It’s been a great day at the mall with your friends. You return to your vehicle, tired but happy, and that’s when you spot it — the hideous new dent in the side of your car door. What a way to ruin your day. How could this have happened?
Very easily, it turns out. The experts at superbumper.com state that 14 percent of all claims for auto damage involve parking lot collisions, and a study by the Marine Corps Police Department showed that a whopping 80 percent of all auto accidents occurring around the Marine Corps Logistics Base in Albany, GA took place in parking lots.
Don’t let it happen to you. The best way to avoid parking lot damage? Just park it smart! The Automobile Association of America (AAA) has some hints on how to do that:
1. Park Your Car in a Wide Enough Space
All parking spaces are NOT created equal. Surprisingly, there is no standard width for a parking space, and within the same lot, some can measure up to a foot wider than others. If the spot you’ve chosen feels too narrow, don’t fight it. Find another.
2. Don’t Park Your Car Between Larger Vehicles
Try not to park between two SUVs, minivans or trucks. Their size will impede your visibility and make it hard to back out of the spot.
3. Park Your Car Between Compact Cars
It’s better to park between compact cars. Their smaller width will leave more room for your own car.
4. Park Your Car Between New Cars
Alway try to park between new cars, if possible. The owner of a late model has an interest in preserving his car’s finish, and will take precautions when opening his doors and maneuvering. Less danger for your vehicle!
5. Don’t Park Your Car Between Two-Door Cars
Two-door cars may be all the rage, but don’t park between two of them. Their doors are much longer than those of a four-door sedan, and are far more likely to ding your vehicle when opened.
6. Pull Your Car Through to the Front of a 90-Degree Slot
If the parking spaces are painted at a 90-degree angle to the aisle, pull through to the other side if possible. This will allow you to exit forwards rather than backwards, giving you a greater degree of visibility.
7. DON’T Pull Your Car Through to the Front of an Angled Slot
If the parking spaces are painted diagonally, do NOT pull through to the other side. If you do, you’ll be forced to pull out forwards, right into oncoming traffic in the aisle.
8. Don’t Park Your Car Near the Cart Corral
Stay away from cart corrals! A cart on the loose can wreak havoc with your paint job.
9. Park Your Car in the Middle of the Space
Once you’ve found a good spot, center your car squarely in the middle. Take a few seconds to straighten it out, even if you’re in a hurry.
10. Never Park at the End of an Unprotected Row
This is very important. Unless there’s a concrete barrier at the end of the row, your car.will be a sitting duck, and any damage which might occur to it in this position will likely be far worse than a simple ding.
It may be impossible to avoid all parking lot damage to your car, but by following a few simple rules, you can up your car’s chances immeasurably. Good luck!