Parking lots present a unique situation for drivers because of the large number of vehicles, pedestrians, and objects together in one place. Of all accidents that occur while backing up, 70% of them happen in these areas. Damage, injuries, and road rage are the inevitable results. Interestingly, a majority of these situations occur for one of four main reasons.
Being Unaware Of The Surroundings
Being unaware of what obstacles might be in the way causes a large portion of these accidents. Failing to note where others are moving to also contributes to this. The cause may be a temporary distraction, or not making the right checks. Never shift the vehicle out of park unless you are completely sure you know what is going on around you and have determined you can safely proceed. If you can't see, adjust your view, get out and look, or ask someone to guide you from the spot. Taking an extra second to walk around the vehicle will also help you identify items or situations that could get in the way.
Feeling Pushed Or Agitated
Becoming impatient or pushy in parking lots is an accident waiting to happen. Feeling stressed or the urge to rush causes us to make minute mistakes and forget some of the vital steps involved in safe driving. Drivers don't see the things they should and may even project their frustrations on others who don't deserve it or get in the way. Inevitably, you will need to wait for someone to walk across your path, stop too close to the next person, or not wait on someone who is attempting to park. When you feel these urges, take a second to relax and put a fresh perspective on things. Take a deep breath, stop, or pull off to the side where you can take a few minutes to compose yourself. These extra few calming minutes will do you and everyone else a lot of good.
Not Knowing The Driving Rules
In some instances, the driver isn't aware of the rules they should follow while driving in the parking lot. They may think they have the right of way when they don't, or fail to follow the posted road signs. Not driving in the designated lanes can also be an issue. In general, you need to follow all of the rules while driving in parking lots that you normally would on the road unless there are signs specifically stating otherwise.
Not Following Defensive Driving
If you want to avoid an accident while in parking lots, you need to focus on preventing them. Remembering the mistakes mentioned here is a good start. You will also want to watch for things such as obstacles like shopping carts, children who might run in front, other vehicles that may be moving at the same time, and any other things that may get in the way. You will find your chances of getting into an accident will be greatly reduced.
Regardless of whether you are in a small Iowa town or maneuvering through busy downtown Chicago, parking lots all have the same risks. Take your time, keep these common errors in mind, and actively try to avoid incidents and you will stay accident free. If something does happen, you will have a clear conscience and will be comforted by the fact you did what you could to prevent the issue.
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