5 Parking Lot Safety Tips

Posted on December 14, 2016

An almost empty parking lot at night.

Parking lots are one of the most underestimated safety hazards for both pedestrians and vehicles. Whenever vehicles have to share space with people who are on foot, it calls for some special precautions. Here are some tips to help stay safe in any parking lot.

1. Choose your spot wisely.

Park in well-lit areas, and avoid parking between tall trucks, SUVs or vans, where it might be hard to back out safely and where muggers might hide. Keep your focus on your surroundings, not exclusively on finding a spot — watch for other drivers and pedestrians.

2. Secure your vehicle.

This may seem obvious. But surprisingly, the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) notes that 40–50% of vehicle thefts happen because of things like drivers leaving vehicle doors unlocked and leaving the keys in the ignition or on the seats. Keep your vehicle safe with these precautions:

  • Make sure all the doors are locked and windows are rolled completely up.
  • Place valuable items, such as any electronics, packages or holiday gifts you’ve bought, in the trunk or out of sight.
  • Hide any items displaying personal information, including work, school items or papers.
  • Always take your key with you.
  • Never leave the area while your vehicle is running.
  • While your vehicle is parked, you can have peace of mind knowing OnStar is on alert. Once you lock your doors, if your car alarm sounds, with Theft Alarm Notification you can receive a text, email and/or phone call — your choice.1 If your vehicle is stolen, report it to the police, then contact an OnStar Advisor. Stolen Vehicle Assistance2 can use GPS to pinpoint your vehicle for the authorities, and on many models, an Advisor can send a signal to slow the vehicle or prevent it from restarting.

3. Be aware of your surroundings.

Keep an eye out walking to and from your parked car. The National Safety Commission recommends that you:

  • Have your keys out and ready.
  • Look around and inside your vehicle before getting inside, and use caution if anyone nearby looks suspicious.
  • Once you are in the car, don’t linger. Lock your doors and drive away.

In addition to watching out for suspicious people, be aware that many accidents happen in parking lots. Use walkways and crosswalks whenever you can. If you have to walk in the traffic lanes, be alert for cues that a vehicle might be ready to pull out — such as reverse lights and exhaust. Close to half of all pedestrians struck by vehicles are hit in parking lots. Once your vehicle is in motion, drive carefully. According to the Insurance Institute for Highway Safety, about 14% of all vehicle collisions that result in damage happen in parking lots.

4. Use OnStar to stay safe.

If you’re nervous about your safety in a deserted parking lot, simply call OnStar at 1.888.4ONSTAR. An Advisor can stay on the phone with you to be sure you have reached your vehicle safely. OnStar Advisors are thoroughly trained in the most current emergency dispatch medical procedures, and if you are ever in an emergency, your Advisor can let you know exactly what to do or get you the right help whenever you need it.

5. Put your vehicle’s mobile app to work.

Your vehicle’s mobile app3 can make parking easier in a number of ways:

  • Need help finding a parking spot? Use your vehicle’s mobile app to seamlessly access parking locations. OnStar AtYourService™4 may even be able to provide a valuable offer to save you money on parking.
  • Worried about your meter expiring? You can use your myChevrolet, myBuick, myGMC or myCadillac mobile app to note your parking location and set a timer to alert you when your meter is expiring.
  • Got that nagging feeling you didn’t lock your car? Use your vehicle mobile app to lock your doors remotely or to help unlock your vehicle when you forget your keys inside.5

If you haven’t downloaded your vehicle’s mobile app yet, download it now.