Safety in Parking Lots
As if it weren’t difficult enough to stay safe on the road, an average driver also has to be alert for his safety and that of his vehicle in a parking lot. So, today we’re going to talk about ways to stay safe in parking areas.
There are three things a driver has to be concerned about in a parking lot or garage: his safety, the safety of the car and contents, and the safety of others and their vehicles.
The first concern is the driver’s safety when he becomes a pedestrian because other drivers will watch out for cars while they are carefully maneuvering out of parking spots, but won’t see pedestrians. So, after exiting the vehicle, a driver has to continue to be diligent and keep themselves and anyone with them out of harm's way. Watch for reverse lights, but even those may not work, so listen, and remain alert for drivers who may cross parking lanes to get to their destination faster, or whip around parking garage corners.
The second concern is the car, itself. The number of potential dangers a vehicle faces is quite startling.
Park it in a safe place
Cars should be parked where they can be seen and still be safe. The spot by the cart corral may have a lot of eyes to watch it, but it will also be the one that gets the most ‘cart kisses', something no car owner wants to see. Each parking lot is different, but avoid spots which leave the car prone to being hit. Also, avoid dark and lonely spots after sunset, and use caution where a speeding driver may not see your car until it’s too late. Being respectful of signage and marked lines will also avoid the potential for trouble or even being towed.
In Phoenix during the summer, the parking spot way across the lot which has a tiny sliver of shade is a more welcome spot than the painted-over handicapped place in the full sun.
Lock it up and hide the goodies
Vehicles should always be locked, and there shouldn’t be any temptations on the seat, floor or console. We know of a woman whose car was broken into for a cell phone charger and coin in the ashtray. The rule is, if you wouldn’t give it away to a stranger, don’t leave it in a locked car where thieves can see it. Lock it in the trunk, and lock the car even when there is nothing to steal. Thieves might decide to take the car!
Watching out for others
The guy in the row behind you is going to want to pull out of his parking space at the exact moment that you do, so it’s critical to watch out for reverse lights when you’re watching for cars (and pedestrians!) during your exit. Other walkers are not going to be as careful as you are when you're walking, so you have to watch out for pedestrians when you’re the driver, particularly children, who have a propensity for escaping their parents’ grasp and darting between cars. Watchfulness also holds true for carts, and also pets, just in case one of those dogs who is being passed off as well-trained service animals isn't either.
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