We’ve all been through this – only a few slots remain (if any) and you’ve been going around for agonizing minutes. After finally hunting one down, you find your vehicle ill-fitted because the jerk-off in the SUV did a quickie, and parked it sideways.

Ladies and gents, I don’t care if you’re validating a ticket or watching a 4-hour movie. The way you park speaks volumes about you so don’t ever take it for granted.

While driving seems elementary, why does parking seem like a high-level function not all are equipped to perform?

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If you’re in dire need of a tutorial, read/watch as we breakdown the basics of parking your vehicle so you don’t find yourself (or your vehicle) the next shamed sensation on social media.

Pulling into a parking area

As you drive in, look around for the posted speed limit. Most don’t have any in this country so use common sense. Keep in mind that there may be vehicles backing out of a slot or people about to cross lanes from behind large SUVs. Driving too fast will prevent you from stopping on a dime to prevent an accident, so keep it slow.

Observe one-way lanes and stop signs

To conserve space and maximize profit, most parking areas designate single-direction lanes per section and these are often marked by a large arrow painted on the pavement or signs hanging from the ceiling.

Should these signs be faded beyond recognition, check the orientation of the vehicles along the lane. If they’re parked diagonally, it’s a clear sign that traffic along that lane moves along only a single direction.

Obey the stop signs, especially on corners, because you’re not the only one in the parking area and you may not even have right-of-way.

Parking etiquette: Park it like a pro

Use turn signals

Just like when you’re driving in traffic, use your turn signals while inside the parking area as you look for a vacant slot.

Doing so lets the driver behind you know that you’re driving slow not because you’re a rookie but you’re either pulling into an empty slot or turning into the next lane.

Parking etiquette: Park it like a pro

Park properly

It doesn’t have to be a work of art but we’ve seen parking anomalies that will make you go, “WTF!”

I understand that some people may be geometrically-challenged but you’re not landing the space shuttle. Even a one-eyed chimpanzee behind the wheel can distinguish between straight and diagonal lines.

Whether you’re backing up or going nose first, center that thing as close to perfect as you can. People generally get out of their vehicles after parking so they’ll need the proper amount of space to be able to open their doors.

Parallel-parking? Get that as close to the curb as possible without hopping on it. This ensures that no part of your vehicle is sticking out because if it is, the chances of it getting ripped off by passing traffic is very high.

If you can’t get it right in a two-point move, practice, because as popular saying goes, it ‘makes perfect.’

Also, we Filipinos love the mid-size SUV and for good reason – bad roads, flash floods, etc. When it comes to parking though, some slots seem slimmer than the usual and for this reason I say, don’t force the issue. If your fat truck or crossover is a tight squeeze, look elsewhere. That’s the price you pay for turning your back on the Wigo.

Park only inside designated spaces

Just because all slots are filled up doesn’t mean you can climb the curb and rest your vehicle there like the diva driver that you are.

That also means if you’re not a person with disability (PWD) and your vehicle doesn’t have a PWD sticker, don’t park on slots designated for the handicapped. There’s a special place in hell for people who do that and it includes those who block disabled access ramps.

Striped areas are meant for emergency vehicles like an ambulance and firetrucks, so don’t leave your car there unless you don’t care if it gets towed or tossed aside by burly men.

Also, driveways aren’t designated parking spaces by any stretch of the imagination so just don’t.

Parking etiquette: Park it like a pro

No reservations

Parking spots are designed to hold vehicles and should only be claimed by being driven into and not by a stand-in. This isn’t a hard-and-fast rule by any measure but plain common sense dictates that parking slots are on a first-come, first-served basis and since you’re not a car, you can’t park yourself there to reserve it; also since you don’t own the place, you’ve got no reservation rights.

Imagine having driven a good part of an hour, spotting a slot only to find a dude standing there saying its reserved.

Let’s curb this stupidity before everyone else starts bringing in stand-ins to the mall during peak hours just to reserve parking slots.

Parking etiquette: Park it like a pro

Do unto others...

If you hate dings on your doors, then be mindful when you open your own. Don’t swing it like Babe Ruth but rather nudge gently, just like how opened Dad’s room in high school to steal the car keys for a night out.

A pissed off car owner will tend to retaliate and even if your car isn’t there anymore, there’s always karma. Remember, ‘what goes around, comes around.’

Parking etiquette: Park it like a pro

Don’t be a creep

Lastly, don’t stalk someone to their vehicle. If you see a person walking out to a full parking lot, open your window and politely ask if they’re leaving.

People generally respond better to that than to a tinted vehicle creepily following you around.

Resist the urge, to show your artistic side on the surface of a dirty vehicle. I understand it is tempting to stick your finger and write ‘Please clean me’ or draw a Pokemon, but it is a juvenile act and it’s not like your car doesn’t get dirty every once in a while.

Park it, with etiquette

There it is, the ultimate guide to driver decorum, from the second you drive into a parking lot until the minute you step away from the premises.

It is ultra-comprehensive so it may seem like a lot but for the sake of decency and everyone else’ sanity, let’s all live by it.

If I make it seem like current conditions are barbaric, well it isn’t, not by a longshot. But let’s be honest, there are isolated cases out there that look like it was parked by a two-year old.

So unless you want to be on the business end of the next trending photo, park it like a pro kids and then tell ‘em you learned it from us, AutoIndustriya – the purveyors of parking politesse.