You've Arrived Alive, but Now It's Time to Park.

Marilyn Regan

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Driving in the city or other crowded areas is a challenge. And once you reach your destination, parking is another. Spots are scarce to non-existent and your goal goes from parking close to parking anywhere. 

Please help me! I don’t want to go home.

When you finally locate a spot, you then need to determine if your car will fit. Parking can be a real tease. You drive in circles and would almost prefer to be stuck in traffic. At least you know you will move eventually.

Not so for parking spots.

It’s a test of patience and sheer willpower. But once you’ve found that elusive spot, you still need to consider some things.

Here are some of the basic rules of civilized parking. Even when you’re not feeling very civilized.

Do Not Park Unevenly

Observe the lines as you pull into a spot and park between them, making sure the sides of your care are parallel to them. Do not park at an angle.

Creativity and an undented car do not go hand-in-hand. You might not give a damn about the other guy’s car, but yours will take a hit as well.

It only takes a second to straighten out, and it’s much easier than a trip to an auto body repair shop, not to mention the costs.

Park Between the Lines

Your car should fit between the lines: front, back, left, and right. As evenly as possible.

Make sure the person beside you on the passenger side can open their doors. Also, make sure you’re not up against a car in front of you so much that you block their trunk or tailgate.

It’s too close for comfort. 

Remember the golden rule of doing unto others, and you’ll do the right thing.

Fitting Between Two Cars

Parallel parking is challenging and not for the meek.

First, you need to determine if you can fit into the spot. In general, the spot should be approximately one and a half times the length of your car. Signal immediately so the car behind you, if there is one, knows you intend to park. 

And start beeping for you to move. This is called parking rage.

Put your car in reverse, check your surroundings one more time, and cut the wheel to a 45-degree angle. Once you’re half-way in, straighten the wheel and align the car so you’re parallel with the curb.

Practice makes perfect, but try and get in with one attempt and make sure you are not too close to the person in front of and behind you. They need to maneuver out, and so do you. 

Leave a few inches in front of you for this purpose. Just make sure you do not touch the bumper of the care behind you. It could get ugly.

Handicap, Electric, and Small Vehicle Spots

Parking in a handicap spot without a placard or plate, or you’re not handicapped, is not only rude but downright selfish. If you do it, you’ll enjoy paying a $100 fine.

So don’t do it. Even if you’re only going to be only a second, park somewhere else.

Specialty spots and those for smaller vehicles should be used for what they were intended. If someone needs to charge their car and they can’t, it’s not like they can take a container to the nearest gas station.

And cramming a large vehicle in a spot meant for a smaller one means hitting the car next to you. No one likes to be dinged, including you.

One Spot per Car

You’ve worked hard and you’ve bought yourself the luxury vehicle you’ve always wanted. But there are no deluxe spots, so you’ll just need to use a regular one. 

No, you don’t want your car dented when someone opens their door. But you’re not entitled to two spaces.

If you need more room, go to the next item on the list.

Park as Far Away as Possible.

If the spots are tight, park away from other cars as much as possible to prevent the parking lot dings.

You might have to walk a bit further, but if you’re not handicap and are able to move without pain, you’ll get in a little extra exercise. You’ll return to your car with its impeccable paint job intact.

If you’ve decided to go with taking the two spot, go ahead. Depending on where you live and the temperament of the person parking next to you, you might return to a keyed car.

Hey, it happens.

Parking is a part of driving and has its rules. 

Following them will decrease the number of scratches and dents so that our vehicles look nicer longer. I don’t know about you, but extra dings don’t exactly brighten my day.

Many of us are trying to get somewhere or get home, so obey the simple rules of parking to keep things as civilized as possible. 

It’s worth the effort.

Photo: William Krause on Unsplash

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Marilyn is a writer, yogi, spiritual medium and animal lover. She is a Bostonian in every sense and has the accent to prove it. She loves the ocean, the outdoors, wine, and sleeping in. She days what she means and doesn't waste words. Finally, she is mother to one son, two cats and has three grandchildren.

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