Tuesday, October 20, 2009
Safe Parking Tips
Some road rage incidents don't occur on a roadway. You are just as likely to encounter an aggressive driver while parking your vehicle, especially in suburban parking lots. Parking lot confrontations can result in violence.
You can take some basic steps to avoid involvement in an aggressive parking lot incident:
Observe common courtesy. Consciously avoid actions that may provoke other drivers.
Take measures to reduce your own stress so that you are less likely to feel aggressive yourself.
Keep your emotions in check and think about the consequences of your behavior before you react.
Use common courtesy:
Allow pedestrians to cross in front of your vehicle. Pedestrians always have the right of way in a parking lot. Watch for small children.
Always use your turn signals, even when driving very slowly.
Make sure your car takes up only one parking space.
Use parking spaces reserved for the disabled only if you are disabled yourself.
Respect drop-off zones and no-standing areas; parking in them will increase general inconvenience.
Take care when opening your door to avoid bumping the car next to you.
When parallel parking, judge your position visually (avoid tapping the vehicles in front or in back of yours).
Always look carefully before backing out of a parking space. Whenever possible, choose "pull-through" parking spots (that is, where two rows of cars are parked facing each other nose to nose, look for two connected spots so that you can drive into the further one, ending up facing the direction you will drive away in) so that you don't have to back out.
Be sure you know how to turn off the anti-theft alarm on any vehicle you are driving. If you are purchasing an alarm, buy one that turns off automatically after a short time.
Avoid behaviors likely to provoke aggression:
Stealing a parking space -- Although this behavior was treated as humorous on a recent television advertisement for the Kia Sportage, it is dangerous and may provoke aggressive reactions.
Gestures -- Obscene or offensive gestures irritate other drivers. Be aware that any gesture may be misinterpreted by another driver.
Car phones -- A car phone can easily become a distraction. Car-phone users are perceived as being poor drivers and presenting a traffic hazard. Data shows that aggressive drivers are particularly irritated by fender-benders with motorists who were talking on the phone.
Eye contact -- If a motorist tries to pick a fight, avoid eye contact. Get out of the way without acknowledging the other motorist. If the driver follows you, do not go home. Go to a police station or location where you can get help and there will be witnesses.