Door dents and fender benders: How to avoid parking lot mishaps

Do you park in the far end of the parking lot to avoid accidental door dents? Or perhaps you navigate your way to the closest-to-the-door parking spot, maneuvering carefully around other traffic to get that coveted spot. 

Whatever your parking lot style, accidents can happen — no matter how careful you are. It’s estimated that one in 5 traffic accidents in Canada takes place in parking lots. 

Here are some tips on how to avoid parking lot mishaps and create a safe shared space with pedestrians and cyclists:

Slow down!
Speed is often a factor in car accidents, even in parking lots. It may seem obvious, but this is a good reminder that slowing down and proceeding with caution is always the safer way. 

With rows of parking, it’s often difficult to see people (especially children) moving between vehicles, and you want to be sure that you can easily come to a complete stop should someone jet out into your path.

Increase visibility
See and be seen. It’s not only a good rule of thumb for pedestrians cyclists — it goes for motorists too.

Keep your headlights on to light your way and help others to see you approaching. Running lights in the daytime are great, but if the weather is overcast or rainy during the day, you should have your full headlight system on. 

Use your tech
Newer vehicles are equipped with technology that sees and anticipates what’s in your path no matter what direction you’re going. 

So leverage your rear camera, 360 cameras, parking assist system, vehicle cross traffic alert system, etc. However, don’t become complacent. You also need to manually check your surroundings using your eyes, ears, side and rear mirrors to be sure it’s safe to proceed.


Pull through or back in

If there’s a pull-through parking spot available, take it! Otherwise, it’s recommended that you reverse park into parking spaces to make egress safer. 

Watch for objects and obstructions
Pedestrians and other vehicles aren’t the only possible parking lot hazards you’ll encounter. Watch for stray shopping carts, debris, potholes, and uneven pavement. 


So, what do you do if you are involved in a parking lot accident in Ontario? 

You may think that parking lot accidents follow their own set of rules when it comes to who is at-fault and how your insurance views it. However, parking lots are treated in the same way as other accidents since they also have right-of-way rules and laws. 


If you have an accident, follow the same steps you would for any other traffic accident:


  • If it is safe to do so, move your vehicle out of the way of traffic
  • Check to see if anyone has been injured
  • Exchange information with the other driver
  • Report the accident if the damage exceeds $2,000
  • Take your vehicle to the nearest collision reporting centre if required
  • Contact your insurance company 


Being mindful of your surroundings will keep you and those around you safe — not to mention reduce your chances of damaging your car and making and requiring an insurance claim.  

For businesses concerned about the safety of patrons in their parking areas, enlisting the help of a professional traffic and logistics company such as Carraway is an excellent way to outsource your safety plan. And, it also makes the parking lot experience a more organized and enjoyable one — something that’s always great for business.  

Carraway Traffic & Safety is committed to providing superior traffic management solutions that make sharing the road safer for motorists, pedestrians, and cyclists.

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