How to Stay Safe in Parking Lots

Posted in Car Accident,Pedestrian Accident on January 16, 2020

The hustle and bustle of the holiday season may be over, but the dangers associated with shopping are still present. In addition to the risks of driving to and from shopping malls, outlets, and other retail stores, it’s also important to be aware of the risks that exist in parking lots.

According to the National Safety Council, “parking lots are riskier than you think.” Every year, tens of thousands of accidents occur in parking lots. And while many are low-speed fender benders, hundreds of people are killed in those accidents and thousands more are injured.

Because parking lots are cramped spaces with hundreds or even thousands of vehicles sharing space with pedestrians, it’s no surprise that accidents are common. Combine that with often poor visibility for drivers and you’ve got a dangerous part of daily life that’s often overlooked.

How to Reduce Your Risks in a Parking Lot as a Driver

When you first enter a parking lot in your vehicle, it’s important to stay focused and follow these tips to stay safe:

  • Stay in your lane—Parking lots function best when drivers treat them like actual roadways. That means staying in your lane and never cutting across spaces or aisles.
  • Obey stop signs and one-way arrows—Many parking lots are equipped with stop signs and traffic direction arrows to reduce risks.
  • Watch your speed—Posted speed limit signs in parking lots are often 10 mph or less. Never speed in a parking lot, and reduce your speed even further when approaching speed bumps.
  • Look out for children—Kids are among the most vulnerable people in parking lots. If they get away from their parents, they can dart out from between vehicles and into the path of traffic.
  • Don’t pull through parking spaces—If the space ahead is empty, don’t drive through it, as another driver may not see you and could turn into your vehicle, causing a collision.
  • Use your backup camera when leaving—When backing out of your parking space, keep a close eye on your vehicle’s backup camera to avoid striking other vehicles and pedestrians.
  • Park away from other vehicles—It can be tempting to park as close to your destination as possible, but increasing distance from other parked vehicles can reduce your risks.

In addition, you should avoid distractions as much as possible. Pedestrians may walk in front of your vehicle or drivers may back out of parking spaces when you’re looking at your phone, radio, GPS, or other device, and you may not have enough time to react to avoid an accident.

How to Reduce Your Risks in a Parking Lot as a Pedestrian

After you’ve arrived at your destination and parked your vehicle, your risks don’t decrease. In fact, they go up when you exit your vehicle and walk in and out of the stores, restaurants, or other businesses you’re visiting.

As a pedestrian, you face many dangers, but you can reduce your chances of being injured by following these tips:

  • Stick to crosswalks and sidewalks when available—Many parking lots have sidewalks and crosswalks to protect pedestrians. Stick to these, even if it means taking the long way.
  • Watch for ice in the winter—When it’s cold outside, ice can accumulate in parking lots and on sidewalks. Wear shoes with good traction and hold onto handrails if they’re available.
  • Keep children close by—Kids are full of energy and can be unpredictable. Keep your children close to you as you walk to and from your vehicle while in parking lots.
  • Walk under lights at night—Visibility in parking lots is often poor, especially at night. Parking under lights and walking under or near them can make it easier for drivers to see you.
  • Avoid distractions while walking—Keep your head up and your eyes scanning the path ahead while walking. In addition, avoid listening to music or wearing earphones so you can hear your surroundings.
  • Ask for an escort to your vehicle if you feel unsafe—Many malls and shopping centers provide escorts to vehicles for people who feel unsafe walking through parking lots alone.

It’s important to be as safety-minded as possible when you’re walking through parking lots, as a substantial number of pedestrian accidents in the U.S. each year occur in parking lots.

What to Do If You’re Involved in a Parking Lot Accident

Whether you were driving or walking, if you’re involved in a parking lot accident, follow these steps to protect your health and rights to compensation:

  • Call 911—All accidents involving property damage or injuries in Tennessee must be reported to police, including those that happen in parking lots.
  • Get medical attention—If you suffered injuries or think you might have been hurt, getting medical attention right away can get you on the path to recovery.
  • Exchange information with the other driver—It’s important to know the name, contact information, and insurance details of the other driver involved in the crash.
  • Call an experienced Nashville auto accident lawyer—Parking lot accidents aren’t always straightforward from a compensation claim perspective, even when it’s obvious who was at fault. Having a lawyer on your side can maximize your chances of getting the money you deserve.

Matt Hardin Law is Here to Help After Auto and Pedestrian Accidents

At Matt Hardin Law, it’s our goal to help innocent victims get the money they deserve after accidents that weren’t their fault. That’s true whether their accidents occurred in high-speed crashes on highways and interstates or in lower-speed collisions in parking lots. Medical bills can quickly pile up, and injuries often mean disability and no paychecks for weeks, months, or even years.

We know that accidents of all types can result in serious injuries, and when they do, we believe that innocent victims deserve maximum compensation for their medical bills and lost wages. If you or someone you love was hurt in a parking lot-related accident, contact us today. We have decades of experience fighting for the rights of people like you, and we know what it takes to win.