10 parking tips for students at all universities, but especially UCF 

1 Arrive 30-45 minutes before your class starts.

Even if you live 15 minutes from campus, don't assume that you'll make it to class on time by leaving your house 20 minutes before your class begins. You will be late. Parking varies, and just because one day you find a spot right away doesn't mean you will the next day. Plan adequately and give yourself a little extra time in the morning. You can always get a coffee before class if you have a lot of time to spare.

2 If you see a whole bunch of cars going one direction, go the opposite way.

It's simple, really. If all the cars are turning left in the lot or garage, you'll have more chances of finding parking to the right. Sometimes, these cars might be headed all the way to the top of the garage or the front of the lot, and you'll waste a lot of time waiting for them as they drive super-slowly to where they want to go.

3 Don't be afraid to park on the inclines.

As a beginning driver, sometimes parking up on the inclines of the parking garages seems a little scary and unsafe. But actually, most of these spots are by default bigger than the ones on the levels. If you park cautiously, you're less likely to get your car dinged by other people's doors.

4 If you have doubts about fitting into a spot, keep looking.

It's not worth it. You might hit the other cars or maybe the pole, or you'll squeeze in only to realize that you can't get out of your car. It's too much of a hassle. Just be patient, and eventually you'll find another spot – one you can actually fit in.

5 Don't steal another person's spot.

You will be tempted to on days where parking is just dreadful. You might have been searching for parking for over 15 minutes, but don't give in to this urge. Not only will it make you a terrible human being, but that person that you took the spot from could be vengeful. They could key your car or slash your tires. You never know. Parking is serious.

6 Do follow people back to their cars.

It's not rude. They understand. They've done it too. When you're trying to park during the high traffic hours, this is the easiest and most reliable way to find parking. Plus you save gas because you don't have to keep looping around the lot or garage.

7 Garages shouldn't always be your go-to.

If you go to a school with a variety of parking choices, resist the pull of the shaded garage and try your luck at one of the open-air lots. These are usually bypassed by the majority of students because they assume they won't find parking, but in actuality you'll probably find something a lot quicker than in the garage. And if you arrive before 9 a.m. on campus, they're usually deserted, so you can have first pick at the best spots.

8 Avoid student hot spots.

At UCF, garages H, C, B and A are usually the worst ones to find parking. Garage H is near Classroom Building 1, where a majority of students have class during the day. C is behind the engineering building, and B is in front of the gym. Garage B is tough, though, because although there is a lot of in-and-out traffic, it's hectic and can get stressful. Garage A is the main one in front of the main university entrance, and is usually the go-to for lazy parkers – go figure. Now at Rollins, parking is a little trickier. There are no real "hot spots" because there are not enough lots for students to be choosy. Only upperclassmen can actually park on campus. Freshman and sophomores have to park in an off-campus garage (or find street parking in Winter Park – good luck with that!) and walk.

9 If possible, arrive before 10 a.m. or after 3 p.m.

Traffic is at its highest between these times, as these are the peak times for classes. Trying to park during these hours can be a nightmare, and if you can arrive earlier, you'll be grateful for it. Even if you get to school and just chill in your car, it's still a better alternative than panicking because you can't find parking and you're late for your 10:30 a.m. class.

10 If you're staying on campus late, avoid faraway and unpopulated areas.

This one should be a top priority if you're parking early in the day but staying on campus late. Make sure you don't park in a garage or lot that's unlit, or one that's empty after 7 p.m. And if you have no choice, don't be scared to ask campus police to escort you to your car. You can call them from booths located all around campus.


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