I despise when drivers take more parking spaces than necessary. I’m not referring to large RVs or combination vehicles that stretch across six parking spaces, especially when they’re in a distant row (although I think the same vehicle parked down the middle of 12 spaces is being inconsiderate). I’m referring to drivers who could easily fit their trailer in two parking spots, but insist on hogging four; or the full-sized pickup truck driver who cannot seem to pull forward and take just one spot, making the second spot unusable to someone else, especially in prime parking areas. It’s with these thoughts in mind that I took up the practice of “stunt parking,” a trick I devised to reduce my parking footprint.
First, a side story: I’ve actually had people tell me how “inconsiderate” I am for pulling my trailer though a drive-thru window lane. My usual reply is “Would you be upset if I was in an F-250 Crew Cab or a Sprinter van?” Never ready for facts to get in the way of being victimized, they usually retort with “It’s not the same!” They’re right, it’s not the same. In addition to being shorter than both of those vehicles, which means I take less space in a drive-thru lane, my car/trailer combination articulates at the hitch, making it far more maneuverable than either of them. I know I’m not the one leaving skid marks on the curbs in tight drive-thrus. And let’s see those trucks pull a U-turn on a two-lane road without reversing or driving over a curb! I’m also amused by how many trucks I see at the dump with a tiny trailer attached to avoid putting stuff in the (covered) bed of their pretty pickup truck. I laugh every time someone tells me I need a pick up truck!
Anyway, the easiest way to park is to pull forward through two adjacent spots (if I can find them). This is my common practice at Lowes or other shopping centers with abundant parking. I first devised “stunt parking” as a solution during a tour at a small base with limited parking. I eventually found some end spots with painted “buffer” zones that worked well for holding a trailer. Buffer zones identify paved areas are not large enough to safely park a car without impeding nearby traffic. I’ve never had anyone get upset with me for putting my trailer in part of one of these areas. After all, I can either take two spots or one. Which is preferred?
Later, I worked in an office with garage parking. Most parking structures do not have “pull-thru” spots. Instead, there are curb stops throughout, making pull-thrus impossible to find. So I did rounds of the structure and made note of key end spots that would hold my trailer. Areas near pillars usually did not allow parking. But that didn’t stop me from finding a way to park near or around them. I became a parking ninja with the ability to fit nearly anywhere!
These days, I can visit GoogleMaps to look at satellite images and find ideal parking spots ahead of time. Yes, I plan when I can. When I can’t research, or during unplanned stops, I see if I can get lucky or I park far away from other customers to reduce their inconvenience. The best spots are the ones that are long enough to hold an F-250, meaning that it’ll hold my car/trailer. But it’s still fun to find a spot like this one. The trailer is completely out of the designated driveway and does not interfere with anyone else’s ability to park. I call this a win! See my album below for more examples of stunt parking.