Parking Lot Etiquette

It's busy at the malls. Let's be considerate.

November 21, 2018

Parking lot etiquette. Somewhat of an oxymoron when you think about it, as parking lots seem to be the setting at times for general bad manners, inconsideration and sometimes even road rage. With the holidays upon us, it’s important to realize that most shoppers have the same goal, and every person’s time is just as valuable as everyone else’s. 

1. Let’s start out with my top peeve. If you know someone is waiting for your parking space, please try not to dawdle. You can make that phone call, text someone or apply makeup later. To take your sweet time when you know another car is waiting — and possibly blocking other cars from going around it — is ornery and inconsiderate. To take the stance of, “Well, as long as I am parked here, it’s my spot, and I can take my time and pull out when I please,” is nothing short of selfish and childish. On a similar note, if you are oblivious to someone waiting for your spot, please don’t take offense if they lightly tap on their horn to let you know they are waiting. It is best to get into the mindset that it is not your parking space; it actually belongs to the shopping center.

2. The evil stepsister to #1 is when you are simply dropping off packages to your car before heading back into the mall; there is someone interested in your spot, yet you simply unload without signaling to that person that you are not leaving. This is especially annoying if it takes you a few minutes to unload your packages while the other driver waits. You’ve already aggravated them by not being ready to pull out; ignoring them altogether only antagonizes them further. 

3. Do not take up more than one spot. If your car is parked even six inches into the space next to it, you may as well be taking up two spots. If you do it because you are worried about your car getting dinged, keep in mind, your actions could result in getting keyed, instead. 

4. Watch your speed in the parking lot. Pedestrians abound, and many times they are distracted. It doesn’t matter if they are not paying attention; no one deserves to be hit by a car, period, especially one that is going 15 miles over the posted speed limit. 

5. If you find yourself in a line of cars looking for parking, and a car way up ahead or on the next aisle over is pulling out, you may not have your passenger jump out and run over and stand in that space to reserve it. Well, you can, actually, but I can almost promise you it may not end well. A while back one such lady pulled that number while her husband was looking for an available space, and a very determined car pulled in and nudged her, causing her to trip backwards and twist her ankle. Merry Christmas!

5. If you are paying to park, please keep track of your ticket. The people stuck behind you at the exit have got their tickets ready, yet they are being held up by your lack of organization. 

6. If you are approaching a car pulling out, and another car is coming in the opposite direction, whoever flips on their turn signal first, gets the spot.  If you both hit it at the same time, my advice is to take the high road and move on. If you are insistent, good luck; just make sure during you’re little Wild West show that you’re not blocking other cars, including the car trying to pull out. 

7. If you have a small compact or sub-compact vehicle, such as a Mini Cooper or Smart car, please avoid pulling all the way into the space.  Park so that the back end of your car is in line with the cars beside you.  This lets drivers know that the space is occupied and does not give the false impression that the parking spot is vacant.

The holidays should be a joyful and magical time of year. Don’t let parking lot stress and conflicts put a damper on the season for you and others.