Social Question

mrentropy's avatar

Parking Lot Etiquette?

Asked by mrentropy (17173points) March 24th, 2010

Where I am, in Austin, there’s a bunch of large vehicles: pick-ups, SUVs, Hummers, and what not. And there’s also the small cars.

So, when you’re in a parking space in a small car and get sandwiched between two large vehicles it can make pulling out quite difficult, since it’s hard to see behind you past the big dogs.

I’m curious, then, as to what the proper “etiquette” is if another car is coming down the lane while someone is trying to pull out of a spot.

If you’re driving down the lane and see someone backing out of a spot do you stop and let them leave, or do you blithely drive behind them assuming that they should be aware of you and stop?

If you’re curious why I’m asking this, it’s because yesterday I was driving the small car and pulling out from between to pick-ups. It was impossible for me to see behind me until I would have been halfway out of the spot. While backing up, someone honked so I stopped to find out who I was about to hit. When I stopped, some dork just drove past me. I’m thinking, “If you knew I was pulling out and saw me moving, why honk the horn and run past?”

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38 Answers

Snarp's avatar

The polite thing to do is to be going slow enough that you can stop in time when someone is backing out and to let them out if they are in motion, particularly if they probably can’t see well. So that’s proper etiquette. What people do is another thing entirely.

wundayatta's avatar

Ah, it’s all about how polite or kind people are. I hate backing out, so I usually try to park backwards so I don’t have to. But when I do, I always go very slowly, and I look to one side and the other (killing my neck) to make sure there are no pedestrians or cars I might run into. And I have an SUV. The problem is not just yours. All you can do is proceed very slowly and carefully as you can. There’s no telling how other drivers will behave.

lucillelucillelucille's avatar

The person that is parked is supposed to yield.I usually stop,but would like to ram them into next week. ;)

CyanoticWasp's avatar

People are assholes sometimes, aren’t they?

Normally if I see someone having difficulty with visibility (as anyone could have judged from watching you back out of a blind spot) then I’ll act as your roadblock on one side anyway, and wait for you to get out. I’d honk if someone coming the other way didn’t see you (or you couldn’t see them and they weren’t stopping), but maybe that’s just me.

That’s why I always try to park so that I can pull out in a forward gear if possible, or park in the wide open spots of most larger parking lots—I don’t mind the walk.

j0ey's avatar

The moral of this story is that people are selfish ass holes that just want to get to A – B as quickly as possible…and they don’t care who they have to nearly crash into/pull out in front of in the process.

Snarp's avatar

@wundayatta I truly hate the back in. It’s actually easier to back out than in, and the visibility is often just about as bad, you have to stick your hood out into the traffic lane before you can really see anyway. Plus it makes you have to wait longer for the person in front of you parking, confuses people about what exactly the person in front of them is doing, and many who do it lack the necessary skill and end up crooked or pulled to far or not far enough into the spot. Of course, I’m sure you do it perfectly and with such skill and alacrity that I would have no room to complain. ;-)

Snarp's avatar

@lucillelucillelucille So the person parked should yield to someone they can’t possibly see? How does that work?

Snarp's avatar

@CyanoticWasp I agree with parking farther out, though I park a little closer now that I have kids. I like to park at the farthest cart return. The cart return ensures visibility on at least one side, there are usually fewer people out there anyway, and I walk in, but don’t have to walk around looking for a place to put my car.

squirbel's avatar

@lucillelucillelucille That is incorrect. The person driving down the lane in a parking lot is supposed to yield to the parked car. On the other hand, when parked cars are on a general road, the car that was parked is supposed to yield before entering traffic.

rebbel's avatar

Horns are a good thing, the ‘problem’ is that when we hear one sounding we don’t know what the horner is meaning with it.
Is he/she meaning “Get the f.. out of my way” or “Careful, i’m coming behind you” or “Watch it, there is a biker coming your way, and i have the idea that he didn’t see you”.
We usualy fill the meaning of the hornsounds in ourselves, and therefore can be totally wrong about what the horner wants to signal us

By the way, when i see someone backing out of a spot, i wait for him/her to do so, since then i can take their spot.

stratman37's avatar

I wish I had the money to keep a small fleet of POS cars just for this purpose. Just ramming buttholes who operate on roadrage, then drive off. Same goes for the morons who pull into traffic when I’m right up on ‘em, then they drive slower than my Grandmother. I mean, you were driving like such a daredevil just a moment ago, why not keep it going and accelerate? And let’s not forget the prideful stooges at the four way stop. You think you’re being courteous to wave them through, but they’re like “No way, man. You can’t tell me what to do!”

Ah, that feels better.

wundayatta's avatar

@Snarp Yeah, I’m pretty good at it. I’ve been doing it a lot of years.

Dr_Dredd's avatar

@rebbel Ah, the New York City method of parking. Find a person, follow them, and pounce on their spot!

Snarp's avatar

@stratman37 “morons who pull into traffic when I’m right up on ‘em, then they drive slower than my Grandmother” Are these perchance people accelerating to be able to merge into the right lane of the highway where you are gleefully speeding along, mindless of the fact that speeding in the right lane makes merging exceedingly difficult? Because I for one accelerate to merge, but once I’m safely on the highway in the right lane I’m going to slow down to the speed limit.

But while we’re ranting, I really hate people who show no sign of stopping when I have the right of way on my bicycle, forcing me to stop and then manage to slam on their brakes and wave me on, or even who stop when they have the right of way and wave me on. It takes effort to get up to stop and get up to speed again on a bike, I’ve stopped and have to go through that, you might as well go since all you have to do is move your foot.

And I always dream of getting an old Cadillac with a 500 cubic inch V8, reinforcing the frame and body, and just driving through assholes with it.

Trillian's avatar

@stratman37 I’ve noticed that a lot. “Bitch, you were in such a hurry to get out in front of me so I had to hit my brakes, why did you slow down? You know you need to push the pedal on the right, correct?”

jbfletcherfan's avatar

I always let people out. Because I’d like the same courtesy shown to me. It all comes down to “do unto others.”

stratman37's avatar

@Snarp how perfectly presumptuous of you! Yeah, that’s what I’m doing. Like you’ve never had someone pull out in front of you when you’re doing the speed limit in the right lane. Like there’s some law that says I have to use the left lane when I’m doing the speed limit. How are things on planet presumptuous?

Snarp's avatar

@stratman37 Just asking man. I’ve seen it both ways.

njnyjobs's avatar

Parking lots are not the place to speed up and down the parking aisles. IMO, vehicles pulling out of parking spots have the right of way when they are already in motion. But that doesn’t mean that the driver of that vehicle should neglect to be attentive of morons and idiots who can’t wait 10 seconds until you get out of your spot.

stratman37's avatar

OK, didn’t mean to bite your head off : )

stratman37's avatar

Like Seinfeld said “I’m old, and I’m coming back!”

mrentropy's avatar

Thanks everyone. I feel better now that you’ve all spewed your venom :D

In a parking lot, where’s there’s traffic, people, and children prone to shooting off in random directions, I believe it’s better to be slow than fast. So I tend to let the people backing out of spots have the right of way, even if I’m not parking. I always thought it was the safest thing to do and I’m glad that seems to be the majority of thinking here.

If we were to get into all the other things that other drivers do that piss me off then I’d be typing for the rest of the day.

wilma's avatar

lurve to @rebbel for “horner”. I’ll be keeping that word, hehe

rebbel's avatar

@wilma Well…, thanks!

casheroo's avatar

The last accident I got into was because someone slammed into me when I was backing out. I was pinned at fault though, because I should have known better than to back out and assume someone would stop if they saw me moving.
I stop. I’m never in that much of a rush that I have to risk getting hit.

Snarp's avatar

@prolificus I’ve been thinking of that scene since this thread started. And I’ve never even seen the movie.

davidbetterman's avatar

@lucillelucillelucille was correct (of course). The parked car just backing out is in the wrong and must yield the right of way. Why? Because the idiot is backing up and can’t see anything. What a moron.

mrentropy's avatar

It’s a tricky situation because everyone needs to be aware of what’s going on. The person traveling the lane needs to be aware of people backing up, but if you’re backing up you need to take care that someone isn’t so close to you they don’t see the reverse lights on.

WestRiverrat's avatar

I let them out. I don’t need to have the truck tied up at the auto body shop for a week while I have to walk to work

mowens's avatar

I really have no idea what made me think of this… but this question reminded me of a Ben Franklin quote.

“A rebellion is always legal in the first person, such as “our rebellion.” It is only in the third person – “their rebellion” – that it becomes illegal.”

I think it because my answer was going to be: It is only proper to wait for the person backing out, if you desire to have the spot in question.”

thriftymaid's avatar

This is why I try to park where I don’t have to back out of a space. I was hit by someone backing out of a space—a cop. My company prohibited backing out of parking spaces or driveways; it’s always safer to back into one than out of one.

Dr_Dredd's avatar

@thriftymaid Unless I’m the one trying to back into something. I’m really bad at it!

thriftymaid's avatar

@Dr_Dredd I made my mom start parking where she could pull through so she would not have to back out of a space. If she has to walk further, it’s good for her. :)

Dr_Dredd's avatar

@thriftymaid True. There’s a wonderful sign in our supermarket parking lot. It’s fairly far away from the store, and says, “This spot reserved for everyone who knows that a few extra steps every day can help them be healthy.” :-)

Of course, it really sucks in the dead of winter.

v8123's avatar

but what if you were backing up and hit a pedestrian instead of an oncoming car? Is the pedestrian at fault?

Kayak8's avatar

There are many companies with fleets of company-owned vehicles on the road who insist that their drivers ALWAYS back in to a parking space because it reduces accidents (and helps the corporate bottom line on insurance claims).

Information offered to women for safety in parking lots also includes being wary of large vehicles parked next to yours (particularly with tinted windows). You are safer if you back in because you can get out of the lot quicker if there is a problem with a potential attacker.

Dr_Dredd's avatar

@Kayak8 I never thought of that. Good point!

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