Over the past couple of decades, cars have grown larger and parking lot stalls seem to have shrunk; or at least that’s the way it seems. While out running errands today, I wound up in three very small and overcrowded parking lots that don’t seem to have been designed for the times — and that just adds to challenges posed by oversized vehicles and inexperienced, impatient or frazzled drivers. I slowed my own pace to bear witness.

It was amazing to me how fast cars were zipping around and through cars trying to get in and out of stalls, how there was little to no patience, and how inconsiderate people were about how they parked within the stalls (not considering whether the car next to them would have room to open their car doors). They just didn’t seem to pay attention or maybe they just don’t care. Driver courtesy went out the window. Everyone was in a hurry, and I saw Suburbans and large, oversized SUVs and trucks parked in compact spaces — and of course since they didn’t fit, an extra space was taken away. It’s amazing there weren’t more accidents involving the cars themselves and pedestrians.

From research I’ve done, it seems something like 20-25% of all accidents happen in parking lots. And over 50% of injuries resulting from backing-up accidents happen when a vehicle backs into a pedestrian in a parking lot.

Here are some things to consider that can allow you to keep yourself, your car and others around you safe and sane:

  • Slow down, pay attention & act with caution and care — especially on a busy day with extra-crowded parking lots.
  • Be considerate in terms of the size of the parking stall relative to your car — and the cars around you for spacing.
  • Look out for pedestrians (especially little kids who tend to dart in and out of cars in parking lots without being aware).
  • Leverage whatever technology you’ve got in your car — rear view cameras, ultrasonic systems that beep, parking assist.
  • When you can, park further away from other cars — we can all use a little extra exercise and it’ll keep your car safe.
  • Look for parking spots where you can pull straight through to avoid having to back out later.
  • Avoid stray shopping carts near where you park to minimize damage to your car.
  • ALSO — try to avoid shopping on weekends or Holidays as much as possible; go on off days/times when you can!

Just being mindful of some of these things will put you far ahead of the pack — aim to set a good example for others.


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