What Are Your Unwritten Rules of Parking Lot Etiquette?

What Are Your Unwritten Rules of Parking Lot Etiquette?
Photo: diy13, Shutterstock

When I recently asked Lifehacker readers for their unbreakable rules of driving etiquette, a sub-category of hot takes emerged. In addition to the rules of the road, it looks like the rules of the parking lot deserve their own space (pun intended).

Have you ever been walking to your car in a parked lot, only to notice a Kia Sorento on your tail? Once you (hopefully) rule out kidnapping, it’s clear that the driver is not after you, but your parking spot. They lurk and linger, waiting for you to drive away so they can snag the opening. And while there’s nothing obviously illegal about tailing someone back to their parking spot, here’s the thing: I’m not crazy about the power dynamic between my oh-so fragile body and the 1,361 kg of steel waiting on me to clear up a space. A little bit of parking lot etiquette would make the world a better place, if only we could all follow it.

I’m asking you, Lifehacker readers, to let it rip: What are your unwritten rules of parking lot etiquette? Why do some people leave shopping carts willy nilly? Why are people who can’t park between the lines allowed on the road at all? Why do we allow especially creative, arsehole drivers to turn parking lots into a game of Tetris?

Some parking lots are especially lawless, but don’t limit yourself to suburban parking lots — parking garages and street parking are fair game, too. Personally, I’d love to hear any of your diatribes about the rules of proper parallel parking. After reading through your responses, I’ll round up the most enlightened ones in a post next week.



  • Don’t be an idiot and deliberately take up 2 bays, while ignoring the lines.

    You may think that by doing so, will stop ppl parking beside you and scratching your car … But you are actually making your car a target for vented up frustration.

    I’m looking at you – BMW + MERC + MUSTANG + TESLA drivers.
    Guess what??? Ever wondered why your side mirrors are turned in when you return to your car?

    There are others that go to more extremes (which IMO is too much) – eg. Putting an “i can’t park straight” sticker on rear of the car… Why i don’t like that idea – is that the sticker damages the paintwork.

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