With all of the rushing around and distractions, drivers and pedestrians in parking lots may not be paying attention to the goings-on around them.
- Pedestrians should use walkways and crosswalks, if available. If walking in the traffic lanes is unavoidable, be alert for a car’s reverse lights or exhaust, letting you know a vehicle may be about to back out.
Protect your car
- Park as far away from other vehicles as possible to avoid door dings and scratches. Be on the lookout for stray shopping carts, too. Avoid parking in tight spaces or in close proximity to cars with child restraints on the same side as your vehicle. Not only does this help protect your car from possible damage, but provides a courtesy to parkers with young children.
- Drive the speed limit and stop at stop signs. Unless you have a handicap sticker or plates do not park in spaces designated for disabled persons. Pay special attention when turning corners and backing up.
- Keep your attention on your driving, and don’t text and/or talk on your phone.
- Pedestrians may not be paying attention to their surroundings, so anticipate people, even if you don’t see anyone. Watch for people who are focused on their smartphones and not their surroundings.
- Watch for children. It can be difficult to see small children in busy parking lots, who may make quick, unpredictable movements, and hold the hands of your children while walking through parking lots.
- Park in visible, well-lit areas near surveillance cameras, if possible, and always be aware of your surroundings.
- Use your headlights in parking garages for added visibility, even in the daytime.
- Avoid parking between a pair of large SUVs or minivans where it might be difficult to back out of the space. If you can’t see well enough to back out safely, get help from one of your passengers.
- Look for spaces near the side of the malls, at secondary entrances. There’s usually less traffic and more parking, and with that, a lower risk of collision. Be aware, though, that those areas may not be as secure.
- Lock your car, close the windows, and hide valuables. Place all shopping bags and valuables in the trunk.
- When returning to your vehicle, have keys ready in hand, check under your car and in the back seat before getting in, and lock your doors as soon as you get in. Do not linger in your parked car.
- Watch for suspicious people and report them to security. If you feel uncomfortable walking to your car, ask a security officer for an escort.
- Ensure all passengers are buckled up even if it is a short trip to another part of the parking lot as even a low-speed collision can result in injuries.
- Familiarize yourself with parking lot exits.
- To remember where you parked your car, note landmarks, distance from the store entrance, and/or make a note in your cell phone.