Your car gets tapped when I open my door to get out? With our tight spaces in parking lots these days, better get over it

Listen, I always try to park within the lines of spaces in parking lots–as difficult as that is getting to be in most parking lots in crowded suburban shopping areas these days.

And, I always try to open my door carefully when getting out.

Sometimes, in order to have room to exit my car, I have to open my door enough so that it touches the door of the car next to mine.

That’s what happened yesterday when I parked at a local grocery store. After my son and I started heading into the store, this woman approached us. She was holding a fussing toddler, and she was complaining that I “hit” her car when I got out.

“It’s not a big deal,” she said, sort of apologetically but also with a scolding tone–she wanted to make a point. “It didn’t cause any damage.”

No, my driver’s car door touching her front passenger door caused no damage.

“Sorry,” I said meekly.

But I was also annoyed.

What do motorists expect these days? Especially motorists living, working, shopping and parking in a crowded suburban area like Walnut Creek? Where everyone is competing for space in parking lots? And where parking lot owners seem to be shrinking the width of spaces to squeeze more cars in.

A former boss–or rather his wife–had a fit because her BMW SUV got dinged in the office parking lot. A company-wide memo went out, telling employees to be more careful when entering and exiting our vehicles. Duh.

This dinging occurred after the owner of the building resurfaced the parking lot to squeeze a few more spaces in.

Sorry, but owners of big vehicles–SUVs, vans, pickups–have the least cause to complain about their cars getting dinged by the doors of other cars in parking lots–especially when these owners are squeezing their vehicles into spaces designated for “compact”-sized cars.

I’m careful. I think most people are careful. We don’t go whamming our way out of our vehicles. After all, we want to protect our own property. And, if I cause damage to your car inadvertently, I’ll take responsibility.

But again, if you’re going drive your car into downtown Walnut Creek, get used to the fact that your car might get tapped by the door of another car when you park it. Your car’s precious paint job might even get nicked. I know. It’s annoying. It’s happened to my car. Mine has a few nicks here and there. But this is one of the hazards of modern car ownership.

8 thoughts on “Your car gets tapped when I open my door to get out? With our tight spaces in parking lots these days, better get over it

  1. Folks can always take a few minutes and a few dollars and buy car door protectors that slide onto the car door edge and protect the car next door.

    Of course people who are considerate enough and foresighted enough to do this usually aren't prone to do dinging anyway.


  2. In parking lots such as Trader Joes and Whole Foods, I partially blame the City Planners and Council for the dings on doors that occur on a regular basis. They are so anxious to get the tax dollars from the addition of establishments such as this that they make it easier for the stores to meet the minimum parking standards by increasing the number of spaces in a tight area.

    Also to blame are a majority of the people in Walnut Creek who feel it is necessary to drive large SUVs around town. Large cars were not made to fit into modern parking lots and harried shoppers don't care enough for others to take the time to use caution when parking and exiting their monster cars.

    The smaller parking spaces are particularly difficult to maneuver when one is older and has creeky knees that require one to open the car door to its fullest to get out.


  3. Why is it that the people who drive the biggest most polluting vehicles also do not park them in between the lines?
    Also on a related topic, why don't cars have bumpers any more? Remember those? Black rubber or metal chrome. Now even the tiniest miscalculation results in dings needing expensive repairs.


  4. I love the freedom of driving and parking in W.C. here in England space is at such apremium that bumping and worse is pretty much a given…all relative I suppose.


  5. If I come back to my car and someone has parked next to it but is way across the line, I'm intentionally NOT careful and usually give them a good whack. One time when I was commuting out of the Pleasant Hill BART station I came back in the evening to find that the person next to me had parked so far over the line and close to my car that I actually had to climb in through the window Dukes of Hazzard style (the other side was blocked by a light pole). I was so pissed that I actually keyed the offending car on their passenger side door. Illegal and childish? You bet! But I sure didn't lose any sleep over it.


  6. I don't know why but every time I go to the Trader Joe's on Oak Grove, there is bound to be many irate drivers. Some are just plain impatient and rude. They honk at you while you are waiting for a car to back out of the parking space. Sometimes they go around you (almost hitting the car that was backing out). And then they had the nerve to roll down the window and yell obscenities. This happened several times over the year.


  7. People are inconsiderate dumbasses for the most part. They couldn't care less when they fling their car doors open and scrape another car door. Heavy people are the worst, followed by people with babies. You would think that they would be more careful since they have “extra issues” to deal with. The feeling of entitlement is pathetic…


  8. To the person who said, why don't cars have bumpers anymore..AMEN! I'm tired of my car looking like crap because someone barely grazed it getting out of a tight spot.

    Parking sucks, though Walnut Creek is nowhere as near as bad as San Francisco. Perspective.


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