Although driving in a parking lot may feel safer than being on the streets, research has shown that a significant amount of collisions occur in parking lots. According to the Institute for Highway Safety (IIHS), parking lot collisions make up as much as 20% of all accidents.
As always, you should follow safety precautions when driving in a parking lot, such as staying alert, following all posted speed limits and warnings, and wearing your seatbelt.
But the research is in with a new safety tip that you may not be aware of—backing into your parking space, rather than pulling in.
The Numbers Don’t Lie
According to the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA), drivers backing out of their parking spaces in driveways and parking lots kills an estimated 267 people and injures another 5,000 people every year. Worse yet, most of the people harmed are children, seniors, and sick people who are seated in the backseat of the car.
This is so common that the NHTSA has made a rule that any new vehicles under 10,000 pounds (passenger vehicles, buses, and trucks) must have rear visibility technology by May 2019. While this technology makes backing out a bit safer, it’s not always accurate, plus backing into your parking space is a safer and more reliable alternative.
How is Backing in Better?
You may think that whether you back in or pull in, at some point you’re going to be reversing your car, hindering your ability to drive safely. However, backing into your parking space provides you more visibility of pedestrians and traffic flow than you’d have if you were backing out of the space.
When you back out of a parking space, the cars parked beside you are directly in your blind spots. Alternatively when backing into your parking space, you avoid these blind spots and have the most visibility when leaving the space as well.
It May Not Be Easy At First
If you feel uncomfortable backing into a space due to the volume of traffic or the lack of visibility, consider a vehicle with rear visibility technology. This can include a camera on your dashboard that will show the rear view of your vehicle and can also include sensors or guidelines to warn you when your vehicle is nearing another. While this doesn’t completely absolve all danger, it can certainly help you be aware of the cars on either side of your space.
Another option is “pull-through parking”, which is advised by vehicle safety advisers because it allows the vehicle to both enter and exit the parking space without ever having to reverse. The driver will locate two empty parking spaces that are both in front of the vehicle and drive through the first space before parking in the following one, with the vehicle then facing forward out of the space.
While pull-through parking may not always be an option if there aren’t enough parking spaces available, it is the best option whenever possible.
High Traffic Areas
If you’re parking in a high traffic lot, you might fear that another driver will “steal” your space if you drive past it in order to back in. While people can certainly be inconsiderate, if you turn on your parking blinder or your emergency flashers before pulling past the space and/or make a hand signal, the driver behind you should respect your claim to the space.
Be sure to check for oncoming vehicles or pedestrians behind you before putting your vehicle in reverse.
Some drivers may express frustration in high traffic situations if you opt for back-in parking because they may have to wait longer to drive through but ultimately, back-in parking is safer for everyone and will reduce car accidents. Besides, if you practice backing into your spaces enough, you’ll become an expert and it won’t take any extra time at all.
As a business owner with a parking lot, you can encourage back-in parking with signs recommending it, parallel parking spaces that are easier to back into, and signs that caution drivers not to follow cars in front of them too closely.
If your business is looking for a dedicated team of professionals to perform parking facility maintenance duties, contact Curcio Enterprises. Our range of services include striping, asphalt repairs, seal coating, pressure washing, power sweeping, general maintenance, parking facility signage, and much more! We’ll give your parking facility a sleek and professional look that’s sure to bring in more customers every day. Let us help your company reach the top! We look forward to your call.