Avoiding Parking Lot Accidents 4

Part 4.



When you are walking in any parking plaza, look for any signs of movement in the car park. Before you step out into the parking lot, pause for a moment and check for signs that a car may be pulling out of a parking space.


Cars are so quiet nowadays, that you may not even hear the engine starting. Look and listen for…


A puff of exhaust.


Reverse lights coming on.


A car door being closed, which could signal that a driver has entered the car and will soon back out.


Movement in the driver’s seat. Examples: The driver

reaching for his seat belt, or turning around to back out of a spot.


A person jumping into their car.  It usually means they are in a hurry and most likely distracted.


Headlights turning on.


Don’t get distracted yourself. Stay alert at all times. Don’t make cell-phone calls, use an iPod or rummage through your purse or wallet to find your coupons. Be aware of what’s going on behind you by quickly checking over both shoulders from time to time as you walk through the lot.


Watch out for big vehicles. Parked SUVs and vans can block your view of cars backing out. As you pass by a big vehicle, pause a moment to check that a car isn’t coming.


Be extra cautious at night. It’s extremely difficult for drivers to see pedestrians at night, especially if you are wearing dark clothing. Assume that even though you can see the driver, the driver cannot see you, and steer clear.]]></


Avoiding Parking Lot Accidents 3

Part 3.


Use common sense in the car park.


Put on your seat belt BEFORE pulling out, not while driving. Drivers often think they are “safe” in parking lots, so they delay putting on seat belts. Or they leave it off so they can look around and crane their neck better.


That’s a mistake for two reasons. You could get into an accident with no seat belt on before you leave the parking lot. Plus, fumbling with a seat belt while you are driving makes it more likely that you will have an accident. Be vigilant at all times.


Also, complete any cell-phone calls, put on your sunglasses if you need them, adjust your CD player or radio,  and enter data into your navigation system BEFORE you pull out of your parking spot. I know we live in a multitasking world, but your only job behind the wheel should be to drive the car safely and responsible.  No call or song is worth a life, yours or anyone elses.


In a busy car park, do NOT trust your mirrors. Things can change in a split second.  Rearview mirrors do not provide a full picture of what’s happening behind your car.


Today’s high-tech backup sensors and rear-mounted cameras do not spot all obstacles, either. To back out of a parking spot safely, rotate your body to the right, looking over your shoulder so that you face backward, leaving your left hand on the wheel.


In fact, when deciding to park, not only take a place in a less busy area of the car park, look for two empty parking spaces, one behind the other, and pull through to the one in front so that you do not have to back up when it is time to pull out. Just make sure

nobody is pulling into the front spot from the other end.


Avoid danger zones where you will have obstructed vision, near lights, shopping trolley parks and next to big vans or SUVs if

you are in a smaller vehicle. You will have a hard time

seeing past these objects or vehicles when it is time to pull out.


Also, try to avoid the spots next to cart-collection areas —

the odds of dings and dents and distractions are greatest here.


Turn on your headlights, even in daylight. Headlights warn pedestrians and other drivers that your vehicle will soon pull out.


Don’t feel hurried by other drivers. Hurrying leads to accidents. The driver eager to have your space can wait a few more seconds as you take the time to pull out carefully.


Again, look around on all sides for other cars and pedestrians.  If they are too close up your tail, signal with your hand for them to push back.]]></


Avoiding Parking Lot Accidents 2

Part 2

Drivers  Beware


Park away from the busy areas. Most drivers crowd into the spaces closest to store entrances, leaving other sections of parking lots virtually empty.


Parking can be really tight, leading to damage just from opening the door, damage to your car, or theirs.  And let’s face it, it is pretty tough to see around two huge SUVs, or hard to back up when there is a very long car behind you.


Your vehicle is much less likely to be knicked or dinged, and you will have better visibility all around if you take a spot in a little-used section.


Parking away from other vehicles is particularly important in post office, convenience store and dry cleaner parking lots. Vehicle turnover is very rapid in these lots, with people in a hurrry, and all that extra activity increases the odds of an accident.


Always concentrate on your driving, not on your list of chores, and look where you are going. Distracted driving is responsible for many parking lot accidents. In looking for an open spot in the next row, we lose focus.


Or someone is walking by, and in an effort to avoid them, we might hit a car or shopping trolley.


Any momentary distraction is all it takes for someone to step or pull in front of us in a crowded parking lot. If your car is moving forward, your eyes must be looking forward, not from side to side.

Again, parking in the least crowded area of the car park will help. If you don’t have a choice, park further away from the stores, and use your peripheral vision to locate open parking spaces.


Beware of rain or cold weather.  Completely clear fogged or snow-covered windows and windshields are  a hazard.  There is a tendency to rush out of parking lots, but driving with partially blocked windows and/or windshields greatly increases the odds of having a crash.


Always carry water with you in the car in the winter, keep your windscreen wash well full, and make sure you put a little drop of antifreeze in it in the winter. Even spray up from the road can be blinding, especially in sunlight. Keep that windscreen clear at all times.


Avoiding Parking Lot Accidents 1

Did you know that 20% of all car accidents happen in parking lots?


According to the Independent Insurance Agents and Brokers Association, one out of every five auto accidents occurs in a parking lot.


And that total does not even include all the small nicks, dents, scratches and dings that usually go unreported.


Parking lot crashes often occur at low speeds, but they still can lead to expensive repairs, and higher insurance premiums, not to mention hassle.


Even worse, sometimes drivers and pedestrians can be injured in the car park if they are not vigilant