Many drivers think the only time they face risks is when they’re on the road. Once they pull in to a parking lot or structure, they let their guard down. They make phone calls, respond to texts or even “check in” to their location on Facebook. However, thousands of people are injured in car crashes every year in parking lots and structures and hundreds are killed.
As we head in to the holiday season, more people will be crowding in to parking lots and garages, making holiday shopping and to-do lists in their heads instead of focusing on what’s going on around them. It’s a dangerous time for drivers – and particularly for people just walking to or from their cars.
It’s not just as they pull in to parking lots that people allow themselves to multi-task in a way they normally wouldn’t behind the wheel. Often, people program their GPS for their next location as they’re leaving the lot.
In a survey by the National Safety Council (NSC), almost two-thirds of respondents admitted to programming their GPS systems while driving in parking lots. Over half said they texted, used social media or did some personal grooming, and 50% acknowledged that they sent or received emails.
Of course, pedestrians can be just as distracted in parking areas – and they’re at particular risk of suffering serious injuries. This isn’t a good time to be talking on your phone or listening to music through your wireless earbuds.
Drivers can avoid a parking lot crash by being vigilant about knowing what’s around them when they pull out of their parking spots. Even though your car may have technology that alerts you if someone is approaching (either on foot or in a car) behind you, it’s wise to look all around your car before you get in. You should still look over your shoulder as well as in your backup camera before you pull out. It only takes a second for a child to slip out of a parent’s grasp and run behind your car. Simply remembering basics like staying in your lane, obeying speed limits and stop signs and signaling which way you’re going to turn can minimize your chances of a crash.
If you’ve suffered an injury caused by a distracted or reckless driver in a parking lot, seek the compensation you need for expenses like medical bills. An experienced attorney can help.