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The holiday season includes full hearts, stomachs, stockings… and even fuller parking lots. While many holiday shoppers opt to make most of their holiday gift purchases online, the holiday season is still a time when stores are packed. Although slower parking lot speed may give people a false sense of security, the reality is roads are more dangerous than ever during the holiday season, including parking lots.
With people across the country hustling to get their Christmas shopping done in time, parking lots become a zoo and a real-life experience of Mario Kart race as you dodge obstacles. Because of this, the risk of car accidents and pedestrian accidents in parking lots is higher during this time of the year. According to the National Safety Council (NSC), more than 50,000 crashes occur in parking lots and parking garages each year, causing more than 500 deaths and upwards of 60,000 injuries. In addition, the number of incidents may be higher than insurance claims indicate, as many fender-benders go unreported.
The Most Common Causes Of Parking Lot Accidents
Holiday shopping is equally exciting and stressful. From trying to figure out what to gift the ones you love to have to fight the pandemonium you will find at the stores, it’s easy to know why others simply opt out to do online shopping. A study from Sensormatic Solutions predicts the country’s top ten busiest 2022 holiday shopping days:
- Friday, November 25 – Black Friday
- Friday, December 23 – Friday before Christmas
- Monday, December 26 – Day after Christmas, aka “Boxing Day”
- Saturday, December 17 – Super Saturday
- Saturday, November 26 – Saturday after Black Friday
- Saturday, December 10 – Second Saturday in December
- Thursday, December 22 – Thursday before Christmas
- Saturday, December 3 – First Saturday in December
- Sunday, December 18 – Sunday before Christmas
- Wednesday, December 21 – Wednesday before Christmas
According to the National Safety Council, at least 66% of drivers said they would make a call while driving through a parking lot. 63% said they would set up their GPS or map application, and 56% said they would text. When operating in an area with lots of pedestrians, it’s important that you don’t fiddle with the radio, items in the vehicle, or your phone. It is important to pay attention to your surroundings at all times.
- Preoccupied drivers are busy looking for an open parking spot and don’t always notice pedestrians or other vehicles.
- Traffic laws differ in parking lots, so there tends to be more reckless behavior and confusion.
- Drivers who pull straight into spots are required to back out. There are many more blind spots when reversing.
- Parking lots are congested with pedestrians and vehicular traffic.
Parking lot crashes can leave people severely injured. It is important for motorists to remain just as vigilant in a store parking lot as they would on a high-speed highway.
How To Avoid A Parking Lot Accident
According to safety advocates, there are a few safety tips you should keep in mind to make sure your holiday shopping goes as smoothly as possible.
- Be Aware. Do not get caught off guard; watch for cars cutting diagonally across the lot. Drive slowly down the designated path and always use your turn signal. While walking into the retailer, watch for reverse lights and cross at crosswalks.
- Be visible. When pulling into a parking lot or parking garage, make sure your car’s headlights are turned on to make sure other drivers can see your vehicle.
- Give space. During the day, park further away from the building to reduce the chances of dings from other cars and shopping carts.
- Back in. If possible, reverse into a parking spot. This will allow you to pull forward into the aisle of the parking lot. On average, 51 deaths occur annually in parking lots caused by a driver reversing.
- Put the electronics down. Never handle your cell phone and GPS while operating your vehicle. 63% of drivers admit to programming their GPS while their vehicle is moving.
- Don’t linger. Don’t wait for the perfect parking spot. Driving up and down lanes looking for the best spot only gets you frustrated and allows for more chances of hitting another car or having them hit you.
- Slow down. Comply with speed limit signs and stop signs.
Holiday Parking Lot Safety Tips
When dealing with the hustle and bustle of busy parking lots during the holiday season, remember to remain aware of your surroundings at all times. The holiday months bring colder and more dangerous weather conditions, causing slick roadways and walkways. In addition to parking lot collisions and crashes involving vehicles, parking lot slip and falls can also cause life-changing injuries. Parking lots are especially dangerous during the holiday season. Here are a few extra tips to keep in mind this holiday season:
- Choose a parking spot carefully. If you are holiday shopping during the evening, park in a well-lit area. Avoid areas close to bushes, trees, walls, or any other objects that could provide cover for criminals.
- Do not leave shopping bags and other valuables in visible places inside your vehicle. The trunk is the safest place to avoid theft. If you plan on making multiple stops with a big-ticket item, it may be in your best interest to drop it off at home before making any other stops.
- Always lock your vehicle doors upon entering and exiting the vehicle. Don’t roll down your window if someone approaches your vehicle.
- Be aware of your surroundings and avoid using cell phones while walking through the parking lot. Make note of your parking location to not wander aimlessly through the lot after making purchases.
What The Carlson Law Firm Can Do To Help
Although parking lot accidents may seem less severe than collisions that occur on busier roadways, they can still have serious repercussions. Unfortunately, even if you are as precautious as possible and follow every safety tip, you can still be a victim of an accident caused by negligent acts. The vulnerability of pedestrians and the unexpected nature of parking lot accidents can leave victims and their families with severe injuries and accompanying struggles.
If you or someone you love has endured life-changing injuries that have made it difficult to support yourself and your family financially and affected your quality of life, call our personal injury lawyers at The Carlson Law Firm. Our team has the resources, experience, and compassion for helping you and your loved ones focus on getting back on your feet while seeking fair compensation. We care. We can help.