Whether you’re heading to a favorite place or arriving somewhere you’ve never been, ensure you’re leaving your car in a safe spot. Parking lots are a prime location for accidents; leaving your car alone in an uncertain place is a sure way to risk damage or theft. You can reduce the likelihood of those happening by adjusting your parking habits. Here are several tips for parking safely anywhere
What are the Different Types of Parking?
There are three types of legal parking spaces and one way that can be legal or illegal depending on the situation. Most parking areas use the following patterns: parallel (along streets and curbs), perpendicular, and angled (which turn up most often in lots and garages). Double parking is always illegal and dangerous, except when valets use it to park in a private lot or garage. All that said, reverse parking in a perpendicular space is statistically safer. It provides a better view of your surroundings while exiting. Also—door dings notwithstanding—your car is less exposed to potential damage from other cars.
Slow Down, Look Around
Parking lots are compact and enclosed places filled with twists, turns, blind spots, and other hazards. As frustrating as it may be to find a space on a busy day, it’s just not worth it to speed around the lot, gunning for a place to park. If the lot’s speed limits aren’t posted, slow down to 10 miles per hour or less. As you park, keep your eyes open and your wits about you. Look in every direction before pulling into a space, and consult your mirrors, rear camera, and parking sensors while backing into a spot.
Safety First and Last
Give a new parking lot the once-over. Is it in decent shape? Is it dark at night? Are the spots marked with faded paint? Is the asphalt filled with puddles and potholes? Is there garbage and potentially tire-damaging debris everywhere? Finally, does it look professional? If it’s a field near a state fair or similar outside event, you can expect it the lot to be rustic—but a city lot that lacks signs, a booth, and professional-looking attendants should make you think twice.
Make Sure It Stays There
Pull into the space and turn your steering wheel to the right if you’re parking uphill, or to the left if parking downhill. This prevents the car from rolling into the road. Take out your keys. Use common sense and don’t leave them in the car’s glove compartment or tucked in the window shade. Apply the emergency brake by pulling it up and ensuring it’s locked firmly.
Secure Your Valuables
Not leaving anything valuable in the car is one of the biggest tips for parking safely anywhere. If you must, make sure the doors are locked and the items you leave behind aren’t in plain sight. Carrying a dark blanket in your trunk is a smart idea so you can cover up packages and the like.