Parking is an essential part of driving. No matter where you live, whether in the suburbs, in the city, or in a rural area, you must know how to park. Parking safely on the street is just as important as any other driving task.
Even though parking seems like a trivial task, doing so safely is often taken for granted. In fact, parking is difficult for many people:
- Over 40 percent of all car accidents occur during parking, according to a study by Mercedes-Benz Daimler.
- A report by INRIX found that almost two-thirds of American drivers feel stressed while looking for a parking spot. In the same report, over 60 percent of American drivers admit to having avoid places like malls or airports because of parking challenges.
There is a lot to think about when parking in the street, particularly if you want to minimize the risks it brings, such as someone hitting your car. Here are the best ways to park safely on the street:
- Check for enough space: Make sure the space that you are looking to park has enough room for your own car. A common mistake for drivers is trying to park in a spot that is way too cramped, leaving them not enough room to maneuver. Also, other cars may hit your vehicle when they are trying to maneuver.
- Park with traffic: It is illegal to park on the wrong side of the street, so be sure to park in the direction that traffic is going. Do not double park either, it will block the person closest to the curb from moving, and it is also illegal.
- Park close and good lighting: Try to park closest to the location you are going to, as you could check on your car to make sure it is safe. Park close to a streetlight or well-lit area at night if possible. Parking in these areas helps lower the risk of an accident as well as theft.
- Parallel park: Parallel parking is difficult for some people, so pull into a spot if it is possible. Still, especially in busy, city areas, you may be forced to parallel park. Pull up parallel to the car you will park behind, put the vehicle in reverse, and back safely into the spot. Cut the wheel as you are backing up to get to the curb as close as you can and then straighten out, leaving enough room for the car in front of you and behind you to get out without tapping your vehicle’s bumper.
- On a hill: When parking on a hill, you want to cut your front wheels in a way that prevents the vehicle from rolling, either forward or backward. If you are parking uphill, turn your wheels away from the curb and vice versa when parking downhill. Be sure to have your car running so you can use the vehicle’s power-steering, and make sure you put your emergency brake on as well. If there is no curb, turn your wheels to the right. Be careful when getting out of the car. When on a hill, drivers may have a limited view of what is front of them.
- Valuables: Wherever you park, it is always a good idea to never have valuables out in plain sight. Having valuables clearly in sight for thieves to see is one of the top causes of vehicle break-ins, so either put them in the trunk or bring your valuables with you.
- Car alarms and locks: Always make sure you set your car alarm if your car is equipped with it, and be sure your doors are locked and windows are closed.
What Should I Look Out for While Parking on the Street?
When parking on the street, you will see many signs around directing you, and some of them can be confusing. Here are a few street signs to look out for when trying to park:
- No Parking sign: Park in a spot that has a No Parking sign will likely lead to either a ticket or your car getting towed, which is expensive as well.
- Tow-Away Zone sign: Just like a No Parking sign, parking where there is a Tow-Away Zone sign will likely lead to exactly what the sign says, a tow away. Some tow-away zones are permanent, while others can be temporary.
- Yellow curbs: Yellow curbs generally mean no parking and are usually found near the end of a street.
- Fire hydrants: It is illegal to park next to a fire hydrant, as doing so prevents a fire truck from using it if necessary.
- Parking zones: Some parking spots have time limits, such as 30-minute limits or two-hour limits. Others only offer parking at certain times or on certain days.
- Handicap: You cannot park at a handicap spot unless you have a handicap placard.
- Loading zones: Loading zones are normally for commercial trucks or commercial property and could lead to a tow if you park there.
What if My Car Gets Damaged?
It is not just other cars that can cause damage:
- Theft: Your vehicle and belongings are at risk for theft no matter where you park. Parking on the street increases the risk, especially if you have belongings or valuables sitting out in the open. Be sure to keep these items out of sight.
- Vandalism: Unfortunately, parking on the street also increases the risk of vandalism. Any person can key your door or break a window.
- Natural damage: Parking on the street, as opposed to a garage, exposes your vehicle to natural elements. If you park under a tree, there is the potential of tree branches falling on your car or tree sap getting stuck on your paint. Threats like hail or flooding can easily damage the exterior of your vehicle.
If someone has vandalized your car, you should call your insurance company right away. It should be covered under the comprehensive coverage part of your policy. You likely will have to pay a deductible, and your rate may increase as well.
If your parked vehicle has been hit by another car, there are certain steps you need to take. First, you should treat it as if it were any other type of accident:
- Do not leave the scene or move your car anywhere.
- Call 911 and report the accident.
- Find any witnesses if possible, particularly if the person who hit your car did not leave a note.
- Take photos and videos of the scene, especially where the vehicle was hit.
- Get a copy of the police report, and contact your insurance company to file a claim.
If you do know who hit your car and you got their insurance information, then you should contact them right away. The other person should have already contacted their insurance company to start a claim.
If you cannot find the person who hit your car, you would have to contact your insurance company. It should be covered under your collision coverage that is part of your policy.
If you were sitting in the car at the time of the accident, you may want to contact a lawyer if you have serious injuries. Even a slow-moving accident can cause severe injuries, and you may have legal options.
Delaware Car Accident Lawyers at McCann Dillon Jaffe & Lamb, LLC Help Those Injured in Parking-Related Accidents
Many parking-related accidents happen on the street, and some of them can be severe. If you have been injured in a parking-related accident, then you may be entitled to compensation. Contact one of our Delaware car accident lawyers at McCann Dillon Jaffe & Lamb, LLC today. Call us at 302-888-1221 or fill out our online form for a free consultation. Located in Wilmington, Delaware, we serve clients throughout Dover, Newark, and Middletown.