The Dos and Don’ts of Dodging Parking Lot Collisions

Posted by Safeco April 23, 2015

Go Slow, Be Alert While Parking

Back Out of a Parking Space Slowly

We all have our pet peeves when navigating through a parking lot or parking garage. The driver who throws it in reverse and backs out without looking. Or the pedestrian who charges out of the store, also not looking.

No matter what your parking lot pet peeve happens to be, these dos and don’ts will help you avoid a collision or other catastrophe, all while keeping your cool:

Don’t Speed or Fight Over a Spot
So you’re in a hurry and you want that primo spot close to the store. Guess what? So does everyone else. By slowing down and removing yourself from the fray, you do yourself a multitude of favors. First, when you reduce your speed, you give yourself more time to react to dangerous situations, such as a child darting out from between parked cars. Second, by parking farther away from the store, you may minimize your exposure to dings and scratches from other vehicles. Just don’t park in an area that feels unsafe.

Do Stay Alert
Distractions are always a danger when you’re behind the wheel, even when you’re slowly making your way around a parking lot or through a parking garage. So, stay off your phone and stay alert. Look for other drivers and pedestrians who aren’t paying attention so you can avoid collisions and injuries. In a parking garage, be careful going around corners and of people stepping out of the elevators. In a busy lot, watch for cars backing out unexpectedly and people walking where they shouldn’t.

Do Be Kind
If we all cut each other a little slack, we’ll all be safer and happier while running our many errands. So stop to let pedestrians cross in front of you in the parking lot. Don’t be so hard on the person who’s boxed in by large vehicles and has to back out blindly in the parking garage. And give parents who are loading groceries while wrangling kids a little extra space.

Don’t Forget to Look
Use your eyes, your mirrors and, if you have one, your rear-view camera when backing out of a space. You’re sure to miss something if you rely on just a single source of vision. When pulling into a spot, look for car doors being opened, people pulling through the space and carts left in the wrong spot. Look to see whether you can really fit in the spot, leaving room on both sides for your car doors and the ones next to you to open freely.

Do Stay Calm If You Get Into a Parking Lot Accident
Despite your best efforts, you may still get into a parking lot accident. If so, call law enforcement, if needed. Also take pictures, exchange insurance information with the other driver, write down how it happened and collect contact information from witnesses.

Remember, being in a hurry and being distracted are some of the worst things you can do in a parking lot. Assume there will be dangers so you can watch for them and avoid them.

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