While the Australian media tends to focus on fluctuations in the annual road toll, the majority of car accidents that occur in Australia every year are relatively minor. And a large number of these minor accidents play out in the deceptively placid environs of parking lots.
While these accidents rarely cause serious injuries, they do have a knack for sinking your no claims bonus and forcing you to pay out expensive excess to repair minor damage to your vehicle.
As is the case with all car accidents, the best way to handle them is to avoid having them at all. With this in mind, here are some ways you can avoid having parking lot accidents.
Parking lots are some of the most hazard-filled driving spaces around. You’ll encounter everything from children, pedestrians, errant shopping carts and reversing vehicles on your way through a parking lot.
With this in mind you need to refrain from driving above 10km/h while in a parking lot, as you need to ensure that you can brake and react suddenly in response to any hazards.
Park and walk
The closer you try park to any building entrance, the more congested the parking area will be and the more traffic you will encounter. The more traffic and congestion there is, the higher your risk of having an accident.
Therefore, the easiest way to avoid parking lot accidents is to park in an area where there are many open parking bays and fewer cars roaming around.
Park between empty bays or fixed objects
If you’ve ever returned to your car to find a dent or scratch on your door, you’ll know how aggravating this kind of accident can be. The easiest way to avoid this is to simply reduce the chances that you’ll have cars parked next to you.
One way to do this is to park in more remote areas of parking lots, with empty bays on either side you. Another way to do this is to park at the end of a row of bays, so that there is only one bay next to you.
It can be easy to forget to turn on your indicators when you’re in the slow moving traffic of a parking lot, or exiting or entering a bay. However, even at low speeds, other drivers can easily be caught off guard if you do not signal when and where you’ll be turning your car.
Always indicate when turning into or out of parking bays. If reversing straight out of parking bay, turn on your hazards to alert oncoming traffic on both sides of you to the fact that you are reversing.
Watch out for shopping carts
Most mall shopping lots have at least one or two feral shopping carts rolling around and looking for something to bump into, particularly on windy days. Keep an eye out for shopping carts that have not been stacked in cart bays while you are driving around parking lots.
Also ensure that you always secure your own shopping cart in a shopping cart bay before you leave the parking lot.
Get teched up
Many new vehicles are equipped with active safety features that are ideal for preventing parking lot accidents. These include reverse proximity warning sensors, autonomous reverse braking systems which will stop your car before it collides with something behind it and even rear-view cameras that can show you exactly what is happening behind your car.
If you don’t have this technology in your car, a simple shoulder check can potentially save you on forking out on an expensive repair bill.
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