This staple of modern life can be more dangerous than you think
We spend a good chunk of our lives getting in and out of parking lots and garages. But there’s potential for danger wherever vehicles share space with pedestrians, and these places are no exception. According to the National Safety Council (NSC), tens of thousands of crashes occur every year in parking lots and garages, resulting in hundreds of deaths and thousands of injuries.
Here are some steps you can take to help protect yourself and others in a parking lot or garage.
Stay off the phone
The NSC found that up to two-thirds of drivers are pulling into parking lots and garages talking on their phone or fiddling with their GPS. During busy shopping seasons, this type of distracted driving only gets worse. It can be tempting to think that once you pull into the parking lot the dangerous part of the drive is over. But distracted driving is distracted driving — no matter how slowly you’re going. Wait until you’re parked to get on your phone.
Mind the rules of the road
Speeding through a parking lot can be incredibly dangerous, yet how many times have you seen a vehicle going double or triple the speed limit? Slow down, avoid cutting across parking spaces and aisles, use your turn signals and drive defensively with an eye to other drivers and pedestrians.
Secure your vehicle
According to the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration, about half of vehicle thefts occur because of driver error (forgetting to lock the doors, leaving the keys in the ignition or on the seats, etc.). Before you walk away from your vehicle, lock the doors, close the windows and place all valuables out of sight — and never leave the area while your vehicle is still running.
Keep your eyes open
Walking in a parking lot or garage may also present dangers, so be aware of your surroundings. Stay in well-lit areas and use walkways or crosswalks whenever possible. Keep your keys out and don’t linger once you’re in your vehicle. Be especially mindful of vehicles that are backing up as well. The NSC reports that nine percent of pedestrian deaths in parking lots and garages are the result of backup incidents.
Protect yourself and your vehicle with OnStar
If you’re nervous about your safety in a deserted parking lot, OnStar* is here to help. Simply call OnStar at 1.888.4ONSTAR (1.888.466.7827) or push the blue button in the OnStar Guardian® app,* and an Advisor can stay on the phone with you to be sure you reach your vehicle safely. OnStar can also help if:
- You need help after a crash or you witness one.
- You’ve accidently locked your keys in the car.
- You need Roadside Assistance* for help with a flat tire or to jump-start your car.
- Your vehicle is stolen. OnStar can work with police to help locate and recover your vehicle.*
By staying alert in parking lots and garages and being mindful of the potential dangers, you can help keep you and your loved ones safe.