5 Ways to Be a Better Parker

1. Learn to become a “fast scanner”

Being able to identify what is and isn’t a spot from afar (as well as sizing up whether your car will fit) is the foundation of good parking. Keep the flow of traffic moving by scanning ahead, and not slowing to an inchworm-like crawl for every space in between cars.

2. Be aware of both your car AND your surroundings

Getting to know your car and your surroundings is just as essential when it comes to efficient parking. If you haven’t already, it may a good idea to lightly tap a bush or shopping cart to truly know where your front and rear bumpers actually are, from the perspective of the driver’s seat. We’ve all seen the person being overly cautious, and making a 10-point parking job that could be done in two. If you’re parallel parking on a busy street, get the back end of your car into the space as soon as possible. You can straighten your parking later, but allowing traffic to continue to flow past is what sets you apart as a more thoughtful parker (especially if its a two lane road).

3. Look before you open your door

You may be aligned perfectly, but your role as a good parker is far from over. When you’re exiting, don’t assume the role of “local idiot” by flinging your car door wide open into the street. It endangers bicyclists and causes oncoming cars to swerve out of the way. Even in parking lots, your door may hit the car next to you and possibly dent it if you’re parked too close. A good tip is to use your RIGHT hand to open the door handle, which makes it intuitive to check if someone’s coming and if you should wait.

4. Put your trash cans in the right place

The more parking spaces, the better, right? Benefit your local community and the parking world on trash pickup day by not putting the trash cans in a parking space; make sure to place them where the driveway meets the curb. This gives drivers enough space to park and reduces parking problems like traffic congestion on the streets.

5. Get in the car only when you’re ready to leave

In constantly busy parking lots such as in malls and complexes, getting in the car way before you’re ready to leave can frustrate other drivers waiting a for a spot and cause a scene. You wouldn’t re-organize your wallet or call your long lost cousin in the stall of a crowded bathroom – so refrain from doing the same when you know someone will want your parking spot. Only get in the car when you’re ready to leave.

Written by Peter V.
Peter is an L.A.-based designer, blogger and daily commuter. He explores what causes parking to suck in urban environments, how to bring about parking regulation changes, and the latest advancements in parking tech.