When we think of motor vehicle accidents, those happening on the roadways typically come to mind. But surprisingly, parking lots see their share of crashes and accidents, especially during the holiday season. The National Safety Council (NSC) estimates that around 50,000 crashes happen annually in parking lots causing 500 deaths and 60,000 injuries. Many go unreported, so this number may even be higher.
Unfortunately, the number of parking lot crashes increases this time of year when we see additional mall traffic and drivers more distracted with lengthy to-do lists. The number of accidents in parking lots spikes on Black Friday and continues to be high through the holiday season.
Tips to stay safe
Not surprisingly, electronic distractions are a leading factor contributing to the parking lot crash rate. The NSC poll shows that while driving in parking lots, motorists are making phone calls, texting, programing their GPS or using social media. With that in mind, we can all take steps toward prevention as both the driver and the pedestrian:
- Take care of your electronic needs before putting your car in drive.
- Don’t rely solely on your back up camera to see what’s behind you.
- Obey the traffic signage.
- Stay in the marked lanes and avoid crossing through the middle of the lot.
- Be alert and aware of your surroundings.
- While walking in a parking lot, expect the unexpected and watch for the actions of others. Don’t assume a driver can see you or will stop for you.
Other types of accidents happen in parking lots as well so when you’re out at the mall, watch for additional hazards. Inadequate striping, potholes, snow and ice and poor lighting are common in parking lots and contribute to slips and falls. Being cautious and alert can keep you safe.
Parking lots can be a dangerous place, so use extra caution while out shopping for that perfect holiday gift.