Barrett-Jackson’s car shows are a microcosm of daily life, at least when it comes to etiquette. Four car show etiquette tips kick off the polite way to interact at Barrett-Jackson’s annual Hot August Nights and other events, which translate neatly into the polite way to interact in the world.
Mind Your Proximity
You know how annoyed you get when a stranger stands so close you can smell his breath? The same annoyance can hit when you get too close to someone’s classic car. Anthropologist Edward T. Hall came up with four general rules of interpersonal distances back in 1966, according to McGraw Hill’s “Exploring Psychology”.
Hall’s guidelines put you at 0 to 1.5 feet for intimate distance, up to 4 feet for personal distance, 4 to 12 feet for social distance and 12 feet or more for public distance. No, you don’t have to stand 12 feet from a vehicle, but you should refrain from touching it, sitting on it or otherwise doing anything to leave fingerprints or marks. Also pay attention to any dangling or jutting accessories, such as your camera bag, prominent zippers or belt buckles that can rub against and scratch up the car, according to Car Show Central.
Mind Your Kids and Dogs
By their very nature, kids and dogs like to careen, run and jump–activities that don’t bode well in a Barrett-Jackson show packed with pristine vehicles. Not only can the running and careening cause them to scratch the surface of the classic autos, but they may be bold or excited enough and jump inside a vehicle.
Keeping dogs several feet away from vehicles can prevent claw or leash damage. Instilling your kids with a look-but-don’t-touch policy can go a long way at the auto show as well as in daily life.
Mind Your Vehicle
Even though you may be tempted to erect barbed wire around your own auto when it’s on display to keep it safe from people and their dogs, barbed wire is kind of a pain to travel with. Instead, you can protect your own car at a show, on the road, or even in your garage by ensuring you have adequate insurance.
Opt for a company and policy that suits your specific needs and vehicle type. One example of an option that may suit your needs is State Farm insurance for classic cars, tailored to cover classics 10 years old or older as well as antique cars that are at least 25 years old. This, of course, should translate to nurturing the essentials in your daily life outside of the auto realm, such as your house, family, health and financial matters.
Mind Your Manners
It doesn’t matter if someone’s classic Mustang is orange with peanut-butter colored polka dots or the fuchsia leather interior just looks all wrong to you – don’t criticize another person’s vehicle. Other car buffs have the same level of adoration for their own cars as you do for yours. You’re not just criticizing a car if you call it “repulsive.” You’re criticizing someone’s baby!
Advise your family members to use the same level of discretion when commenting on cars in a show or commenting on anything anywhere else in life, for that matter. Everyone’s allowed an opinion, but sharing it is not always the kindest or safest option.