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How to Avoid Parking Lot Accidents

December 14, 2010

Parking lots are perhaps the most common places for minor, low-impact accidents to occur. In many cases, drivers and pedestrians are distracted by their surroundings. Many drivers don’t consider parking lots to require the same careful attention to driving as roads or highways. The following tips should help you to avoid parking lot accidents. By avoiding these unnecessary accidents, and the auto insurance claims that you may be forced to file as a result, you can keep your insurance premiums low and stay safe, even in seemingly quiet parking lots.

Park Strategically

If you can, look for a parking spot that allows you to pull right through so that you can pull out easily when you leave. Many accidents occur when drivers are backing out of parking spots. Drivers may not see pedestrians walking behind their vehicle or another driver behind them is backing up at the same time. Other drivers may be passing quickly behind them through the aisles in search of a place to park and a collision can easily occur.

It is important to centre your car within the lines of the parking space, allowing for equal spacing all around your vehicle. Parking too close to the lines could mean damage or dents to your car from the vehicles around you. Most people try to park as close to the building that they are going to as possible, but by parking in a further area of the lot you can be sure that there will be less demand for spots around your vehicle, and you reduce the possibility of door dents. It also means that the amount of traffic you’ll have to compete with to be able to leave the parking spot when you’re ready to go will be greatly reduced. You’ll even get a little bit of extra exercise as you’re heading to your destination.

Avoid Distractions

Do you drive with music playing? Or maybe listen to talk radio to get the latest news? If so, you’re like most drivers on the road today. Media is readily available from countless sources, and portable personal electronic devices make it easier than ever to make sure you’re in your favourite multimedia environment – even in the car. However, music and talk can mask surrounding noises and distract you from the events around you, making accidents more likely. Staying off of your phone until you have safely parked your vehicle is important. Not only is it the law in some provinces, but phone calls are incredibly distracting. You need to keep both hands and your complete attention on the tasks of driving and parking. Children and adults can easily dart out from between other parked cars, and you’ll need your complete attention to ensure you react quickly, before you injure someone.

Be Aware & Show Your Intentions

Make your intentions as clear to the other drivers in parking lots as you would to drivers on the road. It’s possible that both you and someone else may have your eyes on a particular parking spot. Signal before turning into a spot to alert others of your intentions and your future actions. If you don’t, another driver may try to turn in at the same time, which could result in a messy and unnecessary collision. In cases like this, it is probable that the insurance companies will assign blame to both of you and you can expect that your premiums will increase. When you are ready to exit a parking spot, always check in all directions. Try to anticipate what other drivers are going to do, and, if in doubt, wait a few seconds until you are absolutely sure that it is safe to pull out.

Your car insurance company will provide you with the coverage you need that can help to protect you in the case of any accident, but avoiding collisions where you can is the best way to keep your premiums low and keep your record clean. A little bit of extra caution goes a long way. Just a little door dent? You may not want to submit a claim, as the cost of fixing it will likely be less than your auto insurance deductible and not worth the increase in premiums that you can expect after a claim.