Does leaving your car with a perfect stranger at a valet stand make you uneasy? According to a new survey, 60 percent of us feel exactly the same. So, here’s what you need to know about valet parking:

  • When you arrive: Don’t stop your car until the valet gives you a signal. And, don’t get out until they open your door. Valet parkers have to keep the traffic flowing. And if you stop short, or get out at the wrong time, you can cause a backlog - and set them up for a line of irritated guests.

  • Next: How much should you tip? This one surprised me: The valet who takes your car probably won’t be the valet who brings it back. So, the National Parking Association recommends a minimum of $2 dollars each time you drop off OR pick up your car. Valet’s typically pool their tips. 

  • Another valet parking tip: If your vehicle’s got quirks, say so. If you have a security system, or a broken turn signal, let the valet know so there are no surprises when they get behind the wheel. 

  • Finally: Here’s the question that everyone asks: Can I trust the valets? Sure, there are unscrupulous people in any profession. But the majority of valets are students or hard-working people making ends meet with a second job. Still, accidents happen. 

And if your car is damaged, or anything is missing - tell the valet manager. And get a written copy of their report. Most valet companies won’t accept responsibility – but at least you’ll have something to show the insurance company, to prove you weren’t at fault. That way, your rate won’t go up.