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What happened to driving rules?

Published November 27. 2010 09:00AM

Stores and shopping centers spend thousands of dollars to paint lines on their lots in order to attempt to guide people into parking spaces in an orderly fashion especially when the spaces are slanted and not at right angles to the driving lanes. Yet, even with the visual aids it amazes me when people think they know better and do what they want to do in their cars.

What happened to the rules, I ask you? When I studied for my license about three decades ago, I was taught that the lines on the roads were meant to be obeyed and were not there as suggestions. So it baffles me when I see drivers who are impatient speeding in a parking lot to get the best parking space.

I like to get a close space just like the next driver but are you really that lazy that you have to break the law? There are typical kinds of parking outlaws that I saw within the last two weeks that really made me pause and wonder from which state they received a license, because it wasn't mine.

First there is the salmon driver. This is the driver who looks at the lot, finds the parking space he or she wants and then damned the flow, full speed ahead. If the arrow is pointing at him, he or she thinks it is an invitation and mows up the lane disregarding two simple visual cues they are not going in the right direction like the angles of the already parked cars and the confused drivers heading right at them in an antagonized unwanted game of chicken.

Am I impressed with that you can pull into a parking space that is angled backwards from the way you are facing? Mildly. In fact, I really don't care that you have such a tight turning radius that you can accomplish that feat. You are still GOING THE WRONG WAY! Unless you or your spouse are planning to spawn in Walmart in the next five minutes, try following the arrows.

Next there is the camouflage driver. This is the person who drives along the ends of the parking lane through the two unused parking spaces at the end of the rows. The travelling lane is only about twenty feet to their right or left but they insist on inventing their own lane. I don't know if they are in a hurry or what, but these drivers can be hard to spot when you pull out of your space and start heading down the feeder lanes to the end of the lot.

These are the kind of drivers that I think are well suited for a demolition derby or the autobahn. Of course there is no autobahn in this country and even if there was you would need to be ON THE ROAD.

The next rogue in the gallery is the friendly collider. This is the person who you see heading to their car. hey wave to you as they head down the side of their parked car as you sit and wait for them to leave their space. Next they turn around and smile as they look behind them both ways. You believe this is good fortune as you watch those white taillights activate signaling the space will soon be yours.

You are backed up far enough that a truck could get out of the space. The collider's car moves and then as they turns toward you, they gun the car and BAM! You get a chance to know this person who runs into your bumper much better during the information exchange because somehow they forgot you were there.

Another favorite is the space cutter. This driver is the one who drives between cars in the middle of rows hoping to find a better spot.I'm not talking about the pull-through artist who pulls in through a spot so they can pull out instead of backing out of the space when they leave.

I'm talking about the person who cruises at 15 MPH or more between parked cars for some odd reason. Those are the people who make me long for those cement bumpers once more.

More heinous than the space cutter though and at a new level of disdain in my rogues gallery is the handicap row cutter. Believe it or not, this actually happened to me. I was sitting waiting for a driver to leave a space. She got in her car as I pulled up and I waited. Out of the corner of my eye I saw another driver coming up the next aisle.

The lady in front of me pulled out and as I waited she turned to straighten out and leave. I started to pull into the spot when out of nowhere this dumb driver cuts across the painted lines used to provide space for handicapped people to get out of their cars, almost clips me and steals the space. It took all that I had not to blow my stack at this inconsiderate, negligent nut. This person didn't even drive through a real parking space.

So as this shopping season begins, beware the parking rogues. They are out there and don't let them make you a statistic. Of course, if you are one of those chronic offenders, please stop before you hit someone. Is it really worth an accident?

Til next time…

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