Crashes, Collisions, and Chaos: Parents in the Parking Lot


On rainy days, the school parking lot fills up with students and parents, and more often than not conflicts arise. PFHS students recount some of their parking lot experiences. 

Picture this: it’s a cold rainy day and you’re on your way to Potomac Falls High School. The time is 9 AM. School starts in 30 minutes. You have plenty of time, maybe you can stop at Starbucks and get coffee. Then you remember, it’s raining. You remember how the parking lot was last time it rained. You remember the 30 minutes it took you to turn into the school lot. The red turn light burning into your eyes and the rain lashing at the windshield. The parent who turned right in front of you and cut you off. You remember the horror of the parking lot on a rainy day and the horror of parent drivers.

On rainy days, parents don’t want their kids to walk to school in the rain, so reasonably they decide to drive them instead. The issue with this is that there are over 1,500 kids who attend PFHS; if 25% of kids get rides to school from parents, the number of cars in the lot increases well beyond 300. Not to mention teachers and staff as well. Mix in seniors and juniors with licenses, and you have a recipe for disaster.

Most issues start at the light stationed right outside the entrance. You have drivers turning right, left, and going straight into the school, and more often than not this creates major issues. Junior Karwaan Kotwal recounts his experience. Kotwal went to “turn right into the school” and “the cars turning left would turn on the yellow light and make a huge line. Our light was red, but it was green for the other cars going straight and they were blocked.” 

There is only one entrance for cars to get into the lot, and when that gets backed up, the line of cars ends up blocking the intersection. Kotwal described his experience by saying “It was almost like war.” Drivers often find themselves fighting their way through the intersection to get into the lot.

Many student drivers have had negative experiences in the lot with parent drivers. Senior Kyla Lee said they “block entrances and exits because they are trying to turn and make it difficult to turn out of my parking spot because they block half of the road.” 

There are three lanes in the lot where drivers can turn down to get to the front of the school. The usual route for parents is for them to turn down the third lane. This way would block the least amount of parking spots. But instead of doing that, they usually turn down all lanes and create a line of cars. “I was waiting to go forwards at the stop sign, and I was going to let this car in when a parent tried to turn when there was already a car trying to turn out so they blocked me and everyone else who was trying to go straight,” said Lee.

What can we do about this? Is there any solution to this madness? Senior Saba Banaii suggests  that students should consider carpooling. “I guarantee you there is a freshman, there is a sophomore, that is friends with a junior or senior that can drive,” said Banaii. 

Reducing the amount of cars trying to get to school, could definitely prove to be beneficial to everyone involved. 

Next time you look out your window in the morning and see raindrops falling, consider one of the following: walking with an umbrella, taking the bus, or carpooling. Adding more cars to the parking lot only creates more problems.