Why is it unethical to stand in a parking slot to reserve it? - Editor Speaks

For those who drive to work on a daily basis, you know the struggles associated with making it to work on time.Most of us leave our homes extra early to beat the morning rush, make our way to our usual parking structures to fall in line, then we have to find a spot to park our vehicle for most of the day. If you’re lucky enough to have a reserved spot for you at the office with your name on it, then you are safe from the weekday morning free-for-all.

As with most driving situations, common sense and decent courtesy goes a long way, and these good manners don’t get thrown out the window just because you’re in a rush or you’re late for a meeting. Case in point, parking lot etiquette, and if you’ve seen the pictures and videos about confrontations with people that stand in slots to save them for a car, then you’ll understand why people get frustrated.


Let me start by saying that there isn’t a local law that makes standing in a parking slot to reserve it illegal and subject to fines or penalties. In other countries, such as the United States, some traffic codes impose fines on the reserving party, while most say that it’s all down to being a decent human being. The general consensus is that vehicle parking slots are for vehicles only, and a first-come-first-served practice is followed. That means that, in essence, reserving a slot cannot be done unless it was done through official channels, such as a private event that assigns designated slots. A handicapped or PWD slot is also an example of a reserved parking space, but this is assigned by the parking lot owner or structure. Every other open slot is fair game to be taken up by the vehicle that arrives first. Simple, right?

The act of standing in a spot to reserve it for someone else strips those looking for a slot a fair chance of parking their vehicle. Second, it creates an opportunity for an altercation, and when tempers flare, can lead to long term consequences. Lastly, it’s downright dangerous when a car decides to try and take the spot and hasn’t seen the person standing in it. Why has such a practice been widely documented these past few years? We believe that many people seem to find themselves entitled enough to take matters into their own hands and, like those who cut in line and don’t follow right of way rules, become selfish, self-centered road users. So what do you do if someone tries to prevent you from backing into the slot? Ask them politely to move and try not to escalate the situation. If they stand firm, move along and find another slot, then inform the management of the parking facility about the situation. Hopefully they can impose stricter parking guidelines in the future. Remember that it’s always best to be the better person and move on.

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