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Old 04-24-2006, 02:57 PM   #1 (permalink)
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Driving in parking lots

Today hubby and I had to go to the bank and then grocery shopping and we were nearly hit by cars in both parking lots; the first time we were leaving the lot and a driver just pulling out of a space nearly hit us, the second time a driver trying to pull into the next lane of stalls nearly hit us...we were in the main thoroughfare both times.

I don't recall from drivers ed or rereading my driving manual to renew my license...are there rules to driving in parking lots? I guess I've always assumed that drivers in the main thoroughfares had right of way, and drivers in the parking stall lanes should wait for the drivers in the thoroughfares. Both times the drivers were driving like a bat out of hell...parking lots aren't freeways...speeding in them isn't too smart.

Anyone know if there are rules about this, or should I just chalk both cases up to driver stupidity?
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Old 04-24-2006, 03:00 PM   #2 (permalink)
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There are certainly rules, but that doesn't rule out driver stupidty.
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Old 04-24-2006, 03:22 PM   #3 (permalink)
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Are there laws/rules? Where are they posted? I just looked over washington state's drivers handbook and it says nothing about how to drive in a parking lot. I have always thought parking lots were kind of grey areas, as they have no posted speed limits, no enforcement of traffic flow, etc. Seems like you will only run into trouble if you actually hit something.

Has anyone ever gotten a traffic ticket in a parking lot? Not talking about parking in a handicap. I mean for something like going against traffic flow, not signaling, stopping in the middle of the lane, etc

I imagine if a cop saw you doing 60 in the parking lot, you might be up for some sort of reckless driving offense perhaps, but maybe not a speeding ticket as there are no posted speed limits..

Always wondered if there are laws but have never decided to test it out for myself..
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Old 04-24-2006, 03:26 PM   #4 (permalink)
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Reckless endangerment?

Negligent operation of machinery?

etc.
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Old 04-24-2006, 03:34 PM   #5 (permalink)
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ah yes but those fall in the grey area bucket....(see my 60mph example)

Where are the laws that dictate what I can and can't do in a parking lot in terms of traffic flow, yielding, etc? I'd actually love to learn them if they really do exist.

Otherwise its a judgment thing, and we all know how good people's judgments are...
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Old 04-24-2006, 03:39 PM   #6 (permalink)
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Topper
ah yes but those fall in the grey area bucket....(see my 60mph example)

Where are the laws that dictate what I can and can't do in a parking lot in terms of traffic flow, yielding, etc? I'd actually love to learn them if they really do exist.

Otherwise its a judgment thing, and we all know how good people's judgments are...
This is exactly what I mean. I had to get my Utah license again two years ago and reread the manual and don't remember anything about parking lots.
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Old 04-24-2006, 03:58 PM   #7 (permalink)
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I remember back when I was 16 reading in the new driver handbook saying that in parking lots, the driver that is getting out of a lot has the right of way. I keep thinking back to that information once in awhile and I always thought that didn't make a whole lot of sense. I must've read it wrong
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Old 04-24-2006, 04:04 PM   #8 (permalink)
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Parking lots are private property. Do driving laws have any jurisdiction? It would see like they do, cause of the whole handicap spaces, but you can drive 100 miles per hour down your driveway if you want. Is there really a difference between you and the strip mall owner?
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Old 04-24-2006, 04:18 PM   #9 (permalink)
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most accidents i see that are almost are in parking lots...people are so preoccupied with what they are about to buy
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Old 04-24-2006, 05:37 PM   #10 (permalink)
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I do know that someone pulling out of a parking space has to yield the right of way to any cars that are going down a lane, but that's all that really stuck with me.
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Old 04-24-2006, 06:15 PM   #11 (permalink)
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Im thinking back a long time to my one parking lot accident but if I recall correctly the cops can assign fault for an accident in their report for insurance purposes etc. but they can't ticket anyone because it is private property. Of course that may vary by state and or locality.
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Old 04-24-2006, 06:42 PM   #12 (permalink)
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Here's how it goes.

A business is required by law to enforce certain regulations. This is where handicap spaces come from. A business may also create and enforce rules and regulations in regards to the parking area, either in order to protect itself from liability or to operate in the interests of it's business and profitability. This is where posted speed limits in parking lots and tag/tow rules come from.

Other than that, it's private property, to which the rules of the road do not apply. If two cars hit each other under any circumstances and the damage exceeds $1000 (here anyway; local regulations may vary) then a police report must be filed and insurance should be notified. This applies to private or public property and obviously the rules can be manipulated (such as waivers for demolition derbies).

So short answer, there are no strict rules laid down in the lawbooks, anymore than there are rules to how you should drive in your driveway or how a farmer should drive in his fields.

Common sense is the rule. Always go slow and use extra caution. You may be the safest/smartest driver on the road, but there's no accounting for the guy next to you.
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Old 04-25-2006, 04:49 AM   #13 (permalink)
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Martian is right about private property and the rules of the road, and most of it translates to the US. However, there's no $1,000 rule of thumb for police reports. Generally speaking, if you're in an accident and there's damage, call the police so that your insurance will respond.

I know from personal experience that the cops can ticket you if you blow through a posted stop sign on private property. I was in a car with a friend driving when he slowly rolled through a stop sign at a mall, and the cop lit us up. It was a $150 ticket, if I remember right.

As far as pedestrians in parking lots, on private property they are given the absolute right-of-way. So if someone hits you while you're walking in a parking lot, they're absoltely at fault. The law views a parking lot as one big sidewalk and therefore to be deferred to under pretty much all circumstances. You can't be ticketed for jaywalking in a parking lot, but you can be ticketed for striking a pedestrian.
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Old 04-25-2006, 07:22 AM   #14 (permalink)
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Most of the parking lots and structures that I use on a regular basis have posted 5 or 15mph speed limits. But then again, I'm usually on my bike so I don't have a huge traveling radius. Might just be that this town has cautious property-owners. About who pulls out first - should be common sense. I think you just ran into a couple of all-out jerks.
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Old 04-25-2006, 07:50 AM   #15 (permalink)
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First of all, it's difficult in MOST jursidiction to get a ticket in a parking lot, however, local laws can make it easier. Also, in the first case, you were likely in the wrong (from the sound of it). It's generally considered correct to yield the right of way to a person backing out of a spot, regardless of how full the lot it, because it is MUCH easier for someone in the mainway to see someone backing out than the other way around. Always yield right of way to the person with the most (potnetially) obstructed view.
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Old 04-25-2006, 08:17 AM   #16 (permalink)
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silly rabbit ...parking lots are for autocross racing, not parking. We just let you park there when we're not racing.
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Old 04-25-2006, 10:35 AM   #17 (permalink)
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In my state (and I assume most others), there is a maximum speed for all non-highway driving. It happens to be 55, but obviously might be different in your area. Thus, you could be ticketed for going 60 through a parking lot, as it violates the state speed limit. Residential property is likely a different issue, but you can't speed through someone else's parking lot.
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Old 04-25-2006, 10:51 AM   #18 (permalink)
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Did you read the above posts?

Parking lots are private property.
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Old 04-25-2006, 11:01 AM   #19 (permalink)
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Carno
Did you read the above posts?

Parking lots are private property.
Most parking lots are private property. None are my private property. It stands to reason that I could be prosecuted for exceeding the state speed limit in someone else's parking lot even if the owner had not put up a speed limit sign.

Now, if you're talking about all the parking lots you own, that's a different story: you can consent to having autocrosses in your own parking lots, e.g.
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Old 04-25-2006, 11:14 AM   #20 (permalink)
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Topper
Are there laws/rules? Where are they posted? I just looked over washington state's drivers handbook and it says nothing about how to drive in a parking lot. I have always thought parking lots were kind of grey areas, as they have no posted speed limits, no enforcement of traffic flow, etc.
I remember reading about this in the California Driver's Handbook once upon a time. There was a section about how if you don't see speed limit signs posted, you should drive 35 mph (with lines painted in the road) or 25 mph (with no lines painted in the road) until you see the next sign; in parking lots, the speed limit is 5-15 mph, depending on if there is a sign up or not. Most parking structures/lots I used in California had sign posted, but if they didn't, you were supposed to assume it was no higher than 15 mph. I could be wrong, but this is the information I remember and I studied like a madwoman for my driving exams. Also, there were a lot of public lots where I grew up, so I can imagine these rules wouldn't necessarily apply to privately owned lots (or in another state, for that matter).

Medusa, I'm sorry to hear that some idiots almost hit you and your husband. Your assumptions about parking lot conduct make plenty of sense to me. Just like in the street - if you're parked on a street and you want to join traffic, you have to wait until it's all clear because the cars that are already moving have the right of way. Of course, that is just common sense and a lot of people are jack-asses.
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Old 04-25-2006, 11:21 AM   #21 (permalink)
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Um, okay. That totally doesn't make sense to me at all. Are you saying private property /= private property just because it's not mine?

Anyway, I just looked in both the Florida State Statutes and the Florida Driver's Handbook, and both of them specifically say nothing about speed limits on private property, so I think you're wrong.

But then again it may be different from state to state. I looked the laws up in my state, yall should do it in yours. The laws are all online.

Last edited by Carno; 04-25-2006 at 11:25 AM..
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Old 04-25-2006, 11:29 AM   #22 (permalink)
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Sounds like this really is a grey area, in that different loose standards (yet to see any proof of really defined parking lot traffic laws) are defined on a state-by-state basis...

Supple and a few others have given some examples in drivers handbooks for certain states, others can't find any for their states.

I guess the main thing to remember is... 10 points for old ladies and people in wheelchairs!!
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Old 04-25-2006, 11:38 AM   #23 (permalink)
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When I'm driving in parking lots, pedestrians better stand the fuck by. I treat that shit just like Death Race 2000.
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Old 04-25-2006, 11:45 AM   #24 (permalink)
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Oregon driving law specifically states that if you commit a serious traffic offense, it doesn't matter if you're on public or private property--you will be ticketed. This applies to DUIIs, reckless driving, etc. So even parking lots, despite being private property, are not beyond the reach of the law.
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Old 04-25-2006, 12:14 PM   #25 (permalink)
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Quote:
Originally Posted by xepherys
Also, in the first case, you were likely in the wrong (from the sound of it). It's generally considered correct to yield the right of way to a person backing out of a spot, regardless of how full the lot it, because it is MUCH easier for someone in the mainway to see someone backing out than the other way around. Always yield right of way to the person with the most (potnetially) obstructed view.
And see, it is specifically the other way around in California, where the person backing out has to yield to the people who are already out in the aisle.
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Old 04-25-2006, 01:09 PM   #26 (permalink)
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In fact isn't it usually the case that in an accident of that nature, the person backing up is held at fault by insurance companies/police?
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Old 04-25-2006, 01:21 PM   #27 (permalink)
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Ya, what some people above said. There are general rules that apply everywhere that cops can get you for, regardless if it's private property (so long as they have resonable cause to be there, or can see it from outside of the private property line). Here you can also be ticketed for driving through a parking lot to get by red lights.

Also, private property is really not so much your property (as in you will always own it no matter what), the government can make up reasons to take it away if they want, so of course the law would still apply. Private property does not equal your own country.
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Old 04-25-2006, 01:36 PM   #28 (permalink)
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Quote:
Originally Posted by xepherys
Also, in the first case, you were likely in the wrong (from the sound of it). It's generally considered correct to yield the right of way to a person backing out of a spot, regardless of how full the lot it, because it is MUCH easier for someone in the mainway to see someone backing out than the other way around. Always yield right of way to the person with the most (potnetially) obstructed view.
She had pulled out, gunned it, and nearly t-boned us. We weren't behind her or ahead of her. I always stop when I see a car pulling out...I hate when people don't stop for me and it certainly can be a pain in the ass pulling my Honda out when I'm parked next to an Excursion or something.

Thanks for the replies...never considered it was private property and it seems to be a big grey area!
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Old 04-25-2006, 02:02 PM   #29 (permalink)
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Topper
In fact isn't it usually the case that in an accident of that nature, the person backing up is held at fault by insurance companies/police?
As the self-designated insurance expert (seriously, this is one of the things I do all day), I can tell you that what you said is NOT necessarily the case. Just because you are in reverse, you do not necessarily relenquish the right-of-way. Also, insurance companies and police are mutually exclusive and quite often come to different conclusions as to who was to blame and who is more liable in an accident. For example, it's quite common for a trucker's insurance to pay in a fatal accident even if he was stopped at a light in broad daylight on a dry day. The police might say that the person who rearended the truck was 100% at fault, but the insurance company may just pay because they don't want the case to go to court for a variety of reasons. I have a great example on my desk right now with that exact scenario for ready-mix concrete supplier that I'm trying to attack for my client. The guy who hit the truck survived, but he's never going to eat on his own again. He was a very popular preacher in a small town with 2 small kids. The insurance company wrote a $1,000,000 check 60 days after the accident to just make it go away. They figured that a jury would find them liable for at least that much and this way they could save themselves the attorney fees.

If you hit someone on private property, the insurance companies are going to fight over it, and the police won't get involved unless you call them. That's not a very bad idea, especially if you think that someone could conceivably think you're at fault.
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Old 04-25-2006, 02:09 PM   #30 (permalink)
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Originally Posted by CaliLivChick
And see, it is specifically the other way around in California, where the person backing out has to yield to the people who are already out in the aisle.
That's insane! If I park my Eclipse and 2 giant F-350s park on either side of me, I'm backing out blindly. I can't yield to people I cannot see. I back out slowly, granted, but still...
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Old 04-25-2006, 02:50 PM   #31 (permalink)
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That's insane! If I park my Eclipse and 2 giant F-350s park on either side of me, I'm backing out blindly. I can't yield to people I cannot see. I back out slowly, granted, but still...
But that's why you back out slowly. The people in the throughway can be jerks and just honk at you so you know to stop (that's actually the kind of thing the horn is really for... you know, safety instead of road rage) or stop themselves and let you continue to back out. Besides, if they are looking for a spot, it behooves them to stop and wait for you to leave.
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Old 04-25-2006, 02:52 PM   #32 (permalink)
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Topper
In fact isn't it usually the case that in an accident of that nature, the person backing up is held at fault by insurance companies/police?

Thats the way it was when I got hit. I was in the 2nd or 3rd space and the guy that hit me literally had his tires screeching as he came around the corner but since i was the one pulling out the cop wrote it up as my fault.
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Old 04-27-2006, 04:22 AM   #33 (permalink)
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I reckon

a) one should drive at walking speed, except during morning rush hour
(city car parks are different anyways I reckon, to suburban ones)

b) just because you're in a car park doesn't mean you can leave your lane

c) let people out/in of the parking spot, if it appears that no other gap in traffic
is available. (and if the driver looks competent, for example their head
is higher than their steering wheel).

d) cars that slow down on the corners, in a multi-storey carpark are likely to
take 3-10 forward/reverse movements to park. Go around them
or find an alternate route.

Never use a supermarket car park in the period between school close and business hour close. If you do, you will be amazed at the chaos, the forwarding and reversing, and the general gridlock. During these times - park on the opposite side of the road and save fifteen minutes of frustration by walking a few extra metres.
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Old 04-27-2006, 05:38 AM   #34 (permalink)
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Originally Posted by Topper
Are there laws/rules? Where are they posted? I just looked over washington state's drivers handbook and it says nothing about how to drive in a parking lot. I have always thought parking lots were kind of grey areas, as they have no posted speed limits, no enforcement of traffic flow, etc. Seems like you will only run into trouble if you actually hit something.
The standard speed limit in any surface parking area (not a parking structure) is 10mph. There's really nothing in the Washington driver's handbook covering that? If not...there should. I'm sure it was in the Pennsylvania manual, back in the 70's. Maybe they're trying to go off of "common knowledge", but judging from some of these posts...maybe not so much.

Also...the car in the thoroughfare has the right of way...period. Ex-cop talking here. It doesn't matter how many tanks are blocking your view, you are still responsible for insuring that the way is clear before backing/pulling into the traffic ways. No excuses...it is your responsibility...period. If I only had a dollar for every fender bender that I had to respond to, because a driver thought that he/she had the right of way because "traffic always stops to let me out". Well...yeah...usually because the other driver wants the space that you're in.

99.999% of all parking lot accidents are caused by a lack of either common sense...or common courtesy. Nothing more difficult than that.
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Old 04-27-2006, 01:43 PM   #35 (permalink)
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People are very stupid. And if you live in south florida, then that rule applies even more. People get behind the wheel and think wow I can drive however I want. i don't have insurance anyway. If I hit somebody oh well I can just run. They are going to deport me anyway. I hate south Florida. Anyway I hear you about the driving and yes Parking lots have rules but most are considered private property and common sense should prevail, but as we know common sense is not very common.
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Old 04-30-2006, 06:19 PM   #36 (permalink)
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I have worked as a valet at two of the major malls here in my city and from experience I can say that no driving law is enforced (speed limits, stop signs, whatever). However if there is an accident whoever it was that breaking more laws (or posted laws) will be blamed for the accident. A person, if he/she is driving through the main throughfare more than likely wont be blamed for the accident. Parking lots are private property so cops can't really do much and if the parking lot has security they really can't give you a ticket (in most cases) unless they've got a boot, but that's a completely different story.
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Old 05-01-2006, 05:54 PM   #37 (permalink)
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Ha ha. It's bad where I'm from too. People zig-zag through parking lots without looking at all. My dad owns a very successful automotive repair shop and he calls parking lots "Bip Zones" because of the massive amount of vehicles he repairs due to parking lots. I'm pretty sure if you're driving through the parking lot down the signaled path and some idiot hits you that is zig-zagging through, the cop that responds isn't gonna have mercy just because there's no official law of it. A parking lot may not be officially mentioned in the DMV manuals but that doesn't mean you can go Mad Max in a parking lot and not face the consequences.
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Old 05-01-2006, 07:14 PM   #38 (permalink)
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Im thinking back a long time to my one parking lot accident but if I recall correctly the cops can assign fault for an accident in their report for insurance purposes etc. but they can't ticket anyone because it is private property. Of course that may vary by state and or locality.
on the right track.....they can issue certain tickets such as careless or reckless driving .....and sometimes malls and such have the state come and do something that makes the police able to write all tickets...

i forget what its called....but i was a security guard in college and they did that where i worked so the police could write tickets
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Old 05-01-2006, 10:54 PM   #39 (permalink)
Crazy
 
Quote:
Originally Posted by xepherys
First of all, it's difficult in MOST jursidiction to get a ticket in a parking lot, however, local laws can make it easier. Also, in the first case, you were likely in the wrong (from the sound of it). It's generally considered correct to yield the right of way to a person backing out of a spot, regardless of how full the lot it, because it is MUCH easier for someone in the mainway to see someone backing out than the other way around. Always yield right of way to the person with the most (potnetially) obstructed view.
It's been my convention to always back into parking spots, as was recommended by my driving school when I first got my license. Regardless of the situation it is always better to back in as opposed to back out cause you know where you're going when you back into a spot. Sometimes it can be impossible to see when backing out of a spot and anyone who hits someone else when doing this is totally at fault.

Of course, there are always exceptions to the rule. Some people don't like backing in because it takes more time and you don't want the jackass behind you to take the spot(they usually won't, except on Seinfeld). But I say that little extra time saves you a lot of potential hardship later.
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Old 05-02-2006, 10:36 AM   #40 (permalink)
Psycho
 
People can really be a crazy bunch. It's disturbing sometimes how bad people drive and/or how little attention they pay.
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