Overdrive Extra

Max Heine

Forgetting a parking place and other highway goofups

| May 13, 2014

Have you ever walked out of a truck stop and realized that you don’t exactly remember where you’re parked? I imagine that’s not too far-fetched, especially after you’ve been in a few gazillion truck stops, and maybe it’s dark, you’re starved for sleep …

Anyway, if it’s happened to you, you’ve got something in common with most four-wheelers. In an insurance.com poll, more than half of drivers say they’ve forgotten where they’ve parked, making it the most common driving embarrassment.

coffee mug
Three in 10 people admit to driving off with a drink or other object on top of their vehicle.

My family once drove off and left our dog at a scenic overlook along Little River Canyon in north Alabama. Once I got to the next overlook, I  returned and found Toots, who fortunately decided not to go hang-gliding. That puts me on par with No. 16 on the list: Forgot a passenger and had to go back: 8 percent (men: 11 percent; women: 6 percent).

I recall friends who, though normally very conscientious, came home from a Sunday outing with their three kids, unloaded the car and took a nap. Only upon waking did they discover their newborn, still in her carrier, left on the car’s trunk.

That oversight more or less ranks with No. 5: Driven away with something on the roof, such as coffee or a purse: 31 percent (men: 28 percent; women: 34 percent). (And I can’t believe only three in 10 people have driven off with something on the roof, but respondents have been known to let pride come before truth.)

When asked what mistake was most embarrassing, drivers age 25 to 54 say it’s going the wrong way down a one-way street. Yes, I recall how that maneuver throws the adrenalin pretty quickly into high gear (I did it once with a car full of my colleagues in pre-dawn Dallas), making it memorable.

Drivers age 55 to 64 say the most embarrassing is locking their keys in the car. Drivers over 65 say it’s driving away from the gas pump with the nozzle still in their cars.

So comment below – what’s your most embarrassing driving incident?

And if you’re curious about the whole list from the survey by insurance.com, an insurance shopping website, here it is:

1. Forgot where they parked: 52 percent (men: 44 percent; women: 59 percent)

2. Drove over a curb in a parking lot: 43 percent (men: 35 percent; women: 51 percent)

3. Locked keys in the car: 37 percent (men: 34 percent; women: 41 percent)

4. Gone the wrong way down a one-way street: 34 percent (men:  30 percent; women: 38 percent)

5. Driven away with something on the roof, such as coffee or a purse: 31 percent (men: 28 percent; women: 34 percent)

6. Tried to open a car door and realized it wasn’t your car: 29 percent (men: 24 percent; women: 34 percent)

7. Couldn’t back out of a parking spot because other cars or objects were too close: 27 percent (men: 21 percent; women: 33 percent)

8. Dropped your money or food at a drive-thru window:  26 percent (men: 23 percent; women: 28 percent)

9. Accidentally started your car’s panic alarm and couldn’t turn it off quickly: 22 percent (men: 18 percent; women: 26 percent)

  • jim stewart

    I don’t ever lose the truck. It’s the auto I can’t ever find. Maybe I don’t particularly care about it like I do my big truck so I don’t pay strict attention where I left it? I’m thinking seriously about painting the auto a florescent safety color!