Q. We’ve had a rash of parking lot collisions. What are some practical tips I can give my drivers to minimize this problem?
A. First, you’re not alone. The Insurance Institute for Highway Safety estimates that about 14% of all vehicle collisions take place in parking lots — so emphasizing the potential for collisions to your drivers is a good step.
Here are four practical tips you can give your drivers to help them minimize their risk for a parking lot collision:
1. Use your turn signals. Particularly in a one-way lot or parking structure, using your turn signals may seem unnecessary or redundant, but turn signals are crucial for communicating with other drivers and pedestrians, as well as avoiding rear-end collisions or triggering aggressive behavior.
2. Park correctly. Center your vehicle, so you have plenty of room on either side. This will avoid dings or scrapes. It’s particularly crucial to park in the appropriately sized spot. If you’re driving a large pickup, don’t park in a compact spot — this will make your vehicle a hazard, and could increase the likelihood of it being damaged.
3. Follow traffic laws, including signs. While it’s unlikely that you’ll be pulled over for breaking the speed limit or rolling through a stop sign in a parking lot (and legally, you may), these traffic controls have been put in place to protect other drivers, pedestrians, and you. Following traffic laws — obeying speed limits and signs — will keep you and others safe.
4. Watch out for pedestrians. Perhaps the most unpredictable variable you’ll face while parking are pedestrians. Children, distracted walkers, and pedestrians darting through a parking lot all add to the risks of parking. This goes double when backing out of a spot — about 25% of all parking lot accidents are caused when vehicles are backing out. Use your back up camera and your eyes to check for pedestrians, and be aware of activity near your vehicle when you’re getting in. If possible, pull through a spot and park nose out to avoid backing out.