Letter: How Is Your Parking Lot Etiquette?

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Last week I was in the parking lot of my doctor’s office and I had a frustrating experience. It made me wonder if people know that there are rules of etiquette that should be followed in parking lots.

I was looking for a parking space and the lot was quite full. I drove around the complex once and found no spots. As I was driving around the second time I saw a lady coming toward me with keys in her hand. There were no cars in front of or behind me, so I was able to turn around.

I followed the lady to her car and put my signal on to indicate that I was waiting for the parking spot. It took several minutes before she began to back out of the space. In the meantime, a car came up behind her. I assumed that she was just waiting for the lady to back out of the space so she could continue driving. As she backed out of the space and began to pull forward I had to back up to give her room. In the meantime, the other car pulled into the space. I was going to wait for them to get out to let them know I had been waiting for the space, but I decided that it was not worth the effort. I went on to find an open space even closer to the entrance.

After this experience, I thought a review of courtesy in the parking lot would be helpful to all:

1. When driving through a parking lot drive slowly and be observant as people are walking and cars are backing up.

2. Abide by traffic signs in parking lots (stop signs, crosswalks, etc).

3. Honor signs for reserved spaces for people with disabilities (this is a law).

4. Do not take up more than one parking space.

5. Do not leave your car parked behind a car in parking space.

6. If you are waiting for someone to back out of a space, make sure you put your signal on to indicate you are waiting for the space.

7. If you see someone already waiting for a space with their signal on, do not take their space

8. Be courteous and avoid conflict.

I looked at the most current copy of the New York State Driver’s Manual but found no rules for the parking lot except for number two above. Even though there are no formalized rules, general rules of courtesy should be practiced everywhere. I hope these guidelines will help you the next time you are driving through a parking lot.

—Linda J. Williams, M.Ed., D/B/A Etiquette and Writing Consultancy is a certified etiquette consultant. For more information, visit www.etiquetteandwritingconsultancy.com.


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