spares can actually come in very handy!
- Disrespecting police and law enforcement
Believe it or not, the police are on our side. They cooperate with meet organisers to ensure that attendees are safe, and to encourage safe driving practices. It is only when attendees disrespect police with rude gestures, comments and behaviour that you’ll see yourself with a canary sticker on your windshield. This goes for driving too – excessive revving and dangerous driving not only disrespects the hardworking organisers; it disrespects the police as well! If you see a police car at a meet, this does not mean they’re there to defect you. We encourage police to attend our meets to see that we’re a well-behaved, family-orientated bunch of enthusiasts who simply love to get together and enjoy our cars. If you see a police officer walking around, they’re just walking around and doing their job. At the end of the day, it’s their job. Just like you have your job, and go to work. They’re doing the same. Don’t make it hard for them. A smile and a ‘hello’ can go a long way in ensuring that the positive relationship between the meet organisers (and the car scene as a whole) and the police continues to be a positive and prosperous one.
- Disrespecting the organisers
This is a big one. Don’t disrespect the people who have spent weeks organising the event you’ve happily attended. If there’s something you’re dissatisfied with about the meet, it’s okay to tell the organiser in a polite and courteous way! Organisers love receiving feedback about what they’re doing right and what could be done better, but blaming them for trivial matters such as a lack of room for you to park your car (most often by somebody who has arrived late) or not getting images of your car taken (yes, this has happened) is frankly inappropriate. When it’s meet night, we’re already stressed as it is. We work really hard to ensure that the meet runs smoothly and to reduce excessive noise and bad behaviour. By following our instructions, it goes a long way. Everything is done in the way it’s done for a specific reason, and at the end of the day, we’re all volunteering our time for your benefit. If you’re asked to move your car to a different spot, don’t tell us to go f**k ourselves (yes, that’s happened too), please understand that we are working on an event and that we require cooperation by all to ensure that the event runs as planned, and that you have a good time!
Well there are some car etiquette basics that we should all know. It’s not rocket science, it’s purely common sense. The majority are great, and we thank you all so much for your cooperation, love and support, and we can’t wait to catch up with you at an event again soon! If you’re doing all of the do’s and avoiding the don’ts, then you’re doing it right. These little things can go a long way in retaining a safe and family-friendly event for local car enthusiasts, and aids the organisers in bringing the community together for a fun time. It also ensures that we as a car community retain a cooperative and positive reputation with the police, local residents and the general public. Here’s to good behaviour, embracing the local car community, being a team player and to many more meets to come!