Not all accidents happen while drivers are on the road.
In fact, about one in five of all fleet accidents happen in a parking lot, as do 14% of accidents that result in damage. While parking lot collisions between vehicles are seldom dangerous, minor dents and dings still represent money spent and time lost.
Most parking lot accidents are easily preventable if drivers simply pay attention to their surroundings. For example, before backing up, a driver can get out of the vehicle and take a good look around. If a family with small children is approaching, it might be better to wait, since children might not be visible in mirrors. Beeping the horn a few times before getting going is a good idea, too.
Other parking lot safety tips include choosing parking spaces a little farther away, where the lot is less congested, and opening the windows so as to be able to hear approaching people or vehicles. Whenever possible, a driver should pull forward into the parking space ahead so as to be able to exit without backing up at all. Straight, rather than angled, spaces are easier to enter and exit.
Drivers need to be aware of exactly where their vehicle’s blind spots are and must take the time to check them. If necessary, use a spotter. Being aware of the weather is important, too, because wind can blow an open door right into another vehicle.
More and more vehicles now have rear-view cameras. Fleet vehicles that do not come with cameras can always have them installed, especially in the case of larger trucks that have big blind spots. These cameras do a great job of increasing vehicle safety, but fleets should train drivers not to rely on the cameras alone. Cameras can fail, and even a perfectly functioning camera might not show the driver all possible obstacles. The technology works best as a supplement of traditional good driving practices.
Safety analytics software is a great way to teach and enforce proactive driving practices, such as obeying posted speed limits and stop signs. While telematics obviously cannot record a driver’s attention level directly, it can record enough measures to spot which drivers need further safety training or other intervention. If safety is an important part of overall company culture, drivers will be more receptive to reminders to pay attention in parking lots.
Finally, not all parking lot safety involves moving vehicles. Drivers of fleet vehicles sometimes neglect basic security, like locking doors and parking in populated, well-lit areas wherever possible. It is important for drivers to maintain good security practices at all times, both for the sake of their vehicles and for their own safety.