Ten Tips for Bagging the Perfect Parking Spot
Andy Bolig - November 20, 2013 01:40 PM
Although it is estimated there are more than 800 million parking spaces in the United States (that's about three for every automobile), finding one during the busy holiday season is often a challenge.
The parking industry offers many ways to make parking less stressful and more efficient to ease some of that holiday tension.
"Technology is transforming parking and making it more consumer-friendly," says Liliana Rambo, CAPP, chair of the International Parking Institute (IPI), the world's largest association of parking professionals.
"Smart meters, new apps for smartphones and mobile devices, sensors, and sophisticated guidance systems that identify available spaces are being used in an increasing number of cities to make it easier to find, reserve, and pay for parking," says Rambo.
Ten tips to make holiday parking easier:
- Carpool with family or friends. A shopping outing with friends is a greener alternative that reduces the demand for parking, and it's more fun!
- Sign up. If your city offers smart parking options such as pay-by-phone, be sure to set up an account before you head out.
- Google it. Check the parking section of your destination's website. Many restaurants, theaters, shopping centers, and airports offer helpful information about local parking options.
- Avoid endless circling. Circling and "perching," the practice of waiting and following someone to their car, are inefficient, time-consuming, and fuel-wasting.
- Take the distant parking spot. Walking is good exercise and a stress reducer.
- Heads up. Whether driving or walking in a parking area, avoid distractions such as texting, rummaging through bags, and talking on the phone. One study cites fourteen percent of vehicle collisions that result in insurance claims happen in parking areas.
- Obey parking signs. 'Tis the season to avoid getting a ticket. Read signs carefully and don't take spots reserved for drivers with disabilities unless you have a valid permit.
- Watch for children. Little ones can make unpredictable moves and stand below drivers' lines of vision.
- Take note. Remember your parking location by level, section, and spot by jotting it down or snapping a photo. At a metered spot, note the expiration time. Some mobile apps will text or call you when your parking time is almost up.
- Lock up. Always be sure your car is in park, close the windows, lock your vehicle, and hide valuables and packages from sight. Never leave a child or pet in the car!
Best tip of all? Rambo advises that planning ahead and allowing extra time to find parking may be the best strategy for surviving the asphalt jungle and finding the right spot.