11 ways to stay safe when parking up

In 2016, a survey carried out by YourParkingSpace revealed that one in three motorists in the UK have felt uneasy in a car park, with 23% of female drivers citing personal safety as a main concern when choosing a place to park.

While car parks are not inherently dangerous, they are where a fifth of car crimes take place, according to figures from the AA.

Harrison Woods of YourParkingSpace says that increases in vehicle crime during the winter months is matched by our apprehension of isolated car parks,

“This time of year, when the clocks go back, is unfortunately a time that tends to see an increase in vehicle crime and burglary as criminals take advantage of the darker nights. It’s natural for drivers to feel nervous when alone in a car park but staying aware and following a few safety tips can really help you stay safe,” he said.

Here are some tips to help you stay aware and stay safe when parking up,

  1. Plan your journey
    If you’re heading somewhere you’re less familiar with, search online for suitable car parks before you set off so you don’t end up parking somewhere you’re uncomfortable with.
  2. Stay in the light
    Parking your car under a bright light doesn’t advertise your car to thieves. On the contrary it’s more likely to put them off.
  3. Choose a car park with surveillance
    Just as with a well lit car park, one that’s equipped with CCTV or even staffed by security personal is going to be less of a draw for criminals.
  4. Aim for a well-populated area
    Spaces near a stairwell or lift are more likely to having other motorists coming and going.
  5. Don’t over-laden yourself
    This might be difficult if you’ve been out shopping all day, but if possible put everything into one bag over your shoulder. Having your hands full makes you an easier target for thieves.
  6. Keep your keys in your hand
    This way, you can get straight into your car when you approach it. If you’re feeling unsafe you can ask a security guard to accompany you to your car. Otherwise lock the doors, and exit the car park without delay.
  7. Stay aware
    Make a note of where you parked your car so that you know where to find it when you come back. Don’t allow yourself to be distracted by your phone or music which could stop you seeing or hearing anything suspicious.
  8. Stow away possessions
    An opportunist thief may need less convincing than you think – so even if something isn’t particularly valuable to you, it’s still worth shutting away in the boot if you don’t want your window to be put out.
  9. Be prepared in winter
    Make sure you can quickly de-ice your car with spray and a scraper. Never leave your keys in the ignition if you’re not at the wheel.
  10. Make calls from a safe location
    If your car has a flat tyre, has been broken into, or you have a safety concern, don’t wait by your vehicle to call your breakdown provider, car park management or the police. Go to a public space and make any necessary phone calls from there.
  11. Be cautious
    Another motorist who is asking you for assistance may be genuine, but it’s best to politely decline your help.

Your car insurance policy can include breakdown cover, theft and malicious damage. Speak to R Collins & Co on 01977 558391 to find out more.