Parking Garage Etiquette

The point of a parking garage is to keep your car safe and secure, yet some people treat it like a testing facility for NASCAR. Luckily, Modern Manners Guy has 3 tips for proper parking garage etiquette.

Richie Frieman
5-minute read
Episode #204

Parking Garage Etiquette

Last week my beautiful son, Cole Ryan, was born. During our 5 days at the hospital, I was in and out of the parking garage to run errands and get the house ready. And even though I planned for Cole’s safety by installing a proper car seat and diaper bag packed to the brim, it seems that just driving out of the parking garage should have been my biggest concern. Even in my sturdy SUV, I felt threatened by the speeders that thought the hospital parking garage was testing facility for NASCAR.

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Proper Parking Garage Etiquette

So when I had to leave the hospital with our bundle of joy, I treated the car like it was made of porcelain and drove 5 miles an hour, honking my horn at every turn, just to make sure we got out of there in one piece. Thankfully we did, but the danger of improper drivers in parking garages doesn’t end there. It seems that every garage I go to – the mall, the movies, the doctor’s office, etc. – had rude drivers who sadly forgot about proper parking garage etiquette.

So before you buckle yourself in, check your rearview mirror, and glance at your blind spot, check out my top 3 Quick and Dirty Tips for proper parking garage etiquette:

Tip #1 – Watch It, Speed Racer!

As I said, while my wife and son were in the hospital, I spent many hours in and out of the parking garage. And each time, I felt like I was going into battle. From the minute I got into the garage, to the minute I scurried into the elevator, I thought my life was on the line. I’m not even talking about when I was in the car – just walking to my car seemed like a risk. Each time I walked inside, I had to dodge some psycho speed demon who was hell bent in getting out before anyone else and couldn’t care less about what was in their way…including me! When I finally got into my car, and was feeling somewhat more secure, I was surprised to find that I became an even larger target. It was like watching a tornado, where you hear the winds in the distance picking up and then WHAMO some wild speeder is headed towards you. What are these people thinking?!?!

Here’s the bottom line: When in a parking garage, never speed! It’s that simple.

The garage is built so you can’t – or shouldn’t – speed. Parking garages are narrow, dark, winding, and allow no room for error. Granted, the greedy owners do this to save space and money and pack the garage with as many cars as possible, but it has the added benefit of making it difficult to drive fast. But still, many people ignore this concept.

When you are in a parking garage, make it a point to drive defensively and treat every turn as crucial to your safety. Go slow, steady, and don’t rush. You will get out, I promise you. But if you think that speeding is the answer, you will be in for a wake up call when you accidentally hit someone or crash your car into another. Good work, Speed Racer.

Tip #2 – Don’t Hang Out

Have you ever gone to your parked car to put something away or grab something from the trunk, only to find someone waiting to take the spot? Then you have to smile and wave them off letting them know you are not leaving. And, boy oh boy, do they NOT like that! People actually get angry. Fortunately, that is neither you fault nor your problem. You should be able to go back to your car whenever you like.

The evil step-sister to this act is when people hang out in their car while getting ready to leave. You’ve seen these people, the ones who have to text 10 friends, fix their make-up, reorganize everything in their trunk, or talk to someone they happen to run in to while a train of cars waits behind them. Of course it is your right to take your time in your parking spot…but there’s no need to be a jerk and hang out while a row of people is waiting.

The point is, if it’s rush hour or a busy day, tell your friend you’ll call them back, fix your hair later, and if you have you rearrange the contents of your trunk, do so after you have pulled out and found a spot by the exit to stop. Yes, it stinks to rush yourself, but when you have 3, then 10, then 20 cars behind you as you put on your lip gloss, have some respect for others and hurry up a bit.

Tip #3 – Don’t Lose Your Ticket

Okay, this last tip sounds goofy but we’ve all had the following conversation:

Driver: Do you have the ticket?

Passenger: What? No, I thought you took it.

Driver: But I thought I gave it to you.

Passenger: I thought you took it with you.

Driver: Wait, were we supposed to leave it on the dashboard?

Passenger: Check the cup holder, I think you put it there.

Driver: (After checking) Nope… Just a coupon for TCBY… Which expired two months ago.

I can’t tell you how many times my wife and I have had this similar discussion. But for some reason, that tiny ticket goes missing like morals at a Kardashian Family Reunion. Even worse, when you start the great ticket search as you pull up to the ticket booth, the delay causes a tremendous back-up to occur. Why do we wait to until the last minute to find the ticket when we know it’s the most crucial part of the whole garage experience (next to safe driving)?

So, when you take that little ticket as you enter the garage, put it someplace safe where you can’t lose it. Be it your wallet, glove compartment, or in your pocket, make sure to remember where it is. Even say it out loud to your passenger, “I am putting this in my wallet, in case I forget, we both know.” And once you are in your car, make sure to have it ready BEFORE you get to the exit. We all want to get out of there fast and nothing will slow things down than a good ol’ argument about who has the golden ticket. 

Do you have a great story about a parking garage fiasco?

Post all the details in the comment section below. As always, if you have another manners question, I look forward to hearing from you at manners@quickanddirtytips.com. Check out my Modern Manners Guy Facebook page, follow me on Twitter @MannersQDT. And of course, check back next week for more Modern Manners Guy tips.

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