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It is easy for drivers to overlook parking lot accidents. Tips for safe driving tend to focus on what happens when a driver is on the open road rather than in the parking lot. However, even though you’re unlikely to experience a high-speed collision in a parking lot, you could still have an accident that leaves you with costly damages to your car. Consider the following five tips to help avoid accidents in the parking lot. 

Make use of the technology in your car

A parking lot with cars, where a potential parking lot accident could have occurred.
Parking lot | Getty Images

Cars technology has advanced to give drivers plenty of assistance in avoiding collisions. Backup cameras can provide a better view than the rearview mirror, which can help you better understand how close you are to other cars around you. Sensors throughout vehicles can also help drivers avoid making contact while parking. 

Parallel parking can be one of the most challenging parts of driving, and according to J.D. Power, some new vehicles like the BMW 7 Series and Cadillac CT5 can park themselves. As technology progresses, this feature will likely become more common, which will help remove some of the stress of parallel parking.  

Drive slowly and cautiously 

Erie Insurance states that this is one of the most important tips for safe driving in parking lots. Having caution while driving is always a good thing, and in parking lots where there are often cars parked on all sides, it is imperative. 

Everyone has places they need to be, but driving slower in parking lots can also help you avoid accidents. Cars are constantly backing up and maneuvering throughout parking spaces, and driving slowly can help you, and other drivers on the road avoid collisions. 

Pay attention to your distance

Parking lots are designed to fit as many vehicles as possible, which can result in cars parking too close to one another. While it can be impossible to avoid tight spaces in some lots, make sure that you have room to get out of whatever parking space you get in. You will need to be able to open your door without slamming into the car next to you, and you will have to back out without bumping any other vehicles.

This tip can relate to using your car’s technology stated above. Backup cameras can help you identify how close you are to other cars around you, and sensors can help you avoid collisions. If you don’t have any of these features and find yourself in a tight parking space, consider asking your passenger to help guide you from the outside. 

Use your side mirrors

Cameras and sensors can provide plenty of extra assistance while parking, but the importance of basic side mirrors should not be overlooked. Setting your mirrors correctly can help remove blind spots to give you more visibility of the space around your car. 

If blind spots are a persistent issue, blind spot mirrors can help. 

Park away from carts

Shopping carts are not likely to cause significant damage to your car, but they could still cause bumps and scratches that could take away some of your car’s visual appeal and affect its value. If you see a cart left in the parking lot outside of the cart corral, avoid parking close to it. Rogue carts like this could find their way to your parked car and leave you with avoidable scratches.

It also might be a good idea to avoid parking next to the cart corral in general if possible. Carts are unlikely to roll out of the corrals once in them, but if someone loses control of a cart on their way to the corral, it could roll into your car.


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