The fall season, with the return of the school year and football games, is the perfect time to think about parking lot
safety and etiquette (or what we like to call a guide on how to avoid becoming a statistic by causing a parking lot accident). You can’t ever be too safe or too polite, especially in an area you might not be familiar with, so
follow these 7 tips to make the best of the season.
- Avoid distractions. It’s easy to get distracted by technology, especially in your car. With our phones, GPS, and
infotainment, it’s easy to zone out when you’re in a parking lot. Preset your technology devices up so that your
favorite songs are playing, and your GPS route is confirmed so that you can keep your focus on the area around
you. Click here to learn more about distracted driving.
- Choose wisely. When parking at night, look for a parking space that is well lit. Light helps deter criminals from breaking into your car, or hiding near it while you’re away. Light also helps you avoid objects or hazards around your car since you’re more likely to notice. Avoid parking between tall trucks, vans, or SUVs where it may be harder to back out safely and where muggers might be likely to hide.
- Secure your vehicle. Although this might seem obvious, nearly 50% of vehicle thefts happen because the doors are unlocked, or the keys are left inside the vehicle. Make sure all windows are rolled up completely and all doors are locked before leaving your vehicle. Place valuables such as electronics, packages or gifts out of sight or in the trunk. Hide anything that displays your personal information, including work or school items and unopened mail. Always take your key with you, and never leave the area while your vehicle is running. When you return to the vehicle and get inside, lock the doors before setting up your technology devices.
- Be aware and beware. Keep an eye out when walking to and from your parked vehicle and have your keys in your hand when you return to the vehicle. Always use crosswalks and walkways to be in clear sight of other drivers. Also, it’s a good idea to walk around your car before getting in, to observe any debris you might not want to drive over, check for scratches or dings left by other parking lot users, and to insure your car is still locked and no one is inside. Use caution of anyone nearby looks suspicious, and once you’re in the car, lock your doors and drive away.
- Look both ways. When you’re a pedestrian, it is a hard, simple rule for safety but somehow it is a principle not always applied in a parking lot. Many parking lots have intersections without stop signs or crosswalks, meaning you need to be on high alert for other cars and pedestrians. Don’t cut across aisles or lanes, as this increases your risk of a parking lot auto accident. To avoid an accident, follow defensive driving tactics to help you stay alert, and look out for pedestrians that aren’t paying attention. Follow directional signs and slow down to achieve the utmost safety. These tips are particularly important at schools, given students are often not paying attention to their surroundings.
- Follow the dos… Do park straight in a spot, pull in and back out slowly. Do park as far from other cars as possible, and signal when you’re going to take a spot in a crowded parking lot. Do walk quickly when someone waves you by from their vehicle and do grab stray carts if you’re able. Do take your turn when waiting for a parking spot and do be considerate of other drivers.
- And the don’ts. Don’t park unevenly, straddle the line, take up two spaces or park so close someone can’t get in or out of their car. Don’t’ leave your shopping cart untethered and don’t block someone’s trunk or tailgate. Don’t pull in too far, or not far enough. Don’t pull across multiple spots or park in a spot that wasn’t meant for you i.e., designated spots for handicapped (and you aren’t) or spots for electric cars (which you don’t drive).
Just like other aspects of life, use caution and consideration when observing parking lot safety and etiquette, to
avoid becoming a statistic by causing a parking lot accident. Be kind and be careful. However, if you do find yourself involved in a parking lot accident, know that OKC Auto Works is there to help. (405) 634-8200.