Parking lot crashes

with Sharon Peters

Q: I read an article recently about airbags not deploying when they ought to have deployed. That made me think about this: Our SUV was parked in the outer reaches of a parking lot and while we were shopping someone slammed into the passenger side going fast enough (officers estimated 35 mph) to do great damage. The airbag didn’t deploy. Now I’m worried.

A: When a car is turned off (as I suspect yours was, inasmuch as it was parked in a parking lot), the airbags won’t deploy no matter how hard it is hit or where. No worries there (although, as you point out, airbags sometimes don’t deploy in crashes).

But here’s a related nugget to worry about — regarding not airbags but your parking choice: I, possibly like you, have for years always parked in “outer reaches” of parking lots (during daylight hours; never at night).

My choice of location springs from several things: (1) I hate being delayed by those annoying lot cruisers who can’t stand parking more than 30 feet from an entrance and who sit for 15 minutes, blocking everyone else while waiting for a mom with 30 bags and four children to load up, buckle in and eventually pull away. (2) I figure this adds 30 miles a year to my walking regimen, and more walking is always a good thing. (3) I believe there’s less chance of getting dings from those oh-so-busy, selfabsorbed drivers.

Recently, however, a friend who has adopted my strategies backed into a parking spot on an end corner of the far reaches of a shopping center and we returned from errand-running to find her bumper dangling and part of the driver side smashed. Witnesses said the driver of a huge white truck was cutting through the parking lot, not following the lanes or lines, of course, and creamed her.

The witness said the truck driver kept going, naturally.

The police officer that arrived on the scene told us she now recommends no far-reaches parking because such hit-and-runs are skyrocketing. You know: Extremely busy people, more important than the rest of us, driving fast, and probably talking or texting instead of actually looking out for the safety and wellbeing of others.

Signs of our times, unfortunately. Something to consider.

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What’s your question? Sharon Peters would like to hear about what’s on your mind when it comes to caring for, driving and repairing your vehicle. Email