Digital Distractions Lead to New Phenomenon of ‘Parking Rage’ 1

Even if you’re trying to be a responsible driver and refrain from using your phone while driving, there’s still a chance you’ll cause conflict before ever pulling out of a parking spot. More and more people are using the time between getting in their car and putting the vehicle in drive to check email, browse Facebook, or engage in any number of other smartphone related distractions. And, this increasingly common lull can cause serious frustration for drivers hoping to snag what they thought would be a soon empty parking space.

A recent article in the New York Times suggests that this new habit of, “a kind of digital-age squatting — may lead to parking rage.” The old assumption that once you see a person get in their car it’s only a short wait before they pull out of the parking space and drive away is no longer valid. However, safety advocates say it’s a small price to pay for what appears to be an encouraging shift in behavior. The mere fact that more people are attending to these sort of tasks before starting their car shows drivers recognize the risks of trying to use their phone while actually in transit.

Unfortunately, not everyone is understanding. Stories of frustrated drivers who thought they’d scored a premium parking spot, only to discover they’d have to wait indefinitely are becoming commonplace. One squatter even said he was forced by a police officer to stop emailing and vacate the parking spot. Still others report being honked at, shouted at, or otherwise harassed for giving drivers the false impression that a spot was about to become available.

You’d expect that as more people grow accustomed to drivers taking a bit of time before vacating a parking space, the frustration level would eventually begin to subside. Still, as is the case with road rage, some drivers do have a tendency to overreact. And, even though you may have every right to stay in that parking spot as long as you’d like, you can still try to be conscientious of anyone who could be waiting. After all, you can always check Facebook when you get home.

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Andy Gillin

Andy Gillin received his Bachelor’s Degree from the University of California at Berkeley and his law degree from the University of Chicago. He is the managing partner of GJEL Accident Attorneys and has written and lectured in the field of plaintiffs’ personal injury law for numerous organizations. Andy is a highly recognized wrongful death lawyer in California.