Many people are concerned about being involved in a crash on the highway or in heavy rush hour traffic. In fact, one in five accidents occur in parking lots, as reported on CBS News. On average, 50,000 parking lot crashes occur every year in the U.S., killing 500 or more and injuring 60,000 people.
Parking Lot Accidents and Driver Distraction
Driver distraction is a major factor in parking lot accidents, as stated by the National Safety Council (NSC). In a public opinion poll, NSC researchers found that:
- 66% of drivers in the U.S. would make a call while driving through a parking lot.
- 56% of drivers would text.
- 52% would use social media.
- 50% would send or receive emails.
- 49% would watch videos or take pictures.
- 59% of teens and 53% of adults would engage in personal grooming while driving through parking lots.
How Do Car Accidents Happen in Parking Lots?
Accidents are a common occurrence in crowded parking lots, particularly when drivers are distracted. They can happen when:
More than one driver is going for the same parking spot: Parking spaces may be at a premium in crowded lots during peak business hours. When two or more drivers are maneuvering to get there first, it can lead to a crash.
Drivers are reversing out of parking spaces at the same time: Two drivers can collide when they suddenly back out of their parking spots in opposite directions. In this situation, no one has the right-of-way and both drivers are likely responsible for the crash.
Driver backs out of a parking space and collides with an oncoming vehicle: A driver reversing out of a parking spot may violate an oncoming driver’s right-of-way, causing a crash. This is more likely to happen in crowded lots where the driver’s view may be blocked.
A pedestrian is hit by a driver reversing out of a parking space: Drivers may have difficulty seeing pedestrians behind them, or they may not be paying attention when backing out of a parking spot. Being hit by a 3,000 pound passenger vehicle can cause catastrophic or fatal injuries to pedestrians.
What Are the Consequences of Parking Lot Accidents?
A traffic crash in a parking lot can cause serious injuries, even when vehicles are moving slowly. This is particularly true when a pedestrian is hit by a moving motor vehicle. As stated by NSC, 9% of pedestrian deaths in parking lots are caused by drivers who are backing up. Injuries can range in severity from lacerations and abrasions or sprains and strains to fractured bones and catastrophic or fatal injuries.
How to Avoid Parking Lot Accidents
To help prevent accidents and injuries in crowded parking lots:
- Put your phone away and don’t drive distracted.
- Use your side mirrors and double check your blind spots when backing out of a parking spot.
- Drive slowly, using extra caution when backing out of parking spaces or turning. Look out for pedestrians, as well as other vehicles.
- Park in pull-through spaces whenever possible, so you can move forward instead of backing out when you leave your spot.
- Consider buying a vehicle with collision avoidance technology, such as traffic alert sensors for braking, cameras in the front and rear, and a parking system assistant.
If you have been hurt in a parking lot accident caused by someone else’s negligence, contact the Tenge Law Firm, LLC at (303) 665-2929 to get an experienced Boulder car accident attorney in your corner. We also have offices in Denver and Fort Collins.