The fine art of parking

Credit: Andrew Huff/

It came to my attention yesterday as I pulled into a rather tight parking spot in my lime-coloured Ford Fiesta that people don’t know how to park. Not at all. As I squeezed out of my little hatch, I noticed that the Sentra to my left was completely diagonal, and the van on my right was riding the line like he was a tight-rope walker. Is it really that complicated?

Parking is one of the necessary lessons you learn when gaining your license. Parallel, reverse, straight in: You have to prove you can park your vehicle properly or you won’t get that magical card of freedom in your wallet. I admit, parallel parking can be tricky, especially with a larger car, but driving nose-first into a spot is hardly rocket science. And yet, I continue to see the worst park jobs in the history of mankind in my own grocery store parking lot. Is it that people just don’t care, or that they really can’t park?

Credit: Michael_Lehet/

Unfortunately, I think it has a lot to do with the fact that people don’t care. And that really eats at me. I have this thing about always considering people around me (I know, weird, but I do it) and it really irks me when people are so self-centered that they can’t, for one second, consider those around them and how their actions are affecting everyone else. If you take up 2, 3, 4 parking spots in the lot, not only do you look like a complete douche and are at risk of a car-keying, but you’re also making it that much harder for those around you to find parking.

But, maybe that’s asking too much of people: to be considerate.

Credit: bark/

I used to take my cars downtown everyday to work. I would, inevitably, have to park on the street. Usually I would be able to drive up and was spared the embarrassment of proving my semi-decent parallel parking skills (I love when a test vehicle has a back-up camera and sensors … love it). However, when that wasn’t the case, I made sure I was considerate enough to leave space for the person in front and behind me to get out if I was still there when they left. It also ensured the life of my front and rear bumpers.

However, in one particular case I parked at the end of a row, just before the corner of the street. I thought I would be the last car in the row (technically I should have been) so I pulled quite close to the car in front so I made sure my rear end wasn’t pushing out into the perpendicular street (smart call on my part, or so I thought). When I got back to my car at the end of the night I discovered someone parked behind me. He was touching my bumper. Literally pushed up against it.

I was livid.

Now, not only was it nearly impossible to get out of the spot (and took me close to 25 minutes with me continually honking the Hella horns to get anyone’s attention that this was not a cool situation), but I had to risk the rear bumper of my own car, our Subaru. I was beyond angry when I left the spot and the bastard’s car. I just wanted to break something (a windshield wiper, slash a tire, run a key along his door) just so he could learn his lesson. But I didn’t. And it made me angrier to think that he’d do it again in the future because he won’t have any trouble getting out of his spot.

When you park your car you’re leaving it to the mercy of the public. I have restraint, but some people don’t. Had I been a roid-raged mid-20s guy after a long, hard day in the office, and I’d seen my car trapped in a spot by some asshole idiot who didn’t know how to park, things might have ended differently. And that’s why it’s so important to be considerate. I can’t say it enough!

Credit: Rob Lee/

Parking can be a fine art, especially when the space is small or angled. But it doesn’t have to be rocket science. I understand the need to pull up quickly, turn off the car and run out for an errand. But take an extra 2 seconds to consider your surroundings (and the yellow or white lines on the pavement) and straighten yourself out. It will save those around you some aggravation, and it might keep your horrendously bad park job off Flickr.

Drive on,
– M.

~ by drivingmsmiranda on September 2, 2010.

4 Responses to “The fine art of parking”

  1. Funny you should post about parking. On Sunday I was with Pat (Belanger from high school)and we parked at the angrignon mall to go see a movie. When I got back out my car was the only car at that end of the parking lot and some ass**** parks a big white van with absoultely no space for me to get into my car, even pat who is thin couldnt fit between the van and my car. So I had to ahve him climb over the seats and into the drivers side to drive out so I could take over cause there was no way for me to do it. If I wasnt with pat god knows what I would ahve done to his car lol

  2. When driving my son’s pick up truck, that does not fit into parking spots in the west island, I park a bit farther away, and take up two spots (and sometimes more, as it is abit too long as well.) I think that I am a considerate driver, but what is one to do, they are making the spots smaller for cars, and our trucks just do not fit.

    • Hey Elizabeth,

      Thanks so much for the read!

      And in your case, you’re forgiven. I park like that when I have pickups too – it is much more considerate to park away from everyone and in two or more spots if you have a LARGE vehicle. But when you park a MINI Cooper across more than one spot at an angle, then there’s no excuse. 😉

      Drive on,
      – M.

  3. […] again I want to go back to this whole driving manual thing and being a better parker and driver in general (using your turn signal and all that jazz). If Ken Block can take his tricked […]

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