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Last weekend before Christmas: Prepare for parking lot mayhem

Friday, December 20, 2013, 3:46 PM -

It's that time of year, the holiday spirit is in the air, with cheers, smiles and greetings going all around. That is, unless you've left your shopping until the last minute. The saying goes: The joy of giving is always better than receiving; but in order to give you must build up every ounce of courage and patience you have to venture out to your local shopping mall.

It is without a doubt, that you will not be the only one scrambling to find that perfect gift for someone on your list. Just remember, if we all work together, parking may actually be a pleasure! Below, are some tips for parking etiquette:

1. Make sure to get the bigger picture. Remember that there are other drivers in the parking lot, so make sure to look around at all times as cars will be coming at you from all different directions. Stay alert and be attentive and always make sure to maintain a proper following distance. Give yourself between 6-8 seconds of stopping time between you and the driver ahead to be safe and to decrease the chance of a traffic jam. 

2. Bring your patience. The time between Thanksgiving and New Years is the busiest of the year for shopping malls. It may take you up to an hour to find a parking spot, but if you're patient and courteous your chances of finding one increases. Getting frustrated, losing your temper, screaming and honking your horn does not do anyone any good. It actually causes drivers to focus less on the road, and everyone knows when you take your eyes off the road, that's when accidents happen. 

3. Always signal. A major cause of frustration is when two drivers are fighting over a parking spot. Remember to use your signal. It's the easiest way to let other drivers know that you are waiting for that parking spot. This leads to the next tip...

With good etiquette, parking may be a pleasure!

With good etiquette, parking may be a pleasure!

4. Know your size . Do not try to squeeze your car into a parking spot that is too small. You run the risk of causing damage to the cars next to you, not to mention, making it difficult for the drivers next to you to get in and out. The same goes for small cars. There are designated areas specifically for smaller vehicles, remember that bigger cars need larger spots.

5. A snail’s pace is the way to go. Besides other drivers trying to find parking spots, there are a lot of pedestrians walking around. Keep an eye out for them along with children. You need to be driving at a snail’s pace, especially because children are known to run out!

6. Don't park at a right angle.  For some reason, there are just those drivers who can't seem to park straight into a spot. This can be the cause for a lot of reactions. Did they scratch my car while pulling in? Am I going to hit them when I leave? Two cars could have parked here if they parked straight! Whether they were in a rush to park or just didn't have the skill, there are ways to avoid this scenario. Finding a spot near the very back is usually safer, and probably faster. You can also, try to reverse into your parking spot, that way it's a breeze when you're leaving.

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7. Know the rules. Make sure you park on properly market spots. If illegally parked, you run the risk of having your car towed, which is never fun to deal with when you are leaving the mall with countless shopping bags in tow. Not to mention, leaving your car in a made up parking spot can also be dangerous for other drivers when they are trying to maneuver around you.

Be courteous. Share the road. Everyone at the mall is probably just as frantic and rushed as you are. Be nice, drive on your side of the road and let others in when they are trying to turn. If you exude positive Karma, you'll get back positive karma, hopefully in the form of a parking spot! Remember, at the end of the day, it is just a parking spot. Happy holidays!

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