This time of year, most people are spending a lot of time driving around in parking lots. Whether you’re at the local shopping center, a neighborhood grocery store, your children’s school or your office building, it’s essential not to let your guard down just because you’re not on the road.
About a fifth of all crashes happen in parking lots. In many cases, they occur because a driver is distracted or just not sufficiently looking around to see who’s behind or to the side of them.
Drivers with newer cars that have collision avoidance technology that alerts them with beeps and/or blinking lights when a person or vehicle is nearby often forget that not everyone has that. It’s safer to assume that other drivers can’t see you.
Most cars now have rear-view cameras. However, they don’t catch everything. Drivers should never rely solely on their camera when they’re backing up. Always check your side mirrors, and look over your shoulder. In rainy or snowy weather, the view can become obstructed if you don’t wipe off the lens.
In addition to using a combination of technology and looking in all directions, there are a few things you can do to avoid a parking lot crash.
- When searching for a parking place, try to find one where you can pull through and face outward. This way, you avoid having to back out.
- Look for a spot farther away from the building where there are fewer vehicles. However, be careful as you’re walking through the lot so that you don’t become a pedestrian victim.
- Turn your headlights on as soon as you start moving and keep them on until you’re parked. They’re as important in parking lots as they are on the road.
- Turn your phone off, find your radio station and set your GPS before you pull out of your spot. Don’t try to do that on your way out of the parking lot. You need to have your attention on your driving.
If you’re injured in a crash caused by a driver who’s not taking these precautions, make sure you get their information. Don’t underestimate how serious injuries caused in a parking lot crash can be.