Many drivers don’t give a second thought to parking, but it is an important part of being responsible.
While most people don’t consider it dangerous to park, there are risks to not parking correctly. The National Safety Council shows that more than 50,000 crashes happen every year in parking lots and garages. This adds up to more than 60,000 injuries. So, what are the dangers involved in parking and what can you do to avoid them?
Common Parking Dangers
Parking lots and garages are areas where people drive slower. There are a lot of pedestrians, people pulling their vehicles out, and limited visibility. Unfortunately, it is also the time that people let their guard down because of the slower speeds.
Some of the most common dangers include:
- not looking for approaching drivers when pulling out of a spot
- driving too fast
- not watching for pedestrians
- getting aggressive over parking spots
Another common, serious problem is being distracted. When surveyed by the National Safety Council, many drivers said they are comfortable using their phones in a parking lot. Here are the activities they said they do while driving in parking lots and garages:
- Making phone calls (66%)
- Programming a GPS (63%)
- Texting (56%)
- Using social media (52%)
- Sending/receiving email (50%)
- Taking pictures or watching videos (49%)
These are big distractions when not pulled into a parking spot. Distracted drivers are dangerous at any speed, in any location. Even if you are stopped and waiting in line, it is important to still pay attention to the road. Staying aware of surrounding, being mindful of other drivers and pedestrians is essential to keeping everyone safe.
How to Avoid Dangers
Knowing common problems in parking lots and garages can help each driver be more self-aware of their behaviors and habits. It is also helpful to know what other drivers are likely doing to be on guard. These safety tips are always taught in new driver training courses, but they are important to review:
- Always look around for oncoming traffic
- Slow down
- Watch for pedestrians, especially for kids who are shorter and may run out between cars
- Don’t fight over a parking spot. Parking a little farther away only takes a few extra seconds and can be good exercise.
- Keep your phone put away until the car is in park
- Don’t cut through parking lots or parking rows. Stay in the driving lanes.
Other good safety practices are parking in well-lit spots for added safety at night. Lock your valuables in your trunk, or at least make sure they are out of sight. Keep your car locked so it is harder to take items. Before getting in your car to leave, walk around your car. Inspect the ground for anything that may puncture your tire.
Parking safely also has a lot to do with situating a car in the stall correctly. Try to get the car in the middle so everyone in the vehicle can get in and out safely without hitting a vehicle on either side. Pull all the way into the stall (without crossing the line) so your vehicle isn’t sticking out into traffic creating a hazard or making it harder for people to see around.
As a responsible driver, it is important to always be safe. Don’t let yourself get comfortable in slow speeds or are about to park. Be committed to safe practices getting in the car until you leave it.