Columbia is gorgeous at all times of the year, but what isn’t is the parking situation. As with most larger cities, parking has become a huge hassle, especially if you aren’t entirely comfortable with parking on the street. But we’re here to help!
As a Columbia resident, you know that parking downtown can be hard to come by, especially on weekends. With street parking as one of only a few options available to you, it's simply an unavoidable part of your life behind the wheel. So, if you have to park on the street, you may as well stay safe. Below are some basic things every Midlands Toyota driver can do to ensure the safety of their vehicle when parking on the street.
One-Stop Guide for Street Parking in Columbia
Having to parallel park on a busy street can certainly be nerve-wracking. In fact, parallel parking is something that many drivers struggle with, but it’s still an important skill to master. So, how comfortable are you with parallel parking? More importantly, can you parallel park? Because if the answer to either of these questions is no, you may want to just pony up the twenty-or-so bucks required to gain access to an oversaturated parking garage. However, if you have the mettle to take on the tall task of parallel parking on a busy city street, keep reading.
Quick Hacks for Street Parking
- Pay attention to the street signs: A common joke among big-city drivers is street signs are something that should be simple to interpret but, oftentimes, they’re not. With differing messages, time restraints, and symbols all coexisting on the same small rectangular sign, parking legally on the street can require some focus and mental fortitude. Take your time, read the signs and ensure that you won't be returning to a freshly booted vehicle.
- Park under street lights, not tree branches: If possible, it's always a good idea to park your car in a well-lit area. In general, the more visible your car is, the safer it will be. On the other hand, parking under trees should be avoided whenever possible. Trees shed debris with rain and wind and, on occasion, come down completely in severe weather. Not to mention bird poop is rather annoying, especially with a convertible.
- Fold in side mirrors: One of the easiest ways to protect your car when parking on the street is by simply folding in your driver-side side mirror. This prevents an irresponsible driver from passing too close to your parked car, clipping off your mirror, and continuing on with their day, leaving you with the bill for repairs.
- Take or hide your things and lock up: On average, over 80,000 unlocked cars are stolen yearly. That's right, unlocked cars. So, while this may seem like an obvious tip, it is an important one. Lock your car, take your keys with you and be sure that no valuables are visible to people passing by and peeking in. Make sure potential thieves are not interested in your car or anything inside it.
- Hey Siri, drop a pin: People are forgetful. We forget our keys, our phones, our wallets. Heck, sometimes we forget whether or not our kids are in the backseat. We also, on occasion, forget where we park. Prevent this issue by dropping a pin on your maps app before you leave your ride behind. Then, when you're ready to return, simply pull up the pin and find your ride in no time.
- Car wash: Getting your car washed about every two weeks is a great way to make sure your car looks presentable. Beyond that, it shows would-be thieves that you pay attention to your vehicle. Oftentimes, car thieves target vehicles that look neglected. The idea here is that they will have more time after the theft to do with the car what they want before the owner even notices it's gone. So, protect your car's exterior appearance and show people you care about your ride with frequent washes.
- Snow cover: A snow cover or car blanket protects your car from all elements. Whether that's snow, hail, tree debris, or bird droppings, a cover is a great way to protect your ride and prevent passersby from seeing what's inside.
- Sunshade: Over time, constant exposure to the sunlight will cause fading and cracks on your dash and other areas of your interior. A sunshade is a great way to protect your car's interior and prevent potential thieves from seeing something worth stealing in your car.
- Catalytic converter shield: This may sound like an unnecessary precaution, but when you consider the fact that an experienced thief can steal a catalytic converter in about two minutes, that $350 shield is looking a lot better than a $2,000+ converter.
With more and more people moving to major metropolitan areas each year, parking in areas like Dayton is getting harder and harder to find, while inventory for car thieves has never been higher. However, if you follow these steps, you can rest easy knowing that you've done all you can to protect your car while it's parked on the street.