Accidents don’t just happen on roads. According to the Independent Insurance Agents and Brokers Association, 1 in 5 accidents takes place in a parking lot. And during the holiday seasons when the amount of shopping increases, that number jumps to 2 out 5 accidents occur in parking lots. Why?: unpredictable traffic patterns and distracted drivers. Parking lots are not just dangerous for motor vehicle drivers, but also for pedestrians.

Why They Happen

Why do parking lots have so many auto accidents? Most parking lots do not have much in the way of traffic signage which creates unpredictable traffic patterns. This can cause drivers to become confused as to the right of way or reckless in their behavior. Some drivers cut diagonally across lots avoiding designated drive paths. Some drivers fail to drive slowly even though the parking lot is congested with motor vehicles and pedestrians. Some drivers fail to use their turn signals. Unlike on the road, a lot of backing out is occurring. Most people drive front forward into a parking space, necessitating that they back out of the parking space with the lesser visibility that accompanies reversing. At a minimum, drivers are distracted by looking for an open parking place, not driving safely. But like on the road, many drivers are also distracted by smart phone usage while they are driving.

Avoiding Parking Lot Accidents

How do you avoid a parking lot accident? Pay extra attention. Do not be distracted, your primary purpose when behind the wheel is driving safely. Drive defensively. Drive slowly. Be visible – use your vehicle’s headlights. Comply with speed limit signs, stop signs, or other traffic signage. Be especially careful when backing out of a parking place. Check your blind spots, look for other waiting cars or cars in the row behind you backing out at the same time. Look for pedestrians and be aware of drivers speeding through lanes. Pedestrians should use crosswalks and walkways, walk in well-lit areas, and pay attention to vehicles that are running or have their lights on.

Unfortunately, you can still be a victim of a parking lot accident due to someone else’s negligence, even if you are as careful and defensive as possible and follow every safety tip. Parking lot accidents may seem less severe than collisions on the road, but the vulnerability of pedestrians and the unexpected collision can cause serious injuries.

If you or someone you love has been injured in a parking lot accident, please call attorney Leslie A. Goller.