When traveling, there's nothing like the feeling of the wide open road before you
You might get that feeling while driving on a major road, but once you're in town, things can be different: A line-up of vehicles parked in a parking lane to your right present a huge amount of potential danger: People are pulling out; they're stopping and backing up; people are walking out from between parked vehicles; they're opening doors into your lane. The parking lane might be a convenience to others but it's a menace to anyone driving in the lane to the left!
Here's how to drive a little more safely when there's a parking lane to the right of you
- Look ahead to take in the full line-up of vehicles, don't just look one or two vehicle lengths ahead
- If possible, pull over just a little to your left (while remaining in your lane) to give yourself just a little extra room
- Slow down slightly to give yourself some time to react in case someone makes a sudden movement
- Watch for indicator signals of vehicles that are pulling out of the parking lane into your lane
- Watch for movement as vehicles break the pattern of being lined up with the curb, and watch for turning front tires as vehicles start to edge out into traffic
- Look through the rear windows of each vehicle to watch for the silhouette of someone's head in the driver's seat. This isn't fool-proof (they might have tinted window or they might be too short for their head to appear over the headrest) but it can give you an indication of a parked vehicle that might pull out into your lane
- Looking for heads in vehicles is also a great way to watch for the risk of doors opening up in front of you
- Keep an eye out for pedestrians: Watch for feet by looking underneath some of the parked vehicles ahead of you and watch for heads by looking above some of the parked vehicles ahead of you. This is more difficult when there are kids. Slow down slightly because kids can run out from between parked vehicles without considering the danger. Pay particular attention to the risk of running children during the summer and during the time that kids might be walking to school or home after school
- Stay several vehicle lengths back from any vehicle that is driving in the lane ahead of you. If they stop suddenly and start to back up into a spot, you'll want time to slow down (plus you'll want to give them enough room to back up)
Parking lanes might be full of stopped vehicles but that doesn't mean that the risk of collision is gone. In fact, quite the opposite: Parking lanes present a number of potential collision scenarios that safe drivers watch for, and even expect.
Whether you are driving or parked, collisions can still happen. If they do, bring your vehicle to our team of collision repair experts at Body Autobody & Glass.