Rules of the Road – Parking Lot Etiquette

In our hurried modern lifestyle, common etiquette is seldom observed.  Especially in the mall parking lot when we find ourselves in a rush to find the perfect gift during the holiday season.  Parking lot rage can lead to violence.  You don’t want someone vandalizing your car while you’re inside shopping.

If you would like to ponder the wonders of parking lot etiquette, here are some basic steps you can take.

Do not block other parking space seekers while you wait for a space to open up near the store entrance. The drivers in the cars behind you may be finished with their errands, and are ready to head for work or home. If the person is already pulling out, that’s one thing. But if you’re sitting there while they walk to the car you’ll be trying the patience of every other car behind you, especially if they can’t go around you.

Never let small children push the shopping cart for you. A loaded shopping cart in a hilly parking lot can end up crashing into and damaging vehicles. Children should also not be allowed to ride the cart back to the vehicle, with the exception of small toddlers or infants riding in the special seat built into many shopping carts, while a parent has both hands on the handle.

Center your vehicle in its parking space. Overhanging the stripes will tend to crowd the driver who parks in the adjacent space, and frequently leads to door dings in cars.

Never force your car into a space. In crowded, busy parking lots, special compact car spaces are becoming more common. Standard parking spaces are generally 9 feet wide while compact car spaces are only 7 feet wide. Obviously, a large SUV or Pickup will not fit easily in a compact car space, and quite simply put, they are not supposed to.

Watch for drivers backing out of blind spots. Small cars parked between larger vehicles like vans and SUVs often have to back blindly out of their spaces, so be alert and give them a break.

Park shopping carts, dollies, and baskets in designated areas. Many large stores have cart corrals for shopping carts when the customer is finished unloading them. Putting the carts in these locations will make it less likely the cart you were using will end up denting someone else’s car.

Keep children under control walking through parking lots. This will help protect them from inattentive drivers.

Resist temptation to blow the horn (or give the finger) to other drivers. You may feel like they were discourteous, but showing grace, rather than anger, shows more class and prevents reciprocal aggression.

Use your turn signal. Signaling to others when reaching a desired parking spot will reduce unnecessary confusion in the parking lot. It is often thought that when two cars reach a parking spot at the same time from opposite directions, the one that turns their turn signal on first, claims the spot.

Don’t pull too far forward If you drive a small car (Honda Fit, Smart Car, Kia Rio, etc.) do not pull so far forward that your car can not be seen as a person drives down the lane, looking for a spot. Pull into the spot, out of the lane of traffic, but not so far that your car is unable to be seen from the lane.

Even if you decide to adopt these courteous practices, don’t expect others to do the same. Be careful of letting your expectations for others’ behavior contribute to your own potential “parking lot rage.”


Published by

Jody Thompson

I'm going to blog about my many shopping escapades. Whether it is a used book store, a thrift shop or a consignment shop-- I'm here to tell all about my experiences. When I find great stuff-- I'll let you know. I'm sending good karma to all the thrifty shoppers out there!

One thought on “Rules of the Road – Parking Lot Etiquette”

  1. Augh! It drives me CRAZY when those little cars pull all the way up, or worse still, there’s a motorcycle parked happily when you’re just about to pull in. Or when people park like they’re drunk, no where near the center of the space. I mean, really? But I really liked how you said to show class and refrain from flipping peope off! That made me laugh.
    Happy shopping!

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