Parking Cars Safely

Wednesday, October 10, 2012

One of the first things we are taught when learning to drive is how to park a car, yet the highest number of accidents in Canada still occur in parking lots. It is hard enough just watching for other cars, but we have to keep in mind pedestrian traffic too. In parking lots, people walk all over the place; in between vehicles, behind moving vehicles and in the middle of the roadways. We can’t control how other people drive or park around us, but there are some proactive steps we can take to help us avoid parking lot accidents.

Always back in to your parking space.

This may sound silly, but when you back in it will allow you to see oncoming traffic when the time comes to pull out of the space. Most parking lot accidents occur when people are trying to leave a parking space, not when entering. Pulling into a parking space is easy, but all too often leaves you at the mercy of another driver when it comes to exiting.

Signal your intentions.

A surprising number of drivers forget to signal their intentions to those around them. It is so exciting to find that perfect parking space, especially when it is close to the door. Always remember to signal before manoeuvring into a space.

Use your mirrors.

The importance of mirrors is often under estimated. There is a time and a place for looking over the back seat, but in general; when backing into tight spaces always use your mirrors. They often know where the side of your car is better than you do. Just remember, you are far less likely to knock your mirrors off if you are looking at them.

Get to know your vehicle.

Practice manoeuvring and parking your car in an empty lot. Just because you did this as a teenager does not mean you should stop. Each time you start driving a different vehicle this will be necessary. Become familiar with your car’s size and turning radius. This will help you to evaluate which spaces are good for you to park in, and those that you should just avoid all together.

Move slowly through the parking lot.

This is the most difficult. It can be tempting to zip around a parking lot because we are all in a hurry. Often we have a tendency to think we are much better drivers than anyone else. By slowing down it allows for better reaction times when someone suddenly backs out in front of you, or cuts you off while they are looking the other way. Reducing your speed will also help your ability to watch for pedestrians that may step out without looking.

These simple steps that seem like common sense, if practiced regularly by drivers could eliminate a large number of accidents and result in much safer parking lots.