The Holiday rush is on and finding a parking space – any space – can be a challenge. We have a few tips for finding that space in record time.
In a November 22, 2017 report on TODAY, Andrew Velkey, an associate professor of psychology at Christopher Newport University in Virginia, states that some strategies are better than others.
When people enter a typical shopping center parking lot — where there are plenty of empty spaces, but not close to the entrance — they use two strategies:
- The active search: Drive up and down the rows, and look for a spot closest to the door.
- Pick a row, closest space: Enter any row and park in the first vacant spot you come across.
And the winner is: No. 2 — Pick a row, closest space. You’ll get to the store quicker.
“People who drive up and down the rows looking for a closer space… spend a lot of time looking, but when they actually park their car, they’re no closer to the door, on average — distance wise or foot travel time wise — than the people who use the other strategy,” Velkey said.
Men were more likely to use the “pick a row, closest space” strategy, while women were more likely to actively search, he found in his observations of a suburban Wal-Mart parking lot.
Sit and Wait
When a parking lot is completely full, say on Black Friday or during the Christmas shopping rush, the goal shifts from finding a good spot to finding any parking spot, so drivers use two modified strategies:
- The active search: Drive up and down the rows, and if you don’t find a spot, go on to another parking lot.
- Sit and wait: Drive into a parking lot, then sit and wait for someone to come out of the store and vacate a spot.
And the winner is: No. 2 — Sit and wait. It takes more time, but there’s a greater chance of success.
“People who use a sit-and-wait strategy were investing 8-12 minutes, typically, waiting for a parking space, but they almost always got a parking space,” Velkey found after observing a chronically overcrowded university parking lot.
Active searchers were successful in finding a spot only about a third of the time, but they only spent two or three minutes in the lot before trying their luck elsewhere, he added.
Focus On a Quick Exit Instead of a Close Spot
And here is another approach on parking from lifehacker.com.
Not every slot is equal when it comes to exiting the parking lot. Some will dump you out into a flow of pedestrian traffic and can waste considerable time. This is one of the advantages of picking a side lane and taking the first space you find while moving away from the store. Also, watch out for things like pharmacy pick-up spots that are likely to have a high rate of vehicle changes and thus can make it difficult for you to get out of the parking lot if others are pulling in and out when you need to leave.
It's a pretty simple idea, but it works incredibly well. If you have to go through three crosswalks, past a cart return, and near a pharmacy pick-up it's going to add a pretty significant amount of time to your visit.
Use Your Smartphone to Remember Where You Parked
If you're parking your car in a gigantic parking lot, then it's incredibly easy to lose track of it. Thankfully, your smartphone (or a piece of paper) can keep you from losing it.
All you need to do is snap a picture of the lot you're parked in with your car, and make a note (in any app you like) with any other details to help you remember where you're parked. This might include which store entrance you walked in, and what department that entrance is in.
Be Nice and Stay Calm
When you’re waiting for someone to vacate their space, don’t be too insistent. One study found people who saw someone waiting for their spot took longer to pull out, and were even slower to leave if someone honked.
Dean and Draper
We wish you a wonderful Holiday season and hope that our tips will allow you to find that illusive parking space with ease. When you have questions about your insurance, we are here to help you. Please contact us.
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