7.7 million—that’s how many drivers AAA expects to rescue this summer due to cars breaking down on the road. Now, while 67% of the calls received by the auto services provider last year were from owners of vehicles that are at least a decade old, it doesn’t mean that drivers of newer cars are safe. In fact, the company expects to service more cars nine years old and below this year, with the number of calls from drivers of older vehicles set to drop 3%. The good news, however, is that no matter how old your car is, proper preventive maintenance should not only make it last longer, but, more importantly, keep you and other drivers safer on the road as well.
“It’s no surprise that older vehicles are more likely to encounter a serious breakdown, but it is surprising just how many people are at risk,” said John Nielsen, AAA’s managing director of Automotive Engineering and Repair. “All vehicles – even the newest ones – are prone to typical roadside headaches like dead batteries, flat tires and misplaced keys, but vehicles 10 years and older are four times more likely to encounter a problem serious enough to require a tow to a repair facility.”
The usual suspects
According to data released by AAA, the most common problems that drivers encounter, regardless of the vehicle’s age, are with the battery or electrical system, cooling system and tires. Now, while your car’s alternator may keep it running even when your battery fails, problems with your cooling system and tires could lead to serious problems on the road. This is because when your cooling system fails and your car heats up too much, it may suddenly shut off—which is the last thing you want while speeding down the highway. As for your tires, on the other hand, worn ones simply have a greater risk of blowing out, which could cause you to lose control on the road.
What you can do
At the very least, you should follow your manufacturer’s preventive maintenance schedule. You already spent money on acquiring your vehicle; what’s a couple more bucks to keep it in top condition for as long as possible, right? Doing so will not only save you a lot on repairs, but, again, also keep you and other drivers significantly safer on the road.
This, however, doesn’t mean that you should only take your car in for a check up when the schedule says so. As a general rule, you should make it a point to always scan your car for any problems before, during and after each trip. Should you find anything out of the ordinary—like liquids pooling under it, strange sounds or busted lights—it would be best to head to your mechanic as soon as possible.
Prevention is better than cure
When it comes to cars, small problems, when left unchecked, could easily lead to serious risks and massive costs down the line. This is why skimping on preventive maintenance is one of the worst things you could do as a car owner. At the end of the day, if you want to save money and stay safe on the road, keeping your vehicle in top condition at all times should be one of your top priorities.
Georgia Gov. Nathan Deal signed House Bill 673 into law May 2, telling his audience, “I know this legislation does not mend your broken hearts, but hopefully it will prevent the same kind of pain and tragedy being suffered by other families in the future.” In 2017 alone, more than 1,500 people died on Georgia highways from distracted driving-related collisions.
HB 673 prohibits individuals from using hand-held mobile devices while driving, which includes taking video or watching movies. The bill however does allow drivers to speak and text through phones, as long as it’s all hands-free.
The bill will go into effect July 1. At that point, it will be illegal to use a mobile device while behind the wheel, regardless of whether the vehicle is stopped. This includes browsing social media while stuck in traffic, using map/GPS features, taking photos, and texting. If ticketed for a distracted driving offense, first-time offenders would be fined $50, with fees increasing for repeat offenders.
Traffic crashes remain the No. 1 killer of teens – and summer is still the deadliest season for U.S. youth on the roads. In May, National Organizations for Youth Safety (NOYS) members, partners, and youth leaders from around the country observe Global Youth Traffic Safety Month. In honor of the kickoff of the campaign, Doug Herbert, Founder and Executive Director, B.R.A.K.E.S., explains why he’s become a huge proponent of the initiative.
Skills Are Important, but Mindset and Decision-Making Are the Secret Sauce of Survival
By Doug Herbert
On January 26, 2008, my sons, Jon and James, were killed in a car crash about a mile from my house. Speed and inexperience were a deadly combination, and I got the phone call that no parent ever wants to receive.
Everybody deals with grief differently, but for me, a big part of it was a powerful urge to do something to protect my sons’ friends – and their parents – from facing a similar fate. I visited with my boys’ classmates, and, together, we developed the foundation of the program that would eventually turn into a charity with the mission to prevent injuries and save lives by training teens and their parents to be safer drivers.
I still go to as many of the schools as I can to share our story as a way to get audiences engaged and ready to learn what we have to teach them. Because even though the bulk of the four hours that they’re with us is spent behind the wheel learning the skills to deal with the scenarios that cause the most crashes and fatalities (distraction, drop wheel/off-road recovery, car control/skid avoidance, panic braking, crash avoidance, etc.), I believe it’s their mindset going into that experience that allows the lessons to stick and future behavior to be changed for the better.
And I’m not alone in this perspective. Cognitive psychologists and public health experts agree that the increased risks related to teen driving result from a combination of inexperience (lack of skill) and immaturity (risk-taking behavior brought on by the inability to perceive the consequences of one’s actions). We’ve designed the B.R.A.K.E.S. curriculum to address both of those factors.
One part of the story that I often talk about in class is the trouble we all have standing up to peer pressure when it comes to risky behavior behind the wheel. Sometimes it’s a teen driver being egged on by their passengers – statistics show that just the presence of two or more additional teens in the car increases the likelihood of a crash by eight times, which is why graduated driver’s license laws are so important. Other times it’s a passenger not speaking up when the driver is putting them in an uncomfortable situation.
Either way, we need to make it okay for teens to stand up to what I think amounts to a form of bullying. At every class, I tell our teens and parents I wish my younger son, James, would have said to his brother, “Hey, Dude, I don’t like how you’re driving. Let me out of the car.” That would have been a good decision, and who knows how things might be different today if he’d done that. Maybe James would still be alive; maybe they’d both be.
Jon’s and James’ classmates came up with the acronym B.R.A.K.E.S., which stands for Be Responsible And Keep Everyone Safe. It’s clever and memorable, but I think it’s also very fitting that it doesn’t actually mention anything about controlling a skid or making an evasive maneuver to avoid an obstacle in the road or any of the other potentially lifesaving skills and techniques that we teach in our classes.
Right now, car crashes are still the number-one cause of death among teens, and statistics show that half of all young people will experience a crash before they graduate high school, so we know there’s still a lot of work to be done in the effort to cure the epidemic of teen driving fatalities. But I know we’re making a difference. It’s impossible to say for sure how many lives B.R.A.K.E.S. has saved over the last 10 years or how many trips to the hospital have been avoided thanks to our training, but even if it was only one, I think it would all be worth it…and I think Jon and James would agree.
When Michigan resident Brandon La Forest was hit by a distracted driver in 2010, doctors said it was unlikely he would survive. He had suffered what medics called the worst brain and head injury possible. Despite those odds, Brandon persevered, and, following many painful years of recovery, now campaigns against distracted driving. Here, Brandon shares his story with DriversEd.com as a warning to others.
Can you tell us what happened on that day?
“October 5, 2010, is just a date to me that I have no memory of, but it is a date that forever changed my life. According to a coworker who was traveling with me [at the time], I had stopped my car on the I-96 expressway in Lansing as there had been a collision. While we were stopped, a car came from behind and hit my vehicle at 80 miles per hour. My car was pushed forward into the next, and then another car hit me at 70 miles per hour. Finally, my vehicle was hit from behind again. The driver who initially hit me had been distracted by a text.”
What injuries did you sustain?
“Original reports had stated that I passed away at the scene, but a nurse who was in her car helped to revive me. I was revived three more times in the ambulance by paramedics. After I had arrived at the hospital, I underwent emergency brain surgery. When my mom got there, they told her I had one of the worst brain injuries someone could have, and they did not expect me to live through the night. If I did, they said, I would be a ‘vegetable.’
“I was placed on a ventilator and given a feeding tube, and a tracheotomy was performed. I was also battling critical injuries that included a broken back and neck; a damaged spleen that then was removed; and a collapsed lung; as well as stroke, seizures, neuropathy, shattered ribs, a blood clot in my leg, paralysis on my left side, and I had entered a coma.
“When people sustain brain injuries, hospitals assess an individual using the Glasgow Coma Scale, which is based on best eye response, best verbal response, and best motor response. The lowest score is 3 and the highest is 15. I was given a 3. I had no eye opening, no verbal response, and no motor response. Research shows that 87% of people with a best score of 3 or 4 after 24 hours will die or be in a vegetable state. Only 7% will recover with a moderate disability.”
Can you give us some insight into your journey through recovery?
“I remained in a coma for over a month…. In the end, I beat the odds, regaining consciousness and later upgrading to a brain injury recovery center called Special Tree in Romulus, MI.
“For almost seven months I lived at Special Tree and relearned the basics of life, from dressing and bathing to walking and talking. I also had daily therapy sessions including physical, speech, occupational, massage, therapeutic, and pool therapy. I also had counselling to talk about emotions I was experiencing, like depression, anxiety, and frustration. Most people who spend time at Special Tree never get the opportunity to leave. I was among the 1% who were able to leave, and on April 12, 2011, I was discharged—it was so rare that employees came in on their day off to wish me luck. “
How do your injuries affect you day-to-day?
“I suffer from short-term memory issues, hearing loss, daily constant pain, balance issues, depression and anxiety, vision problems, spelling deficits, sleep apnea, and urinary and bowel incontinence due to my brain not being able to communicate with my body.”
When did you start campaigning against texting and driving?
“Once I was released from Special Tree I told my Mom and sister that we had to start a campaign or organization that would go to high schools and share my story. At the same time, I wanted it to be a motivational speech for kids who are also going through a tough time with a deficit or a medical condition. In 2011 we created Heads Up Phones Down.”
What does “Heads Up Phones Down” do?
“On the website we publish any of my newspaper articles [I was featured in] and sell t-shirts and wristbands. The purpose of the merchandise is not to make money, but to help raise funds for our ‘Who We Help’ campaign. The campaign helps people who are going through a difficult time and may need some type of financial assistance to apply for help. So many people helped me in my recovery that I wanted to keep paying it forward to others in need!”
What happened to the driver that hit you?
“The driver who hit me was originally charged with attempted manslaughter but pleaded guilty to lesser charges and received a fine of $583.”
More on Distracted Driving Awareness Month 2018:
- “This April, Commit to Just Driving. Say ‘No’ to Distracted Driving.”
- Learn how many distracted driving collisions and fatalities happened this month on IDriveSafely.com
- Find more statistics on distracted driving in “Distracted Drivers Are Lethal: Texting and Driving.”
As the 19th century segued into the 20th, so did the primary mode of transportation. For centuries people relied on horses to get around, but the development of the internal combustion engine in the 1900s altered that. Vehicles were taking over, and U.S. presidents had to acclimate to automobile travel. But it’s interesting to see that for some, it ended up becoming more of a passion.
McKinley Serves as First
The first president to actually ride in an automobile was William McKinley, but he wasn’t yet in office. In 1901, McKinley was assassinated, and his Vice President, Theodore Roosevelt succeeded him. Roosevelt was the first President to ride in a motor vehicle while in office, which he did in August, 1902, when embarking on a New England tour, and also the first president to own a car. William Howard Taft, who followed Roosevelt into the presidency, was the chief executive responsible for changing White House transportation from carriages to automobiles. The first official presidential White House vehicle didn’t run on gasoline. It was steam-powered, a White Model M touring car. Several First Ladies took advantage of another Taft purchase, an electric Baker Victoria.
FDR Behind the Wheel
Franklin Delano Roosevelt’s bout with polio left him unable to move the lower part of his body. That didn’t stop him from driving, which prior to his disability had been one of his great passions. A 1936 Ford Phaeton was modified for driving with hand controls, and FDR enjoyed driving this car around his Hyde Park, NY, estate. Less is known about another modified vehicle, a 1931 Plymouth PA Phaeton that Roosevelt kept in Georgia, where the president regularly visited the therapeutic waters for rehabilitation. As president, FDR’s official cars consisted primarily of Lincolns and Packards, but he arrived at Congress in December, 1941, to give his immortal “Day of Infamy” speech after the attack on Pearl Harbor in Al Capone’s former vehicle, a 1928 Cadillac 341A Town Sedan.
JFK and the Thunderbirds
Unfortunately, the vehicle most associated with John F. Kennedy is the one in which he was assassinated, a Lincoln Continental four-door convertible. In life, JFK was a true car aficionado. He loved his 1961 white Ford Thunderbird convertible, the epitome of cool, which included a swing-away steering wheel. This wheel allowed the driver to get in and out of the car easily, an especially attractive option for someone with a back as bad as Kennedy’s. In addition, Kennedy owned a 1963 Ford Thunderbird hardtop, featuring an alternator instead of a generator.
Car Guys as Presidents
Some presidents viewed automobiles as simply transportation, while others were true “car guys.” Among the latter was Lyndon B. Johnson, who owned an Amphicar, a vehicle that doubles as a boat, and kept it as his Texas ranch. Johnson loved to shock passengers by aiming the vehicle at a lake and shouting that the brakes wouldn’t work. Another personal LBJ vehicle: a Lincoln Continental convertible.
Ronald Reagan may not seem like a Subaru guy, but his California ranch was home to a 1978 Subaru Brat. He obtained the car after finding out Subaru was having a nearly impossible time in tests trying to destroy this incredibly sturdy vehicle. While Reagan drove a 1952 U.S. Army surplus Jeep while at the ranch for photo op purposes, it was the Brat that he tooled around in when the photographers weren’t in attendance.
Bill Clinton’s pride and joy was his ice blue 1967 Ford Mustang. He’s in good company – this is the most collected model of all Mustangs.
Even the smallest driving mistake can trigger a road rage reaction in the drivers directly impacted by your error. The lack of face to face interaction on the road virtually eliminates the allowance that would normally be given after someone makes a simple mistake. The resulting angry, irrational reaction becomes a dangerous problem when aggressive drivers act on their impulses. With aggressive driving accounting for 56% of all traffic fatalities, it is definitely in your best interest to act in a calm, rational manner to safely remove yourself from any road rage situation that may occur.
Here’s how to proceed if you ever become a target of road rage.
1. Signal, Move to the Right, and Decrease Your Speed
Two wrongs never make a right, but that is exactly how aggressive drivers approach errors in traffic situations. If you cut someone off on accident, for example, an aggressive driver might respond in kind in addition to honking excessively, swearing and slamming on his or her brakes.
When this happens, you can try to right your error by signaling, moving to the right and decreasing your speed. By moving out of the way, you are communicating that you did not mean to make an error and wish to remove yourself from the situation altogether. No matter what the other driver does or says, you should never stop and engage with that individual, as that action could result in injuries to you, your passengers and other people on the road.
2. Apologetically Wave and Nod at the Aggressive Driver
Once you get to the right, the aggressive driver may attempt to pass and cut you off. Give an apologetic wave and nod to attempt to temper their anger and further communicate your regret. Much like it is used to say thank you, a quick wave is a courtesy that goes a long way in apologizing to the other driver for your mistake. Avoid a thumbs-up or any other gesture that could be misunderstood as a rude, spiteful or aggressive action.
3. Avoid Eye Contact and Drive Defensively
Eye contact can be perceived as an aggressive reaction on your part, so always keep your eyes firmly on the road ahead. Situate both hands on the wheel in a ten and two configuration to prepare for the need for sudden maneuvers. Remain equally ready to brake gently, yet swiftly, in case of rapid braking maneuvers from the other driver.
Reduce your speed slightly to help add extra distance between your vehicle and the angry driver’s. The more room you put between yourself and the road rage prone driver, the better. You really cannot have too much room while driving defensively anyway, as the extra space gives you ample time to react and adjust your speed, accordingly.
As explained by Steve Staveley, Lead Instructor at Fast Lane Racing School, “Use the 1 second per 10 MPH, or a car length per 10 MPH” rule to keep your car at a safe distance from other vehicles. “Your goal is to get to your location safely. Give the other guys space, so you have space,” states Staveley.
4. Do What You Can to Temper Your Own Reactions
Your own reactions to road rage can play a role in either escalating or diffusing the situation.
“Be patient and don’t engage in the same activity as the aggressive driver,” said Lieutenant DeBock of the Duvall Police Department in Duvall, WA. “The safety of you and your passengers is most important. Nothing is worth your lives.”
To make safety your top priority, you must actively temper your own reactions as the road rage situation occurs to keep from doing anything to escalate the aggressive response. You can listen to calming music, countdown from 100 or practice deep breathing to settle your emotions and respond in a calm, rational manner.
Have You Witnessed a Road Rage Incident?
If you are ever a victim of road rage, or witness an incident between other drivers, use your hands-free, voice-activated phone to call 911 and report the incident. Provide as much information as you can to the dispatcher to receive assistance from a police officer.
If you are already safe, you should still report the incident to help prevent your fellow drivers from becoming a victim of road rage as well. In addition, the aggressive driver may receive much-needed defensive driver training or other interventions as a result of your report.
As a driver, you’ve likely run into – figuratively speaking, we hope – road rage. Perhaps you’ve even been a road rage victim, yourself. Unfortunately, road rage or aggressive driving are exceptionally common, and we might even have driven aggressively, ourselves. Here are seven shocking road rage statistics you may never have heard.
1. 53% Consider Speeding Normal
Especially at rush hour, over half of all drivers consider driving 10 mph over the speed limit to be perfectly normal. For the other 47%, this is seen as aggressive behavior, which can raise the ire of even calm drivers. Speeding and other aggressive driving maneuvers also significantly increase the chances and severity of car crashes.
2. 94% of Collisions are Due to Human Error
The National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) estimates over 94% of car crashes are caused by human error. About a third of these can be linked to road rage causes or road rage itself, such as speeding, changing lanes without signaling, tailgating, illegal maneuvers.
3. 50% Become Aggressors
Being the victim of such bad driving habits or driver errors, angered or anxious drivers might themselves respond in kind. Half of drivers admit to resorting to horn-honking, light-flashing, rude gestures, shouting, and aggressive driving after another driver has done it to them.
4. 2% Admit Revenge
Sometimes, such aggression takes a step further, including tailgating, short-braking, even bumping, and about 2% of drivers admit to attempting to run another aggressive driver off the road!
5. 37% Involve Firearms
As if this weren’t scary enough, over two-thirds of road rage incidents involve at least one firearm, which can significantly raise the danger level, not only for the drivers involved, but other drivers and pedestrians in the area.
6. 66% of Traffic Fatalities
Every year, around 30,000 people die in car crashes, in spite of safer vehicles and traffic laws designed to protect drivers, passengers, and pedestrians alike. As it turns out, no safety system in the world can protect you from an aggressive driver, possibly linked to two-thirds of all traffic fatalities.
7. 30 Murders per Year
Every year, about 30 murders are linked to road rage. This is the sad disastrous result of rage-fueled car crashes, the use of firearms to solve traffic disputes, even bringing the violence right into people’s homes.
Read more from DriversEd.com, I Drive Safely & eDriving:
- “As Road Rage Incidents Increase, Florida Drivers are Cautioned to Let It Go,” on IDriveSafely.com
- Visit our Distracted Driving Information Center
- “Avoid Encountering—or Becoming!—a Road-Rager,” on DriversEd.com
Potholes can cause a lot of damage to your car, from causing a flat tire and damage to your rims or hubcaps—including losing them—to more expensive damage such as breaking your wheel’s axle and altering your car’s suspension.
Usually, we encounter potholes on city streets or on highways, especially if we live in cities and states that have long winters. Road conditions can worsen due to the use of salt to melt and clear snow. But that same salt can also erode roadways.
Or, if there are unusually long rainy seasons, rainwater that sits on roadways can cause roadway deterioration. Several potholes to pop up and grow in diameter and depth.
So if our cars sustain damage after encountering a pothole, the first question that usually goes through our minds is who is financially responsible for repairs.
Car insurance may cover most of the costs, but if the pothole is on a public road, then filing a claim with the city, state, or federal agency responsible for maintaining the road may also be an option for reimbursement.
Tamra Johnson, Spokesperson and PR Manager, AAA National, said that although AAA doesn’t actively track this issue, there’s some information on how specific states handle potholes and potential liability.
“Some states (Ohio, Virginia) specifically mention potholes, while others have a process for tort claims that could conceivably cover public road conditions (DC, Hawaii, Maryland),” she says. “Other states (Pennsylvania) are apparently prohibited from pothole reimbursement. We also found that Massachusetts has language making them liable for injuries to individuals under certain circumstances.“
Although reimbursement for pothole damage varies from state to state, and from town to town, you should expect that the claims process will be a challenging one. Filing a claim with your city andor state will come with a lot of push-back and resistance. As with any car crash, to get the best results from filing a claim, you’ll want to take many photos of the resulting damage, as well as keep track of estimates and repair costs.
You may have to take your city or state to court to receive payment, and even then, you won’t be guaranteed a favorable judgment. And even if you do receive one, you most likely will not get all of your damages covered. Additionally, even if you are awarded payment, it may take some time to receive it.
Where a pothole occurs can also serve as a bureaucratic headache, such as a pothole near a railroad. A railroad can be owned and maintained by a government entity or privately owned. Either way, government entities must also need to maintain safe roadways. So who would be liable if you have a rough crossing due to a pothole near a railroad? You can expect that it will take time to determine who is at fault.
After the final score is announced, the band plays its last encore, or the closing credits fade to black, the parking lot will suddenly be abuzz with hundreds, perhaps thousands, of fans trying to escape the parking lot and get back home. Unfortunately, whatever camaraderie the fans had inside may quickly evaporate as hundreds of vehicles instantly clog parking lot traffic lanes and surrounding areas. Teen drivers and new drivers, already inexperienced and anxious, often get caught up and panic in the moment, leading to car crashes, or even worse, injuries.
Here are six tactics that can reduce your stress levels as you exit large festival parking areas.
1. Scout the Parking Situation on Google Maps before You Head Out
Checking Google Maps and Street View before you depart will give you a better idea of the parking situation where you’re going, which is even more beneficial if you’re heading to a new part of town.
2. Leave Early or Late
You might be a die-hard fan, but if you’ve got work or classes the next day, prudence dictates that you get out as soon as possible, unfortunately, impatience will likely slow down your parking lot escape. Instead, consider leaving early, before the main exit rush. Another idea might be to simply take a nap in your car while you wait for traffic to thin out.
3. Back Into Your Parking Spot
While about 76% of U.S. drivers most frequently park their vehicle by simply pulling forward into a spot, it’s a riskier practice that leaves pedestrians vulnerable when the driver later reverses from the spot to exit the lot. You might have a rear-view camera on your vehicle – which is great – but research has found that significant vehicle alert system limitations exist when a car is parked between larger vehicles, such as SUVs or minivans, and is trying to reverse out of a spot. In fact, the technology failed to detect pedestrians 60 percent of the time.
4. Focus on a Quick Exit, Not a Close Spot
If possible, park as close to the parking lot exit as you can. Here are four reasons why:
- There will be less pedestrian and vehicle traffic, making it easier to back out
- There will be less of a threat of unwanted door dings from nearby cars
- There will be more room for you and your passengers to exit the vehicle
- Walking’s good for you!
5. Be Patient
If you’re waiting in parking lot traffic, recognize that everyone else is waiting, too! This is a fact, and there is no way to escape it. Calm down, bask in the glow of the brake lights, turn on some music, or talk with your friends – you did carpool, didn’t you?
6. Take Public Transportation
Many parking lots are serviced by public transportation, such as bus, subway, or train. Instead of battling it out with hundreds of other cars, taking public transportation, even to an off-site parking lot, can significantly reduce the stress of getting out of the venue. Public transportation is also better for the environment.
Take some time to get to know the area, particularly the parking lots and the exits, so you can plan your escape accordingly. Similarly, if possible, pick seats that are closer to the exits to gain an added time advantage. In the end, though, your best bet is to leave early and exercise extreme patience.
What can be even more stressful than navigating a busy roadway? Parking in a crowded lot! No matter how long you’ve been driving, be it months or decades, here’s a quick parking lot etiquette course: It takes just three minutes to learn, but graduation might take a little longer!
1. Respect Parking Lot Markings
Ignoring even the most basic driving rules in parking lots, like following traffic flow arrows or using parking spaces as traffic lanes, can lead to confusion, crashes, and injuries for both you and other pedestrians around you. Unprotected pedestrians moving to and from their vehicles are particularly in danger should drivers ignore such restrictions. In 2014, 244 unprotected pedestrian workers were killed in parking lots because of vehicle crashes, according to the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics.
To create a safe environment for all parties involved, respect all markings, traffic signs, and traffic arrows when in a parking lot. When driving around in a parking lot, don’t use open parking spaces to slip over into another lane – crashes or injuries could result.
2. Park Straight and Center
Whether in haste or in pride, drivers parking crooked in a space, over the marked lines, or across two parking spaces, show a particular lack of respect for their fellow drivers. Parking crooked makes it difficult for others to get into adjacent spaces. Parking too close to the lines will likely lead to frustration and door dings. Parking across spaces might protect your car from door dings, but does nothing to endear you to other drivers.
When entering a parking space, whether pulling in or backing in, take your time to park as straight as possible and in the center of the space. Park in a space appropriate for your vehicle – no trucks in compact-car spaces – and leave room for drivers to get into their trunks. This makes it easier for other drivers to get into adjacent spaces and reduces door ding chances. If you’re concerned someone might ding your new car, park farther away – everyone can benefit from a walk!
3. Be Patient
Drivers can often find themselves in high-stress situations when parking, whether it’s due to loud passengers causing distractions or battling heavy parking traffic during an event or the holiday season. Last nerves can fray and tempers can flare, leading to irrational decision making and potential harmful situations. If you’re traveling to a destination where you think you might have even the littlest bit of difficulty parking (too few spaces, parallel-only options), leave a few minutes early to give yourself extra time, should you need it.
If available parking spaces are few, drive slowly, while adhering to traffic flow arrows, until you find one. Claim a parking spot by stopping, leaving enough room for the vehicle to exit its spot, and turn on your turn signal to indicate your intentions. Respect when others do the same, but don’t insist on your rights when someone ignores it. Then, patiently, move into the parking spot.
If large, busy parking lots seem too overwhelming to you, practice, practice, practice. Head over to an unoccupied lot with a parent or adult driver as your passenger to build up your parking confidence, speed, and accuracy.
Because traffic law isn’t enforced in private parking lots, if there’s anything to be taken away from these points, it’s to let consideration and patience be the law. If complacency and overconfidence make highways dangerous, maybe it’s inexperience and impatience that make parking lots so dangerous, not only for teen drivers, but drivers of any experience. A little balance is all that we need, though, and a little balance in parking lots and life might do everyone some good!