Parking lot confrontations are becoming more common in Seattle, according to a new study released Tuesday.
The study, published in the Journal of Applied Social Psychology, found that most people don’t realize how common it is for people to get into heated arguments over parking in the city.
The researchers interviewed 434 people between the ages of 20 and 44 and asked them about the kinds of arguments they’ve seen or witnessed at parking lots and whether they felt safe doing so.
About half the people reported at least one confrontation with someone who was being aggressive, aggressive, or threatening.
The most common reasons people cited for not getting out of their vehicles were not using a passcode, not leaving a parking passcode behind, or having someone else drive them.
The least common reasons were not showing the parking passcodes to the person who was driving them, not being able to use the passcode and parking lot security, not having a passphrase or other identification, and not being wearing a seat belt.
The findings suggest that many people aren’t paying attention to their surroundings or making sure that their car is properly secured, the researchers said.
They found that many parking lot confrontions occur after someone has been ticketed for not paying for a parking space.
And, people are most likely to be attacked when they’re parked in a handicapped parking space, the study found.
“Parking lots are often viewed as a place for people who have an established relationship with the owner,” said Dr. Steven W. Goss, lead author of the study and an associate professor of psychology at the University of Washington.
“And it seems like most people do not know what to do when confronted by an owner, whether it’s a parking ticket or a parking complaint.”
The study was funded by the National Science Foundation and conducted by the University at Buffalo.
Follow Melissa Ngo on Twitter at @melissa_go.
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