When was the last time you were in a parking lot and didn’t have commentary on at least one thing you witnessed there?
I can’t remember, either. In a 2012 survey, Consumer Reports asked 895 Americans to share their top gripes about their fellow motorists. Among them:
✓ Able-bodied drivers parking in designated handicapped spaces.
✓ Drivers taking up two parking spots.
But wait, there’s more!
How about the driver who parks so close to your car door that you find yourself becoming a contortionist just to get back in? Or the friend who misjudges the laws of nature (man versus SUV) as they run to stand in an open parking spot to “save” it for their driver? (Whew, thank goodness! Now they’ll make it to the game on time.)
Let’s break down these scenarios, and see if any of them could warrant a “count-to-10” approach by the imposed-upon driver. Maybe it could even lead to a renaissance in parking manners.
Hey, I said “maybe.”
Able-bodied in the handicapped spot: This one is particularly frustrating because those who truly are “abusing” the marked space are almost guaranteed of never getting caught, despite hefty fines posted clearly on the signs. Let alone taking advantage of a situation for their convenience, as they deny the needs of those who truly need these spots.
To be fair and give the benefit of doubt, consider the following possibilities: if there was no placard displayed in the car, it could have been misplaced. Or what if there was a placard, and the person getting out of the car “seemed” to be able-bodied? The Department of Motor Vehicles website provides a list of disabilities recognized by most states, including “able to walk only short distances”; “cardiac condition”; “visual acuity issues”. Absolutely these disabilities affect mobility, but not in a way visible to the observing public.
Now if the driver hops out of the car and skips to the storefront, there may be cause for wonder. All we can do is hope they will be “struck” by something–their own conscience if in fact they are abusing these spots.
Drivers taking up multiple spots: This one’s more blatant, but it does have a subtlety to consider. There’s the “diagonal” parker who lives live at a 45-degree angle (including their parking). More commonly, there’s the driver who thinks the white lines in the parking lot are suggested guidelines.
Lazy parkers have met their undoing, however, with the advent of smartphones. The internet is host to several sites highlighting their “skills”, this one being one of the more publishable: http://bad-parking.tumblr.com/.
In my never-ending struggle to find a reason for everything, I tell myself, “They had to park like that, because their parking spot was victimized by another adjacent poor-parker (also known as the “domino effect”). (This rationalizing also helps me sleep at night.)
Friend who goes “Auto-‘Pylon’”: Now there’s really no excusing this. First of all, what person realistically thinks they would win a showdown with a Chevy Suburban, all for securing a parking spot for their driver? Did they really think the driver who arrived there when it was legitimately available, would just wave, and say, “That’s okay – I’ll get the next one!”
A parking lot is NOT the place to implement the “Finders, keepers, losers, weepers” response, as these two men from Seattle discovered the hard way. Mortals posing as inanimate objects surrounded by masses of metal stand to lose much more than just a parking space.
So the bottom line is, there is no bottom line (unless you’re the pylon wannabe).
Parking lot moments are but a blip on the radar of life, and our sanity and safety are worth much more than any potential “glory” of getting there first.