Do you know that 20% of all vehicle accidents happen in the parking lots? Yes, that’s how common these accidents are. You may think these are minor accidents, but people have actually died due to drivers not looking at their mirrors before backing out. In fact, there was even a news item a few years back wherein a grade school student died when a driver backed out of the parking space and slammed into the child. On average, parking lot accidents caused about 60,000 injuries and 500 fatalities every year in the United States.
The most important thing to remember about this is the responsibility for the safety of the parking lot mostly falls on the owner of the property. Unless you want a car accident attorney to come knocking on your door, you need to make sure that the parking lot has proper markings, lighting, and the lack of traffic law enforcement. With safety measures and precautions in place, drivers will be forced to be more careful about their activities in the parking lot. The same goes for pedestrians.
Causes of Parking Lot Accidents
The number one cause of parking lot accident is when the driver backs out of or into the parking space. Backing out creates a lot of blind spots since there might be other cars on either side of the empty parking space. The drivers cannot see the space where they are backing out. That makes it difficult for them to see if there are pedestrians walking behind the car.
Drivers need to be extra careful when backing out. Pedestrians also have to stay clear of cars that are backing out. Carelessness in this regard will cause the number of accidents to spike.
This holiday season, a lot of drivers will squeeze themselves in a parking space. Accidents happen during busy months because drivers are so busy looking for an empty space that they don’t notice pedestrians or other cars crossing. The holidays mean that there are more pedestrians and cars in the parking lot, too. This makes it harder for drivers—newbies and experienced—to navigate such a cramped space.
Also, private parking lots tend not to follow traffic rules in their parking lots. They also fail to hire someone who can enforce these laws. Without clear rules, drivers will do as they please and that increases the chances of getting into an accident.
Finally, poorly maintained parking lots are accident-traps. Imagine driving on uneven pavements during the winter season. A huge pile of snow and ice is not only unsightly but is a major cause of accidents, too. Dimmed or broken light bulbs can also increase vehicle accidents, especially for drivers who have a hard time seeing at night.
Preventing Parking Lot Accidents
Drivers need to learn to slow down in parking lots. Pedestrians are walking and trying to find the spots where they parked their cars. Other drivers are looking left and right for a parking space. Everyone seems to be doing something other than making sure they are not in the way of oncoming traffic or they’re focused on driving. Drivers have to be extra careful when they are in parking lots, so they have enough time to react when someone suddenly crosses their way.
When driving in a parking lot, people forget about using their signals. Pedestrians and motorists can’t read your mind. They won’t know if you will turn left or right or if you are pulling into a spot. Use your signals to communicate with pedestrians and motorists, so they can react appropriately, too.
Proper parking lot etiquette seems to be missing from a lot of drivers, too. Some motorists are so intent on backing out into a parking space because it’s easier later when they have to leave. In truth, parking headfirst is always the safer choice. Drivers also have to be mindful of the cars next to them. When the space is too cramped and you do not have a compact car, leave it alone for motorcycles and compact cars. Find a more appropriate space for your car’s size.
Finally, parking lot owners also need to make sure that the parking lot has proper markings, is well-lit, and enforces proper etiquette and traffic rules. These, along with the drivers’ and pedestrians’ attentiveness, will prevent accidents from happening. The management also needs to put up signs to remind pedestrians and motorists that carelessness will lead to accidents that will disrupt their lives.
People are under the impression that a parking lot is a safe place but when people are irresponsible, anything can happen. It’s always better to err on the side of caution. Be observant and act as if you’re walking or driving on the road where a traffic enforcer can pull you over for violations.