Many people think of parking lots as relatively safe places; however, this could not be further from the truth. Parking lots are populated not only with cars, but also with plenty of pedestrians. Because of the high number of pedestrians walking in such close proximity to cars, parking lot accidents are surprisingly numerous. The National Safety Council reports that one out of every five auto pedestrian accidents occurs in a parking lot; and, distracted driving in parking lots has become a new cause of these types of motor vehicle accidents.
According to a recent study conducted by the National Safety Council, 66% of drivers believe making phone calls while driving through a parking lot is safe, and 56% believe texting is safe while driving through a parking lot. Unfortunately, the false sense of security doesn’t end there. According to the study, drivers are also comfortable engaging in these dangerous distracted driving behaviors while driving in parking lots:
- Programming GPS (63%)
- Using social media (52%)
- Sending or receiving emails (50%)
- Taking photos (49%)
- Watching videos (49%)
- Surfing the Internet (43%)
- Using a SmartWatch (43%)
- Video chatting (42%)
While many people believe teenage drivers are the ones using a cell phone while driving, the reality is teens are actually less likely than adults to engage in these dangerous behaviors. There is no safe time to use a cell phone while driving. Any type of distraction can lead to fatal car accidents. Every time a driver gets behind the wheel, they need to stay focused and alert to protect themselves, any passengers, other motorists, and surrounding pedestrians from harm.
Tips for Staying Safe in a Parking Lot
Every year, over 60,000 individuals are injured in auto pedestrian accidents in parking lots and parking garages. One of the most common causes of these accidents is distracted driving, specifically using a cell phone while driving. Because parking structure drivers are moving at relatively low speeds, they develop a false sense of security where they believe using a cell phone is safe.
Our Top Five Tips For Driving Safely In a Parking Lot Include:
- Being Fully Aware of Your Surroundings. The National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) has mandated that all new automobiles include some sort or rear-view camera. While evidence has shown that rear view cameras have certainly alleviated parking lot accidents, they aren’t foolproof. You should look for pedestrians and check every direction before pulling out of a spot. Be aware of light poles and/or smaller vehicles parked such that you might not be able to see. If you have the slightest bit of uncertainty about what’s behind you, get out of the vehicle and check.
- Not Rushing. The best approach to entering or leaving a parking lot is to take your time and drive slowly. This will ensure an easier stop if something enters your pathway, and will give others more time to see you and get out of the way. Limiting yourself to a speed of five miles per hour could significantly reduce the risk of a parking lot accident.
- Finding the Right Spot. Look for a parking spot that allows you to pull forward when leaving the lot, rather than having to back out. If the space is tight, avoid trying to back in, as this proves to be more difficult than drivers think and increases the risk of collisions. Additionally, be mindful of leaving space for the drivers in spots next to you. If you apply the “golden rule” to parking and extend general courtesies like allowing for space and not holding up a line to park close to an entrance, congestion will be reduced, and the likelihood of auto collisions
- Knowing Who Has the Right-of-Way. Due to a lack of traffic signs, and the fact that no one wants to admit fault in an auto accident, this tip is especially important. By law, the vehicle coming into the traffic lane has the right-of-way. Those that are pulling out of a spot must yield to those driving through. Similarly, vehicles driving in a thoroughfare have the right of way over those driving in a feeder lane. This means if you are driving out of a feeder lane, you must stop and allow traffic in the thoroughfare to proceed.
- Not Giving In To Distractions. As mentioned before, many people view parking lots as a safe place as compared to driving on the road. However, drivers are just as likely to get in an accident in a parking lot as they are on the road. Eliminating distractions is essential for your safety. Avoid the urge to reach for your phone when driving through a parking lot. Never text and drive. Keep your eyes on the road and refrain from adjusting the radio or turning your attention to those in the car with you. You should avoid doing anything except for driving before coming to a complete stop and parking, including taking off your seatbelt.
Lubbock Parking Lot Accident Lawyers
Following these tips will maximize your safety and decrease the likelihood of getting in a parking lot accident. If you have been injured in a parking lot accident, first, call the police. It’s important to document the scene and file a claim, whether the damage is major or not. Proper documentation will protect you so that the other party will not make false claims in the future. Finding a witness will also be helpful in properly reporting the incident. Finally, be proactive. Reach out to a personal injury attorney for help obtaining compensation for your car accident injuries. Feel free to call the attorneys at Liggett Law Group for a free consultation today.