Every time you go to the store, there is one constant concern: how to protect your car in the parking lot. In terms of proximity threats, parking lots are like a warzone. There’s the shopping cart dings. There’s the careless driver scrapes. There’s the kids darting out from behind rows. Basically, a parking lot is a nightmare when you are trying to protect your car’s exterior. While you can fix a dent without having to bust out the paint, it’s still something you want to avoid, if you can.
And what’s more, according to the National Safety Council (NSC), tens of thousands of crashes happen in parking lots and garage structures every year. Help cut down on your odds of collecting a parking lot scar with these tips.
Skip the Distractions
Just because we know distracted driving is bad, doesn’t mean we always follow it. And, especially in parking lots, it’s important to be 100% focused. Put down the phone, skip the texting and stop fiddling with the GPS. A recent poll by the NSC showed that 66% of American drivers say they take phone calls in parking lots, with similar figures for texting, using social media, watching videos, etc. while driving in a parking lot.
A parking lot may be slower speeds but that doesn’t mean it’s any less dangerous. (And many people still fly through the rows.) A slower driving pace doesn’t always guarantee a safer time. Cars are moving in more directions and pedestrians are crossing all over. Following basic safety guidelines is crucial.
Be aware of– and obey– arrows, signs, and lines.
Keep an eye out for cars reversing in and out of parking spaces.
When reversing yourself, double check both ways, go slow and be prepared to brake suddenly.
Pay special attention to small children and people in wheelchairs who may not be as immediately visible
Go the Distance
While it might be tempting to cut down the walking time – resist the urge. Parking further away – and away from the hubs of activity – greatly reduces the risk of getting hit. The farther the spot, the emptier the lot, usually. And that means less objects and people posing a threat. Plus, you’ll get in a few more steps for your day, keeping you healthier to boot!
Windy, blustery days mean doors are more likely to fly open and shopping carts are more likely to roll away. And in the close quarters of parking lots, that means a higher chance of bumps, dents and dings. Be prepared by knowing the conditions, holding tight and looking out for wind born obstacles.
Keep Your Car in Check
Be aware. Be very aware. Staying hyper vigilant and aware of your surroundings in a parking lot is the best defense you can have. Scan your surroundings intensely. And, if your car has the technology, make use of it. Things like backup cameras and blind spot detectors come in handy when you need to see in all directions.
When it comes to that technology, though, you need to make sure it is well maintained and accurate. Things like hitting a pothole could throw cameras out of alignment. If there is a lot of salt on the road due to inclement weather, that can create a film of salt over camera lenses. Part of keeping aware means making sure your bells and whistles are in perfect working order. Keep cameras clean and make sure your computer is working right.