Tips to help you stay safe in a parking lot

By Allstate

Last updated: January 1

When you turn off the road and into a parking lot, it's important to remember that the risk of experiencing a vehicle-related incident does not stop there. From keeping a look out for other cars and pedestrians, to ensuring your car is locked, there are many reasons to learn and practice parking lot safety. The following tips can help you prepare to protect yourself, your vehicle and others when in a parking lot.

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Minimize distractions

The National Safety Council (NSC) reports that some common distractions for drivers in a parking lot include making phone calls, texting and programming their GPS. But, remember that most states have either banned or restricted the use of cellphones while operating a vehicle, according to the Insurance Institute for Highway Safety. Even when driving through a parking lot, you should put away your cellphone and avoid these types of distractions so you can focus on your immediate surroundings.

Drive with caution

Drive slowly and watch out for other cars driving by or backing up, as well as pedestrians. When you're getting ready to exit a parking space, it is also a good idea to take a quick walk around your vehicle to check for low-lying objects first, says the NSC. Additionally, even if you have a backup camera, use the vehicle mirrors and look over your shoulder to aid with visibility as you back up.

Choose a well-lit space

Look for a parking space close to the destination you're going to and ensure it's well lit, especially if you're parking at night. For example, if you're at the mall, Consumer Reports recommends parking as close as possible to the building — it's typically the most populated area of a parking lot and may offer the best lighting as you walk to or from your car.

Stay alert

Avoid talking on or looking at your phone while walking through a parking lot, recommends Consumer Reports. You may also want to consider ditching the headphones so you can hear what's going on around you, like vehicles or pedestrians approaching. And remember, if you happen to notice any suspicious activity while in a parking lot, you should report it to your local authorities.

Secure your vehicle

Lastly, it's a good idea to remove valuables from your vehicle, especially if they're visible through a window, says the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration. If you can't remove valuables, it's a good idea to hide any items and bags from plain sight at a minimum, adds Consumer Reports. You should also close your vehicle's windows, lock the doors and keep your car keys with you at all times.

By practicing these tips, you can help keep yourself and your vehicle safe in a parking lot, and may lower your chances of being involved in a vehicle-related incident.