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Driving Safely in a Parking Lot

Many drivers are quite careful with their vehicles on the road, but then let their guard down when they’re parking in or driving through parking lots. According to the National Safety Council, tens of thousands of crashes occur in parking lots and garages every year, injuring and killing hundreds of people.

If you have a parking lot, you don’t have a great degree of control over how people drive in it. However, you can issue frequent reminders about how to stay safe while in a parking lot—both from crashes and from thieves and burglars. Here are some tips to share with your people:

  1. Pull through a parking space when possible. In parking lots that have perpendicular parking, it is always best to pull through so that when you are leaving, you do not have to back out. Backing out of a parking space leaves you with blind spots that make it difficult to see other cars and pedestrians.
  2. Put technology away. Just like when you’re on the road, you should not be texting or looking at GPS while you’re driving in a parking lot. If you need to manage something on your phone or get your music playing, do so before putting your car into gear. And, if something comes up while you’re still in the parking lot, pull over into a space and take care of it before going back out into traffic.
  3. Park in a well-lit spot. Lights can deter criminals from trying to break into your car when you are away and keep you safer when you return to your car in the dark. Lights also make it easier to see potential hazards around your car, which can in turn help you avoid running over something with your vehicle, such as an item that fell off someone else’s car.
  4. Stay alert the entire time you are in the parking lot. From a young age, we teach our children to look left, right, then left again before crossing a street. Those same rules apply in a parking lot—perhaps even more so because there are lots of vehicles and pedestrians making unpredictable movements.
  5. Walk around your car before you leave. This allows you to note any dents or scratches, so you are more likely to notice if there are new dents when you come back. Also, check for debris or other items near your tires that could make it difficult to leave the parking lot.
  6. Slow down. It’s a good idea to always keep your foot on the brake in a parking lot because you never know when a pedestrian or other vehicle is going to come around the corner.

For more transportation safety resources, visit Church Mutual’s website.