Few things are as risky as a high school parking lot. Driving the smallest car in the school almost triples that risk around where I am. Known as "That Chick With The Smart Car" or "That Crazy Chick With The Tiny Car", I've gotten my share of glares, and aggravated beeping, and mostly snarky comments about whether my car will make it over the speed mountain the city placed in front of our school.

Usually, I attempt to get one of the closer, end spaces, within view of the far windows so that I can make sure no one has attempted to tip my car over, or put it on the lawn, or hang it in a tree (I've gotten threats for all of these, usually half hearted jokes, but one can never be to careful). However, on days like today, that isn't a real viable option. Since the upper half of the lot was packed, I ended up taking one of the lower parking spaces. While gathering my things together, who should pull in beside me but two of the big pick up trucks. This was not my fault, nor was it my first pick of who pulled in beside me. What am I to do but throw my car in reverse, and back up to the point that I'm visible? As annoying as it is, it's no where near as annoying as trying to get out of a spot.

When everyone is rushing home, or to work, or to practice, being the smallest car is definitely a down point of my day. The massive blind spots in the back have a tendancy to block out one of the crucial sides of my view when trying to back out- a major inconvienience, and something that has merited several well deserved beeps in my direction.

The benefits of a Smart car in a high parking lot, is definitely the maneuverability. Zipping around the cars that wait in the same space near the entrance to the school, instead of waiting for people to move a little to fit a wider car through, has saved me both time and frustration. Of course, the same maneuverability is countered by the constant speed changes, and the stop and go traffic of a parking lot.

Another major hazard probably merits the most dangerous hazard as well. When exiting the school lot, everyone is met by the shiny yellow behind of the ever popular school bus, something that would turn my car into a convertible, and me into Marie Antoinette. Being nearly twice a smart in width, and 5 times that in length, these monsters are sure to squish me like a bug. Not to say that most bus drivers aren't very cautious, always on the look out for kids running to and fro, but sometimes, the tiny red car behind them is the very last thing on their minds.

All in all, it's fairly dangerous in a school lot, regardless on the size of your car. But sometimes it's just a little more hazardous for those few drivers who drive a strange car, or are on a similarly small transportation device.

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Comment by Justine Trollinger on October 14, 2011 at 12:34am

@ spicejax Yes I did get my car at Carousel. Nathan was an awesome rep, and seemed really happy to get me hooked up with Alice. I dunno if we could get enough Smarts out here to have a "road tour", the nearest dealer is Chicago.

@ Putt Putt the worst thing is when I park, and then two pickups park side by side of me, and then someone almost rear ends me because they can't see around the beds. I get that it's Iowa and some of the guys want a little bit of muscle to pull their friends out of ditches, but does it have to be THAT BIG? It's a wonder no one has hit anyone in our lot.

@jwight Yeah, I learned that pretty quick this year. Usually I'm pretty good about hanging around the end of the space, but sometimes when that minivan or that massive pickup parks next to you it's unavoidable. I wonder if they'd give me my own space if I made a big enough fuss about it? Probably not...

Comment by spicejax on September 7, 2011 at 6:48am

Wow, Justine. Another great Blog post. Your insightful, informative and well written post is a 'breath of fresh air'. In the sUSAi community. In fact, I have to say that you have the best writing in any smart car forum that I have seen to date. You are a asset to the smart owners. Don't let the immature school kids get you down.  Maybe you can get your MB dealer to bring some smarts out to your school for a 'smart Road Tour' and the 'smarter' kids can see for themselves. The more the merrier!  


It would be great if you could get together with those other four smart cars in your county, and document your adventures.

Keep up the great work!


PS- Did you get your car at Carousel Motors? (I just thought of a 'fun' thing for your smart...a Freight Train horn!) People will pay attention when Alice comes by.

Comment by jwight on September 7, 2011 at 5:04am
Word of warning - most of us have learned not to pull all the way to the front of a parking space.  If you do, the space looks empty and several folks have had their cars "bumped" by other drivers who thought they were pulling into an empty space.  As for blind spots, make sure the outside mirrors are adjusted correctly and keep checking...

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