Driving in parking lots: Right angles or straight across the middle?

I tend to treat all the lines and islands in parking lots like separate streets and thus even in a near-empty lot I will drive along the edge of the lot until I get to the lane containing my destination then signal and turn down that lane before parking outside of my stop.

Meanwhile, 5 cars just sped diagonally across all of those white lines, swerved around the few parked cars in the lot, and double parked in the handicapped spaces because hey, there’s obviously no one using them and we’ll only be here for a minute.

How do you do it?

I usually treat them like little streets - especially since there are often those little curb-like things between the rows. You only need to hit one of those on accident once to learn your lesson.

Now that you mention it, I think the single largest factor in my behavior is the quality of the store. If I’m at WalMart, I almost always will cut through the spaces. If I’m at the fancy outdoor mall near work, I treat it like little streets.

I always hope that the people that cut through parking lots the wrong way will get t-boned by a wind-swept shopping cart. They annoy the piss out of me.

My concern with parking lots is safety since parking lots are a lot more dangerous than they look because of all the angles other cars can come from. So unless the parking lot is 90% empty I use the designated lanes and so forth.

I’ll do it, but I’ll do is slowly, and scan all the angles, being very careful. If there are any other cars moving near me, I’ll stop.

Parking lots scare me because something about them turns people into retards, whether they’re on foot or in a car. I drive slowly and in the lanes unless the lot is empty.

It’s illegal to cut across or do thru-parking. I hope everyone who does it gets a ticket. You deserve it.

It seems around these parts, cutting across the parking spots is a ticketable offense.

Six or seven years ago, I was at a mall here, and a lady in a SUV was in the parking “street” next to the one I was in. She decided she need to go 90 degrees perpendicular to her current direction post haste. She cut through two parked cars and across right in front my truck. I T-boned her right in the driver’s side doors at about 15-20mph. She was pissed that she was trying to make a quick run to the mall for her hubby’s birthday gift, and I had the nerve to be right there and ruin it for her.

Mall security came up, asked what happened, and informed the lady what she did was a no-no, and they called the cops to report the accident. Cops found her at fault and gave her a ticket, which really pissed her off. It surprised the hell out of me, because I always thought cops didn’t want to get involved when it was private property like a mall.

They can also arrest you for doing drugs…even in your own home!

Ditto for me. If there’s no one around and no cars parked in the spaces, I’ll cut across. Otherwise I’m a good boy.

If the lot is like 40% full, clustered up toward the doors, I’ll often cut through the spaces about halfway between the cars and the edge of the lot. I keep a close eye out on all angles and I get back into the lanes when I’m near the destination.

Cutting through a single gap with cars on each side is just stupid.

I swerve through parking lots like Victor Kruger, laughing my head off.

Do you remember what the ticket was for? I know this varies from state to state, but my understanding is that typically only a small subset of the laws governing driving will apply on private property. I know in my state you can get ticketed for operating a motor vehicle without proper registration on private property, but not for doing so without a drivers license. It’s sort of a goofy edge case and typically the police don’t want to get involved in the private property stuff. Heck, I think around here if you call in a car accident on a public road the police won’t come unless you report injured people or damage in excess of $2500.

You people are so weird. Nobody here obeys the lanes in a parking lot if there’s any room to cut across. Obviously you have to be careful, though…

Does Hallmark make a card for “Happy Birthday Honey. Sorry this card is all you’re getting. After crushing the left side of your new SUV, getting an expensive ticket and raising our insurance rates, I was a little tapped out.”?

Well, uh… lessee here… how do I put this?

You know that tremendously unfunny (even by my standards) newspaper comic strip, “The Family Circus?”

Wow, I see people cut through empty parking lots with such regularity that it’s surprising anyone would give a crap. People seem to recognize that it’s not cool to do it when cars or pedestrians about. The woman in CounterMeasure’s story certainly deserved a ticket, though.

The key is to break the law with courtesy and discretion.

It’s illegal to cut across or do thru-parking. I hope everyone who does it gets a ticket. You deserve it.

Your hopes are in vain! I do it all the time, with nary a ticket! In your face!

Oh really? What law is it that makes it illegal?

I mostly follow the rules and act like there are cars everywhere even if it is empty. I will occassionally pull forward into the spot in front of me so I’m parked front-out without having to back in if the lot is particularly empty and I can easily see that nobody will approach to take that spot while I’m pulling forward, but that’s about as much as I’ll bend the rules of the parking lot.