Would you believe – in a mall parking lot? Parking lots are like the mosh pit of driving. People seem to do whatever they can get away with. Blatantly break the speed limit? Check. Take up two spaces? Check. Ignore the lane markings altogether, and blaze a trail across the empty parking lot? Check. According to Triple-A, on a per-mile basis, drivers have more fender benders in parking lots than anywhere else. So, here’s how to handle the parking lot madness, and protect yourself and your car:
- First, parking-design expert Marty Worden says that angled spaces along one-way aisles are the safest parking spaces. You have traffic coming at you from only one direction, and you have better sight lines when you’re backing out.
- Next, take advantage of the “barrier islands". The cement curbs between the rows that keep motorists from cutting across the empty lot. But don’t park in the end space along a barrier island unless there’s an “end cap”. Otherwise, you’re vulnerable to moving traffic from the side and from the rear.
- Another parking lot safety tip: People prefer to park near a mall's main entrance, or the biggest stores. Which means, the faraway “fringe” parking spaces are usually empty. So, stick to the fringe, where spaces are plentiful, traffic is light, and the risk of collision is minimal.
- Finally, pay attention when you get out of your car. Listen for the sound of cars starting up, and watch for the flash of backup lights so you’re not surprised when someone pulls out. And stick to the pedestrian marked paths. Just because the fastest way to get where you’re going is to cut through 6 aisles of parked cars, doesn’t mean it’s the safest way to go.