‘Tis the season for Black Friday sales, doorbusters, and last-minute Christmas shopping. Which means it is also the season for crowded parking lots, single-minded shoppers, and cranky children. What does all of this mean?
It means that, now more than ever, we need to be conscious of parking lot safety. According to one study, almost 20% of all auto accidents occur in parking lots, and that statistic surely rises as more and more people flock to crowded shopping areas.
While not all auto accidents that occur in parking lots cause deaths, serious injuries, or expensive property damage, they are not something to take lightly. It doesn’t take a high-speed collision to do damage to a costly car part, or injure a person, and yet many people drive through parking lots as if traffic safety rules stopped at the road.
The problem with most parking lot accidents is that many people are simply not on their guard in the parking lot like they would be on a highway or street. People talk on their cell phones, adjust their shopping bags, back out of parking spots without looking for oncoming cars, and speed down aisles without looking for cars backing out. Inexperienced drivers may find pulling into or out of tight parking spots difficult, and may accidentally scrape the cars in the adjacent parking spots.
Pedestrian accidents are also more of a concern in parking lots, since lots of people are walking to and from their vehicles. Drivers often neglect stop signs and crosswalks in parking lots, which puts pedestrians at risk, especially at night.
Many people may neglect parking lot safety because they assume they have the right-of-way. The truth is, parking lot driving laws are very complicated, and it is always safer to assume that the other driver in the parking lot thinks they have the right-of-way too.
If you exercise defensive driving techniques, keep an open eye for pedestrians, obey all of the traffic signs in the parking lot, and drive slowly, you will lower your risk of being in a parking lot accident.