That's the finding of the latest Response Insurance National Driving Habits Survey, which shows a dramatic increase in the number of parking space stalkers poised to follow you to your car this holiday shopping season.
The first survey, conducted in 2000, had just 9 percent of drivers admitting to following shoppers back to their spaces to get their spot (a practice known as "stalking"). But this year the number jumped to more than 15 percent and for the first time, men have caught up to women in this stress-provoking approach to snag the best spot in the lot, according to the survey.
The four main parking space strategies identified by Response are:
- "Search-and-destroy" drivers, who cruise the aisles for a space;
- "Lie-and-wait" drivers, who position themselves at the end of an aisle waiting for an opening;
- "See-it-and-take-it" drivers, who simply takes the first space they see; and
- The aforementioned "stalkers."
Ray Palermo, director of public relations for Response Insurance, noted that of the four strategies, stalking was "the only one that was stressful to everyone involved."
"The stalker has the added disadvantage of stressing out the person they're getting the space from, even before they reach the spot," Palermo said.
The least stressful method according to the company? Just take the first spot you see and walk.
The previous survey had 12 percent of women and 5 percent of men stalking, but this year those numbers were almost even with nearly 16 percent of women and nearly 15 percent of men following shoppers in their cars as a strategy to get a good spot.
Drivers age 25 to 34 are again the most likely to stalk (23 percent), as are residents of urban areas (16 percent).
Response Insurance is a Meriden, Conn.-based, direct-to-the-consumer auto insurer that regularly provides to the public news and information regarding driver safety and transportation issues.
This Response Insurance National Driving Habits Survey of 1,000 adults was conducted in late August. The survey has a margin of error of plus or minus 3 percent.