With drivers battling restricted visibility as they back out of tight spaces and dozens of people trying to navigate narrow routes, parking lots can be tricky places to drive. While most parking lot accidents don’t result in serious injury, they can cause significant damage to vehicles and result in costly insurance claims.
As you know, to continue enjoying the lowest possible rates on auto insurance in Calgary, it’s important to remain claim-free. Understanding how the rules of the road change when you’re in a parking lot is an essential first step to reducing your risk of being in an accident.
Auto Insurance Calgary: Determining Fault in Parking Lot Accidents
By looking at the principles used to determine fault in parking lot accidents, you can learn a great deal about how you should and should not drive when you’re in a parkade or outdoor lot. In addition to reducing your speed and yielding to pedestrians, be sure to follow these tips every time you’re driving in a parking lot:
- Understand right of way. Here, you need to understand the difference between a “thoroughfare” and a “feeder lane.” A thoroughfare is any route in a parking lot that exits directly onto a street, while feeder lanes do not connect to external roads. Always remember that drivers in thoroughfares have the right of way over drivers in feeder lanes.
- Yield when leaving parking spots. Many parking lot accidents occur when a driver backs out of a parking spot and hits or is hit by another car. To avoid this, remember that you must always yield to oncoming traffic when you are backing out of a parking spot. Cars that are already in feeder lanes and thoroughfares have right of way over vehicles backing out of parking spaces.
- Watch for parked cars. If you are driving in a parking lot and you hit a parked car, you are automatically at fault regardless of the circumstances surrounding the collision.
- Follow all posted signs. Even though you are on private property, you must still adhere to all posted signage, regardless of whether it is consistent with regular rules of the road or not. While many parking lots do not have posted speed limits, it is recommended that you drive no faster than 15 km/h.
- Be careful when opening your door. If you open your door and another vehicle (while moving) hits it, you are at fault. You must always check to make sure the way is clear before you open your car door. However, if you are parked and open your door, which then strikes hard enough to mar or cause damage to another vehicle beside you, then you will be liable for the damage.
Finally, be sure to signal all your turns and make good use of your mirrors. Remain vigilant and be mindful of pedestrian traffic, particularly if you’re driving close to a sidewalk or building entryway.
If you get in an accident in a parking lot, here is what you should do:
- Move out of the path of oncoming traffic if you are able to do so
- Check to make sure nobody in your car is hurt
- Write down exactly what happened leading up to the accident
- Report damage estimated at $1,000 or more to police
- Get the other driver’s name, license plate number, vehicle make and model, insurance company, and insurance policy number
- Contact your insurance company and report the situation, unless damage is minor and you plan to pay for it out-of-pocket
Auto Insurance Calgary: Be Extra Careful in Parkades
Driving in parkades requires additional safety precautions. Be sure to follow these important additional precautions:
- Turn on your headlights when you enter the parkade, regardless of the time of day
- Yield to vehicles backing out of spots; the driver’s visibility is significantly reduced, and while you may legitimately have the right of way, it’s considered good etiquette to let the parked car back out
- Lock your vehicle and avoid leaving valuables in plain sight
- Always be vigilant of your surroundings when walking in a parkade, especially at night
As well, since parkades can be targets for thieves, always pay extra attention and lock up your belongings and pay attention to your surrounds.
Auto Insurance Calgary: Questions or Concerns about Car Insurance?
Lane’s Insurance is a leading provider of affordable personal and commercial insurance products. In addition to attentive customer service and preferred rates on comprehensive policies, we also offer money-saving insurance bundles to clients who choose to consolidate their various insurance needs with us.