Ask the Parking Guru: Another Driver Boxed Me In, What Can I Do?


Dear Parking Guru,

I'm currently parked on the street and another driver has blocked me in by parking right up against my bumper. Given the state of their now well bent license plate, it looks like the driver may have given my truck's tow hitch a hearty bump and then just left his car where it was, post impact, not trying to hide any evidence.  I do not have enough room in the front to negotiate myself out of the spot.

SFMTA said that they can do nothing. Is that really the case? Driveway owners can have people towed at will but my blocked in vehicle gets no response?  What do you suggest?



Dear JS,

If someone has bashed their way into too tight of a spot, without considering how little space you have in front of you, you may find yourself boxed in, unable to leave the spot without banging someone's bumper. This is one of the more frustrating aspects of parking.

However, you have a few options in this situation: 

Option 1: Have someone help you.  Ask your passenger or passerby to guide you to make a few hundred little back and forth points in your turn in order to get out without doing any damage or causing you any embarrassment or blame for causing the damage, as  many cars have motion sensors that trigger an alarm if you even lightly tap the car.  

If it takes you an extra two minutes to make 20 tiny back and forth motions in order to get out, as inconvenient as it is, it is the right thing to do, and will earn you some Karmic bonus points.  Look at it as a challenge.  Acting with anger means that you now are carrying the poison.  Do it with integrity and skill, and your day will feel a lot better. And, the poisonous energy is left with the other person.  This is the hidden law of Karma at work.

Remember, Karma and is about the underlying intent of your actions.  Saying, "Screw that guy, he shouldn't have parked so close," and then bashing his car into the next century will not go over well before the Parking Karma Commissioner.  

Option 2: DPT and the police can check for outstanding warrants and violations and have them towed if that is the case.  Otherwise, there is nothing legally they can do for you.  DPT will probably not come out for this situation, but I was in this situation a few years ago and a police officer in the neighborhood did check for outstanding violations on the vehicle.

Option 3: If the person clearly has damaged your vehicle, and has left the scene, then they have committed a hit and run.  Your car being a parked car doesn't matter. If it was a mailbox, a lamppost, the law states that you need to leave a note.  The police will come out for this.  But in your case, seeing that all of the damage was to the other person's own vehicle, the consequences already have been given out.

Option 4: If so equipped, and only in an extreme emergency situations, with all other options being absolutely exhausted, and with someone's life on the line, being boxed in could be a reason to do an impromptu safety check on your truck to be certain that the four-wheel drive capability of your vehicle is in safe working order. One could rationalize it as a safety check before that trip up to Tahoe.  While this is endorsed by the Passive Aggressive Association of America, this is definitely not recommended by us. 

Good luck JS!

Let us know how it works out in the comments section.

And for everyone else, this would be an excellent time to take an informal poll in the comments section that I've always wondered about:

When parking, do you feel that it is okay to hit the bumpers of other cars?  Isn't that what bumpers are for, to bump? 

For more tips, tricks, secrets, and info about all things parking, Click Here.

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