This week marks the start of the 5-minute grace period on muni meters, and in the aftermath of the taxi scandal and the unrelenting nature of subway douchery , some New Yorkers might be thinking of getting their cars out of storage early this year. However, since Mayor Bloomberg took office there’s been a 45 percent increase in traffic-enforcement agents and a 64 percent spike in parking fees, so you're likely to run into one while visiting your grandparents at their retirement home. Thankfully, there are some easy ways to avoid lovely Rita's wrath.

NY mag has some helpful hints in this week's issue on beating the orange ticket, including iPhone apps to guide you to busted meters, an interview with a meter maid (don't bother leaving a note on the dash), and tips on appealing tickets. To summarize: look for any errors on the tickets, always plead "not guilty" (and you'll likely get reduced ticket), and if you think the meter maid made a mistake, get proof (i.e., take a picture of that broken meter).