Some DMV's require you to parallel park in order to get a drivers license. While parallel parking is a valuable skill, what seemingly no road tests or drivers ed classes cover is parking etiquette. Parking etiquette is a very large topic, but today I would like to narrow it down to parking so as to maximize the total amount of cars that can fit in any given space. I'll start out with the simplest example.
Lets say that you're given a small stretch of curb that is exactly two car lengths long plus enough room in front of, in between and behind the cars, as shown below on the left:
Clearly if you are trying to be courteous you would park in either the front or the back spot, as shown below, and not anywhere in-between as shown above on the right. The front space is slightly better as it makes it easier for someone to simply pull in behind you.
That was just an easy example, lets move on to something a little more advanced. Say that you are given a five car stretch and there is someone already parked incorrectly, as shown below:
The question now is where do you park? A common mistake is to pull up directly behind that car, as shown below:
Why is that incorrect? If the car in front of you pulls away then you are the one who looks like a jerk, even if you're not!
The next choice that a lot of people make is to attempt to park far enough away from them to counter their poor parking. While that technically will maximize the amount of spaces, it is very very hard to do and you end up looking like a jerk anyway. An example of what I mean is shown below:
So what is correct way to handle that situation? The best thing to do is to take the very back spot. You know that you are parked correctly, you are still maximizing the total number of spaces and you don't look like a jerk! If someone is incorrectly parked at the back or middle of a five car stretch, take the very front spot. The two examples I just mentioned are shown below: