After our quick trip to the States and returning back in Oz, I noticed a difference in the way we drive. (no silly, i've known for a while that Aussies drive on the left side of the road... shesh. ;-) )
When I drive in the US, I use the "emergency brake" when I park on hills, just to make sure the car doesn't roll anywhere after I've parked it. (who knows, it could go for a joy ride w/out me and what fun would that be??)
However, whenever we stop to park anywhere here, we use that same break. No matter where I park... on a hill, in a parking garage, or in a driveway (sometimes those are really inclined!). Perhaps that's why it's called the "hand brake" here. It's used more often than just for 'emergencies'.
I don't know why I'll pull the break here as soon as I park, but I've never done it in the states. Kinda odd.
(oh, and to give full credit, it was first the wonderful hubby who noticed this unusual phenomena. pretty perceptive.)