According to the Insurance Institute for Highway Safety, about 14 percent of all vehicle collisions that result in damage happen in parking lots. Below are AAA's tips for safe parking.
1. Stay Alert: Watch for cars cutting across parking lots and speeding through aisles. Take it slow and always use your turn signal. Avoid two-way lanes whenever possible.
2. Mind Your Manners: Don't take up two spots by parking over the lines.
3. Protect Your Car: Parking in congested areas increases the likelihood of scratches and dents from car doors or shopping carts. Park away from buildings during the day, but avoid secluded areas at night. If you can find a spot at the end of the row next to an island, take it - this is the best place to park your car.
However, if there is no island, don't park in an end space because this will leave your car vulnerable to turning traffic. Park in front of a light pole, if possible. The pole will protect your car from a driver who might pull too far forward and bash its front end, and the light will give you added security at night.
4. Walk Back Safely: When leaving or returning to your car, don't dart between parked cars. Listen for cars and look for the illuminated brake lights of cars backing up. Pedestrians can be just as guilty as drivers when it comes to disobeying posted signs or not paying close enough attention to their surroundings. Protect yourself on foot, as well as when you're driving.
5. Be Observant: When backing out, make sure you scan a full 360 degrees - there may be shoppers to your left and right, or other cars backing out at the same time. If it's possible and legal in your area, pull through if there are two open nose-to-nose spaces. Being able to pull out head first instead of backing out of a spot will keep you safe.
6. Mail With Caution: If you have packages to send, keep in mind that post office parking lots have the highest frequency of accidents.