As we all know, the holidays are a time of giving – and giving back. Acts of generosity, such as shopping for thoughtful gifts, putting coins into the red charity bucket, donating food or toys, and volunteering at soup kitchens and homeless shelters remind us of how fortunate we are and fill us with true holiday spirit.
But do we practice that mindfulness of others’ needs when we’re parking? Look around the parking lot or garage of any busy shopping center before the holidays and you’ll witness a tense competition for close-in spots, carelessly parked vehicles, unlawful use of disabled parking placards, and numerous other parking no-no's. It’s enough to make Santa Claus cringe.
Naughty or Nice?
This season, be conscious of your own parking etiquette and the needs of others. The International Parking & Mobility Institute (IPMI) has compiled a quick checklist of naughty and nice parking habits:
Naughty: You’ve parked sloppily and over the lines, at worst taking up two spots, or at best increasing the chances that neighboring shoppers can’t get in and out safely or without dinging their cars or side mirrors.
Nice: You’re looking out for pedestrians (especially children), pets, and other vehicles as you back out of your spot.
Naughty: You’re walking through the parking lot texting or talking on the phone, oblivious to the cars around you. According to the National Safety Council, more than 500,000 crashes occur in parking lots and garages annually, and numbers spike during the holidays.Back in the driver’s seat, you check your phone for messages while others are waiting for your space.
Nice: You return your shopping cart to the store or cart receptacle so it’s not rolling into cars, taking up precious parking spaces, or illegally blocking the cross -hatched zones needed by people with disabilities who use wheelchair ramps to exit their vehicles.
Naughty: You borrow your grandfather’s disabled parking placard even though he isn’t with you. This and other abuses practiced daily deny millions of people with disabilities the ability to shop, or lead an independent life, according to the Accessible Parking Coalition.
Nice: You park in the back of the lot where spaces are plentiful – after all, walking is healthy exercise that helps counter all that holiday overeating!
Naughty: Going too fast around a parking facility in order to secure an open space. If no speed limit is posted, assume it’s 15 mph.
Really Nice: When someone wants that parking spot you’ve coveted, you smile and gesture for him or her to take it, knowing another space will free up soon.
“There’s no quicker route to getting into the spirit of the season than putting someone else’s needs before your own – and no easier way to start than in the parking lot,” says Shawn Conrad, CEO of IPMI.
Conrad’s best advice? “Allowing extra time to find a spot during the holidays will make it even easier to be a safe, considerate, and courteous parker.”