Most people feel relatively safe when they’re driving in a parking lot, structure or garage – certainly safer than when they’re on the road and especially on the freeway. However, it’s partly that feeling of safety that causes too many drivers to let down their guards once they pull in to a parking area or before they get back on the road.
A poll conducted by the National Safety Council (NSC) found that about two-thirds of drivers admitted to making phone calls while they were driving in a parking lot. Almost as many said they programmed their GPS. Over half confessed to texting or going on social media. That puts everyone in danger of a crash.
Not all parking lot accidents are fender-benders. Despite the relatively slow speeds of the involved drivers, these accidents can be very serious – particularly if pedestrians are involved. Those on foot can be just as guilty of distraction. Many walk through parking lots engaged in phone conversations, texting with friends or others or trying to wrangle their kids while juggling packages or groceries.
Don’t let your car’s technology do all the work
Pulling in and out of parking spaces can be particularly dangerous. Many people rely on their rear-view cameras and warning systems to tell them that someone or something is behind them.
Those systems don’t replace the need to look over your shoulder before you pull out. Further, many people assume that everyone has the same technology as they do, so they assume drivers are aware of their presence when they may not be.
Some basic safety tips for parking lot driving
Besides these precautions as well as not looking at or touching your phone or GPS until and unless you’re stopped with the car in park, following are some basic precautions that can protect you and others:
- Obey all stop, speed limit and directional signs.
- Use your turn signal whenever you make a turn.
- Don’t drive across lanes, even if they appear to be empty.
- Look for lights indicating that people are backing out as you drive down lanes.
Don’t assume that just because you were involved in a crash in a parking lot that you haven’t suffered serious injuries. It’s wise to see a doctor for a thorough evaluation before you settle with any insurance company or with an at-fault driver. Otherwise, you could be left paying for treatment for injuries that you didn’t realize were serious.