Parking lots can be chaotic. Not only do they all seem to be oriented a bit differently, but the lines, sizes of parking spots, and directional signs can be tricky to manage. Cars and pedestrians come from every direction, shopping carts are strewn about, and it’s hard to get a full view of your surroundings at all times.
Check out these “Parking Lot Safety Tips,” so you can learn how to navigate the mayhem of parking lots.
Tip #1: SLOW DOWN
This may seem like an obvious piece of advice, but it’s not uncommon for drivers to become impatient in parking lots and drive too fast when trying to find a space or exit the parking lane. The best thing you can do to manage numerous distractions, whether trying to find a spot, or trying to pull in and out safely, is to do everything slowly. Driving under ten miles per hour will ensure that you have adequate reaction time, in case other cars or people are suddenly in your path.
Tip #2: Backup Cautiously
Backing out of a parking spot is the most common way collisions occur in parking lots. To avoid hitting other cars, carts, or people, check your mirrors and blind spots. If you don’t see anything coming, or cannot see past another vehicle, inch your way backwards cautiously and slowly so that oncoming cars or pedestrians can see that you’re trying to back out. If you do not see anything as you edge out you can proceed, but if you become aware of another car or person, either make eye contact or confirm a gesture that signifies they will stop, so you can continue to back out.
Tip #3: Read the Lines
Pay attention to what direction the parking lines are pointing– if the angle is pointing away from you, then you are going the wrong way. Another indicator if you’re reading the lines properly, is if you can easily turn your car into the parking spot. If you have to make an elaborate, wide berth of a turn to get into the parking space, or you have to back up and re-orient to pull in, then there’s a good chance you came into the parking lane the wrong way.
Tip #4: Pick An Optimal Parking Spot (If Possible)
If you can, find a space that is either away from other cars, or is larger, so you can prevent other car doors from denting or scratching your car.
If there is an option to back into a parking spot when you first arrive at your destination, do so, because it will give you more visibility once you exit. However, if that is not available to you, follow the advice from Tip #2.
Tip #5: Refrain From Pulling Through
While it may be convenient to pull through one parking spot into another, to park your car front facing, this action unfortunately is one of the most common ways for cars to collide in parking lots. If you cannot see oncoming vehicles from another row, it’s best to stick with the spot in the lane you came down in the first place.
Tip #6: Follow the Signs
Just because you’re not on the open road does not mean you don’t have to follow signs in parking lots. For purposes of keeping yourself and others safe, follow the signs. Stop at the end of the aisle and look both directions before pulling out and turning down the next aisle. Come to a complete stop as you would at a stop sign. Remember, the vehicle in motion always has the right of way.
Tip #7: Lock Up & Hide Valuables
Once you are parked, make sure to hide your valuables from plain sight, and don’t forget to roll your windows all the way up, and lock your car doors. This can help reduce the opportunity and risk of a break-in.
If there is a collision – go through the collision procedure. If the other driver is not present or available, go to CSP to report for insurance purposes.
Every parking lot is different, and each time you park somewhere there are inevitably new challenges. However, if you practice our “7 Parking Lot Safety Tips” each time you arrive in a lot, you will greatly decrease your risk of collisions with cars or other people.