Parking Lot Safety Tips Every Driver Should Know

Do you text or take phone calls while navigating a parking lot? Many drivers assume that parking lots are safer than the open road, and this makes them believe that it’s okay to pull out their cell phone or engage in other activities that take their focus off of their surroundings. 

But parking lots are riskier than most drivers think. In addition to any in-car distractions, drivers can easily get confused by lots with odd layouts and one-way lanes, especially if there aren’t clear directional arrows or signs. 

Whatever the reason, parking lots aren’t a danger-free place. To protect yourself and those around you, make sure you follow these tips.

When backing up…

Don’t rely on technology

Pets, small children, pedestrians, and even other vehicles could appear suddenly behind your car. If your car has a backup camera, make sure you’re also looking over your shoulder and using your mirrors for maximum visibility.

Do a walk around your car beforehand

In case there are any low-lying objects hanging around, the National Safety Council recommends doing a quick 360-degree walk around your car to ensure the space around you is clear. 

When driving…

Stay in marked lanes 

It can be tempting to cut across open lanes or parking spaces. While this may seem like a harmless alternative to winding through the parking lot, it makes your movement highly unpredictable to other drivers and pedestrians. 

Avoid distractions

Drivers often think parking lots are a harmless place to take phone calls, check emails, program their navigation system, and more. In fact, 56% of drivers said they would text while driving in a parking area. However, being aware of your surroundings in a parking lot, where there’s an increased amount of pedestrian traffic, is just as important as being alert out on the road. 

Watch your speed

Always follow the posted speed limit and, if there isn’t one, keep your driving to a maximum of 15 miles per hour. Saving a few seconds is never worth hitting another car or a pedestrian.

Don’t wait around

If you’re like many drivers, you’ve waited for someone to reach their car, start the ignition, and pull out of a parking spot so you can swoop in and take it. However, this can cause inconvenient and even dangerous traffic jams in the parking lot.

When you’re not driving…

Protect your vehicle

According to the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration, it’s always a good idea to remove valuables from your vehicle or, at the very least, hide them from plain sight. In addition, make sure you close your windows, lock the doors, and always carry your car keys with you.

Park in well-lit spaces

Parking lots can be threatening places, especially at night, so make sure to park as close as possible to any building entrances. These spots are usually the most populated and well-lit.

Want to learn more about staying safe whether you’re in a parking lot or out on the open road? We’re your one-stop destination for all of your Driver’s Education and Defensive Driving needs.