Useful Tips for Safe Parking
There’s always a lot of information out there online that is advising us on how to stay safe on the roads while we are driving. One of the things that seems to be missing, however, is good information on how to park more safely. In today’s blog, we’ll be sharing some all-important tips on safe parking.
1. Double Check that Everything is Closed and Locked
When you leave the car in the parking space, always do a quick check to make sure all doors and windows are locked. That should include the boot of your car because the pluckiest of criminals might find their way into the car via the boot on certain car models. The most modern cars with keyless entry, automatic locking and whatnot will likely take care of this, but always check your smartphone app to ensure that it is displaying the car is locked and secure.
2. Don’t Leave Valuables On Display
This advice has been around for a long time, but it rings as true today as it ever did. Criminals looking to break into cars will do so based largely on what they can see through the windows. It’s very rare for them to risk breaking windows and gaining access to cars illegally just to discover there’s nothing there. They’re surprisingly pragmatic in that sense.
Therefore, always be sure to place any and all valuables that you have to leave behind in the car in the boot ideally, but at least completely out of view and no evidence of their being in there remaining. It’s best, of course, to not leave any valuables in your car at all if you can avoid it.
3. Try to Avoid Parking in Under-Lit Areas
Car thieves and other criminals thrive on dark and dimly lit areas of a town or city to commit their crimes. Unless there are absolutely no other options open to you, it’s a good idea to always avoid parking in any area that is lacking in illumination.
Favour well-lit streets, multi-storey car parks, and other places that have adequate lighting. You should also consider coverage of CCTV cameras if possible as another form of “lighting.” Where there are cameras in operation that could capture any criminal activity on video, the likelihood of such crime is diminished — though not eliminated.
4. Do Not Hide a Spare Key Anywhere About Your Vehicle
Many of us like to think that we’re very clever, secreting a spare key somewhere on our vehicle just in case we manage to get ourselves locked out somehow. It might sound like an ingenious scheme, but one mind that you do not outfox with such schemes is the criminal mind.
Common ideas include hiding a spare key behind an alloy wheel spoke, or on top of a tyre, perhaps even in the exhaust pipe. Wherever you think you’re cleverly hiding it, car criminals have seen it all and know exactly where to look. Don’t fall into that trap, whatever else you do.
5. Don’t Get Ambitious with Compact Parking Spaces
When you’re parking your car, it’s very important that you don’t overestimate your own parking ability and get too ambitious with tricky spaces. This is especially true when attempting parallel parking (aka reverse parking). This is a common method people use to demonstrate their driving prowess, but even at times when you’re struggling to find a parking space, sometimes it’s just not worth the effort.
Automated parking systems on modern cars are making it easier than ever to get into any valid space. If the car has parking assist, and determines the space suitably large, it is irrelevant whether or not you could easily navigate the parking manoeuvre, because all you need likely do is work the pedals while the car steers itself.
In any event, if you drive a larger car and see a sign for compact parking spaces; if you see the only gap in the parked cars on the street is that one of questionable size up ahead, then think again.
6. Avoid Parking on Steep Inclines
Even if your car has a feature like hill start assist, parking on steep slopes can create difficulty, especially if there are other parked cars around you. Some people don’t get a choice in this matter because their home might be built on such a slope. This is true in many towns in the UK. If you can avoid it, however, you should.
The risk of accidentally rolling forwards or backwards depending on your direction is ever present and is cause for concern. It may not do the kind of damage you’d see in a full-on collision, but they can still do damage and end up ruining your insurance no-claims bonus. You’ll also feel more secure parking on flatter ground.
7. Keep Your Seat Belt On While Parking
Just as the airlines tell you to keep your seat belt fastened until the plane has come to a complete stop, so too should you keep your seat belt fastened while you’re parking the car, be you the driver or a passenger in the car. You might be travelling at a low speed, but there is still the risk of other people driving faster who could run into you, and that’s a good reason to keep your seat belt on.
8. Don’t Park Too Close to a Junction
Finally, you should not park opposite or within 10 metres of a junction. The first reason for this is that it is Rule 243 of the Highway Code, and you should be following those rules at all times. Parking in such a way, unless there’s a dedicated parking space there, can result in a penalty of £50-100 for causing an unnecessary obstruction.
Furthermore, it’s a bad idea to park close to junctions because of how some people drive into them. Some drivers turn into junctions very fast, and very close to the curb, almost like a racing driver. Depending on what buildings are obscuring the view, they may have no time to avoid your parked vehicle, so that’s another reason not to park too close to a junction.
Conclusion: Park Safe, Drive Safe
In the end, good and safe parking can be a kind of reflection of your overall standards of safety when it comes to driving. Hopefully the tips above will help you to park more safely, avoid unnecessary accidents and collisions, as well as deter the actions of criminals. Use your common sense and stay safe when parking your car.