Parking lots might give the impression of being a still, safe place for cars. However, between the pedestrians, vehicles circling the lot, kids running around and cars backing out or pulling in, parking lots are full of hazards and potentially dangerous situations. Below is a list of important precautions you can take to avoid a parking lot accident.
Be Fully Aware of Your Surroundings.
National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) has mandated that all new automobiles include some sort or rear-view camera by the year 2018. 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, or smaller vehicles parked 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.
This is the best approach to entering or leaving a parking lot. 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 to get out of the way. Limiting yourself to a speed of 5 miles per hour could significantly reduce the risk of a parking lot accident.
Find 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 for collisions. Additionally, be mindful of the 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 decreases.
Know 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.
Don’t Give Into Distractions.
As mentioned before, many people view parking lots as a safe place as opposed 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. 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 else before coming to a complete stop and parking, including taking off your seatbelt.
What to do if you have been in a parking lot accident.
Following these tips will maximize your safety and decrease the likelihood of getting in a parking lot accident. If you have been involved in a parking lot accident, there are some actions you need to take immediately. 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. Follow up with insurance claims and/or reach out to an attorney if you need help determining fault or obtaining compensation for your accident. Feel free to call the attorneys at Liggett Law Group for a free consultation today.