What Is The Speed Limit In A Parking Lot?

Parking Lot Speed Limit - Speed Limit In A Parking Lot - Speed Limit In Parking Lots - What Is The Speed Limit In Parking Lots

What is the speed limit in a parking lot?

In this article, you’ll learn about: 

  • speed limits in a parking lot
  • the most common speed limits for a parking lot
  • parking lot speed limits in the states that have them
  • what to do if there’s not a speed limit posted
  • why parking lots have speed limits
  • basic speed law for parking lots

Let’s dig in. 

Table of Contents

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What Is The Speed Limit In A Parking Lot?

The speed limit in a parking lot typically ranges from 5 to 15 miles per hour. 

This parking lot speed limit helps ensure the safety of pedestrians and drivers. 

Different areas may have specific regulations, so it’s important to check local laws. 

Property owners can also set their own speed limits for parking lots within legal bounds. 

Clear signage in the parking lot usually indicates the set speed limit. 

Staying within this posted speed limit reduces the risk of accidents and legal consequences.

Read More: Can You Get Arrested For Speeding

What Is The Most Common Speed Limit In A Parking Lot?

In most parking lots, the typical speed limit ranges from 5 to 15 miles per hour. 

This range is generally considered safe for the confined spaces and the presence of pedestrians that are common in parking lots. 

Here’s a breakdown of the common speed limits in a parking lot:

  • 5-10 MPH: This is common in smaller parking lots or those with high pedestrian traffic, such as near stores, schools, or medical facilities.
  • 10-15 MPH: Larger parking lots or those with less pedestrian traffic may have slightly higher speed limits.

It’s important to note that parking lot speed limits can be set by:

  • property owners
  • local ordinances
  • state laws
  • may be posted via signage

Even if no specific speed limit is posted, drivers are expected to exercise caution and drive at a safe speed, considering the conditions in the parking lot.

Read More: Is Speeding A Crime

Parking Lot Speed Limit By State

Most states in the U.S. do not have specific state-level laws regarding speed limits in parking lots. 

In most states, speed limits in parking lots are usually:

  • governed by local ordinances 
  • are set by the property owners 

Parking lot speed limits set at the state level are not common. 

The following states have defined speed limits for parking lots:

  • California: State law sets a general speed limit of 15 miles per hour in parking lots.
  • New York: State law sets a general speed limit of 5 miles per hour in parking lots.
  • Texas: State law sets a speed limit of 15 miles per hour in parking lots.

It is important to note that even within these states, local ordinances can set different limits.

And property owners may have the authority to establish their own speed limits.

Read More: A Traffic Ticket For Speeding In A Work Zone

Parking Lot Speed Limits Based On Local Ordinances

Parking lot speed limits based on local ordinances can vary significantly from one location to another. 

Local ordinances parking lot speed limits tend to fall within the range of 5 to 15 miles per hour.

But the specific speed limit of the parking lot can depend on various factors such as:

  • the type of area (e.g., residential, commercial)
  • the amount of pedestrian traffic
  • other local considerations

Below are some examples to illustrate the variations in parking lot speed limits.

But keep in mind that local ordinances can change, so it’s important to check for the most current information:

  • Phoenix, Arizona: In Phoenix, the speed limit in parking lots is generally set at 15 miles per hour unless otherwise posted.
  • Columbus, Ohio: Some areas in Columbus have parking lot speed limits set at 10 miles per hour.
  • Houston, Texas: There is no city-wide ordinance for parking lots, but private property owners often set limits ranging from 5 to 10 miles per hour.
  • Denver, Colorado: There is no specific city ordinance for parking lot speed limits, and it is often left to the discretion of the property owner.
  • Sacramento, California: California leaves it up to local jurisdictions, and in Sacramento, some parking lots have speed limits of 10 miles per hour.
  • Chicago, Illinois: In some areas of Chicago, parking lot speed limits are set at 5 miles per hour to ensure pedestrian safety.

It’s important to always look for speed limit signs when entering a parking lot.

These will indicate the specific parking lot speed limit set by local ordinance or the property owner. 

If you’re unsure and cannot find posted signs, it’s best to err on the side of caution.

Keep your speed low, generally below 10 miles per hour in a parking lot, to ensure safety.

Read More: Why Do Cops Touch The Back Of Your Car?

Parking Lot Rules And Regulations

Parking lot rules and regulations aim to keep order and ensure safety. 

Common parking lot rules include:

  • Obey Speed Limits: Most parking lots have speed limits, typically around 5 to 15 miles per hour, to ensure pedestrian safety.
  • Park Within Lines: Always park your car within the lines of a parking space. This prevents blocking other cars and ensures there is enough space for everyone.
  • Use Indicators: When turning into a parking space, use your indicators. This signals your intentions to other drivers and pedestrians.
  • Yield to Pedestrians: Give way to pedestrians walking in the parking lot. They have the right of way.
  • Don’t Park in No-Parking Zones: No-parking zones, often marked with yellow or red lines, are off-limits. Don’t park in these areas.
  • Observe Handicapped Spaces: Only park in handicapped spaces if you have a permit. These spaces are reserved for individuals with disabilities.
  • Avoid Blocking Traffic: Don’t stop in a way that blocks traffic. If waiting for a space to open, pull to the side so others can pass.
  • Follow One-Way Arrows: Some parking lots have one-way lanes marked with arrows. Always drive in the direction indicated.
  • Use Headlights in Dark Areas: If the parking lot is dimly lit, turn on your headlights to increase visibility.
  • Lock Your Car: Always lock your car when leaving it in a parking lot to protect against theft.

Following these rules helps maintain a safe and efficient environment for everyone using the parking lot.

Why Do Parking Lots Have Speed Limits?

Parking lots have speed limits to ensure safety and order. 

Here are the main reasons that parking lots have speed limits:

  • Pedestrian Safety: Parking lots often have high pedestrian traffic, including children and the elderly. A lower speed limit reduces the risk of accidents involving pedestrians.
  • Limited Space: Parking lots are typically more confined than open roads. Lower speed limits help drivers navigate the tight spaces and turns without losing control.
  • Visibility Issues: Cars and other obstacles can obstruct a driver’s view in parking lots. Driving slowly helps drivers react in time if someone or something unexpectedly comes into view.
  • Avoiding Collisions: Cars in parking lots are often moving in different directions and backing in or out of spaces. Lower speed limits help prevent collisions between vehicles.
  • Property Damage Reduction: Lower speeds reduce the severity of any collisions that do occur, minimizing damage to vehicles and property.
  • Noise Reduction: Driving at lower speeds generates less noise, which is beneficial in maintaining a peaceful environment, especially in residential or crowded areas.

What Can Cops Charge You With If There’s Not A Parking Lot Speed Limit?

Let’s say a police officer determines that you are driving too fast in a parking lot where there is no posted speed limit.

You may be charged with one or more of the following, depending on the circumstances and local laws:

  • Reckless Driving: If your speed is deemed to be excessively high and poses a risk to others, you might be charged with reckless driving.
  • Careless Driving: This is similar to reckless driving but may be used when the behavior is considered less dangerous. It implies a lack of due care but not necessarily an intent to drive dangerously.
  • Endangerment: If your driving could potentially cause harm to others, some jurisdictions might charge you with endangerment.
  • Failure to Exercise Due Care: Some places have laws requiring drivers to exercise due care to avoid collisions or endangering others. Driving too fast in a parking lot might be considered a violation of this.
  • Violation of Basic Speed Law: Many states have a basic speed law, which requires drivers to drive at a speed that is reasonable and prudent under the conditions. Even in the absence of a specific speed limit, driving too fast for conditions (such as in a crowded parking lot) could be considered a violation of the basic speed law.

The specific charge and the consequences of driving too fast in a parking lot can vary depending on:

  • local laws and ordinances
  • the discretion of the law enforcement officer

Basic Speed Law For Parking Lots

The Basic Speed Law requires drivers in parking lots to go at a safe speed. 

Parking lots are often small and crowded. 

Many pedestrians and parked cars are usually around. 

This law tells drivers to be careful and use good judgment. 

It doesn’t set a fixed speed limit for a parking lot. 

Instead, it asks drivers to adjust their speed based on what’s happening around them.

Here’s how the Basic Speed Law would typically apply in parking lots:

  • Pedestrian Safety: Drivers should reduce speed when pedestrians are present to minimize the risk of accidents.
  • Weather Conditions: In inclement weather, drivers should slow down to maintain control of the vehicle on potentially slippery surfaces.
  • Visibility: Reduced visibility, whether due to night-time or obstructions, calls for lower speeds.
  • Traffic Density: When there are many vehicles moving around in the parking lot, drivers should keep their speed low to allow for safe maneuvering.
  • Narrow Lanes and Tight Spaces: The layout of some parking lots may require slower speeds to navigate safely.

The Basic Speed Law applies generally to all roads and areas where vehicles are operated.

But, in parking lots, it emphasizes the need for extra caution due to the close proximity of:

  • pedestrians
  • parked cars
  • other moving vehicles

FAQs About The Speed Limit In Parking Lots

Here are other questions we get asked related to the speed limits in parking lots. 

Who Has The Right Of Way In A Parking Lot?

In a parking lot, different rules apply to who has the right of way:

  • Pedestrians First: Pedestrians always have the right of way. Drivers must yield to people walking.
  • Main Aisles Over Feeder Lanes: Cars in main aisles usually have the right of way. Cars in feeder lanes or parking spaces must wait.
  • Stop Signs and Markings: If there are stop signs or markings, they dictate the right of way. Follow them like you would on a regular road.
  • Right Over Left: When two cars reach an unmarked intersection at the same time, the car on the right has the right of way.
  • Exiting a Space: When backing out of a parking space, drivers must yield to cars already moving in the aisle.
  • No Rushing: If someone is waiting for a parking space, you shouldn’t rush in to take it. The first to wait gets the space.

What Is The Top Speed In A Parking Lot?

The top speed in a parking lot typically ranges from 5 to 15 miles per hour. 

Local ordinances or property owners may set specific limits. 

Signs in the parking lot usually display the speed limit. 

If there’s no posted speed limit, your top speed in a parking lot should be 10 miles per hour. 

This is to ensure safety due to the close proximity of pedestrians and parked cars. 

It’s always important to drive cautiously in parking lots.

Who Has The Right Of Way When Pulling Out Of A Parking Spot?

When pulling out of a parking spot, the driver already on the driving lane has the right of way. 

The driver pulling out should yield to the oncoming traffic. 

It’s important to:

  1. proceed with caution
  2. look for any approaching vehicles
  3. wait for a safe gap to merge into the traffic flow 

Yielding to other vehicles helps prevent accidents and ensures a smoother flow of traffic.

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