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How to Stay Safe in a Parking Lot

May 17, 2018

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How to Stay Safe in a Parking Lot

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If you've ever felt unsafe while walking through a parking lot, walk confidently next time when you learn more with OnStar's parking lot safety tips.

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If you've ever felt unsafe while walking through a parking lot, walk confidently next time when you learn more with OnStar's parking lot safety tips.

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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), more than 50,000 crashes occur every year in parking lots and garages, resulting in more than 500 deaths and 60,000 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 on their phones 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 lines and drive defensively with an eye to other drivers and pedestrians. Remember that pedestrians can’t read your mind, so they’re expecting you to follow the rules of the road.

Secure your vehicle

According to the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration, up to half of vehicle thefts occur because drivers leave their doors unlocked or the keys in the ignition or on the seats. Before you walk away from the vehicle, be sure to 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 to and from your parked vehicle can 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 more than a third 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, simply call OnStar at 1.888.4ONSTAR (1.888.466.7827). An Advisor can stay on the phone with you to be sure you reach your vehicle safely, or can unlock your vehicle remotely (if properly equipped) if you get locked out. You’ll also have access to Roadside Assistance*17 should your vehicle not start.

Parking lots and garages are an underestimated safety hazard, but by staying alert and being mindful of potential dangers, you can help keep you and your loved ones safe.