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Car Insurance and Parking Lots

Car insurance and parking lots might not seem like a very closely related pair on the surface, but they are actually closely related in a lot of ways. We might think of parking lots as one of the safest places to drive because our speeds tend to be slower there, but in fact parking lots are actually one of the most common locations of auto accidents. One recent study estimates that about 20 percent of reported car accidents take place in parking lots [1]. There are a number of hazards present here, from pedestrians (some of them young children) to shopping carts to other vehicles. Having a mindset rooted in safety when you drive in a parking lot can help you avoid accidents and in turn, help keep your auto insurance rates low.

Reduce Risk of an Accident

With so many different factors working against basic safety when you drive in a parking lot, you have to do a lot as a driver to counteract the safety hazards present and keep yourself safe. A basic principle to guide you when you are in a parking lot is that you have to be able to expect the unexpected. You need to anticipate safety issues before they happen. To do this, you must pay complete attention and avoid distraction inside your car, so that you can put all of your focus on what's going on outside.

Reduce the risk of a car accident in a parking lot by paying close attention and driving with caution. The first step in getting this done is to be prepared for the task. When you are getting into your car, do everything you need to do to get ready for your drive before you put the car into gear. For example, make sure everyone in the car is completely buckled in. do not wait until you start driving to put on a seat belt. First of all, you may get into an accident, and we all know the dangers air bags can pose if drivers are not restrained when the air bags deploy. And second, having to work on a safety belt can pose a distraction from the task at hand. Make sure you are completely buckled in and comfortable before you depart.

This comfort includes your sight lines as well. If you need to run your defrost or clear your windows or mirrors of any snow, do so before you begin your drive home. This will usually only take a few minutes and it can actually save time on your drive if you can see where you are going, so you might even get the time investment back. But even if you don't, it is still time well spent, especially if children are on board with you in your vehicle.

Safely Exiting a Parking Lot

When you are ready to leave and the car is good to go, proceed with caution. This is a good time to mention some basics of parking the car when you first arrive at a store to make your exit safer. You should avoid high traffic areas, and park away from the cluster of cars and shopping cart corrals if at all possible. Make sure you park in an area of the parking lot where you can pull through, so you do not have to back out of your parking spot when you go to leave the lot. Do not park next to a large truck or SUV, so that you have better visibility when you are pulling out to leave. Many car accidents in parking lots take place when one car is backing out of a spot and another is driving through that lane. Avoid this situation by increasing your visibility and making sure it is safe before you proceed.

When you are leaving the parking lot, drive at a slow, controlled speed. Getting to the road will only take a moment longer, and you will be able to safely respond to any unexpected object or pedestrian that may appear in front of you on your way out. Make sure you are not text messaging or talking on the cell phone while you are driving. Also avoid adjusting your radio during this time. All these things can be done while you are parked in your spot and the vehicle is warming up. It is good for a car to have a few minutes to run before it has to start moving, and taking care of these preliminary items will leave you free to operate your car with every bit of your attention, greatly increasing your chance of getting out of the parking lot safely.

Driving Safety Affects Your Insurance

Most every driver is aware of the connection between driving safety and car insurance rates. But few of us really take that connection to heart when we are doing things as simple as driving our cars to the grocery store. We tend to think of auto insurance as something that's there for us when we get into crashes on the highway or the main drag in town. But it's just as important to have that protection in places like parking lots. And it's just as important to keep in mind the principles of safe driving when you are headed to and from the grocery store and places like that.

Again, we often tend to think of the risk of accidents being greater on longer trips. To an extent, this is true since the more miles you drive and the more cars you share the road with, the more opportunities you have for trouble. But in other ways, short trips are just as dangerous. Some studies indicate that the most likely place to get into an accident is close to home. You have to be aware of the dangers all around you and of your responsibility as a driver to always maintain a mindset of safety and concern for the avoidance of accidents behind the wheel.

When we are safe drivers, we are quite simply rewarded for our efforts. When you demonstrate a consistent record of safety behind the wheel and avoid scrapes as an insured driver, it shows up in your car insurance in the form of discounts and preferred driver packages. There is a lot to be gained financially over the course of your lifetime by making an honest and consistent effort to be safe when you drive. Obviously, this financial gain is in addition to the other more important benefit, which is just being safe and avoiding harm. Driver safety is of the utmost importance, and that importance is demonstrated in the way it affects your auto insurance premiums over time.

Car insurance and parking lots have a curious but undeniable connection to one another. When you take the time and effort to think cautiously and drive safely in a parking lot, you can see the fruits of your efforts in your auto insurance prices. Safety in and of itself ought to be our main goal as drivers. This is true everywhere you take your car. But the monetary value of safe driving might give motivation to try harder.

[1] http://ezinearticles.com/?Parking-Lots-Raising-Your-Car-Insurance-Rates?&id=3752890 Retrieved 2010-02-21.

 

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