Parking Lot Accidents and How to Avoid Them

        
    
    
    

Parking lots and their potential hazards may be cause for concern for even for the most experienced and safest drivers. This year, especially, when many are taking advantage of curbside pick-up at restaurants and retailers, parking lots are busy places. Pedestrians are seemingly everywhere and are often on their phones texting or chatting, and not paying much attention to their surroundings. In addition, cars are coming from strange directions and must be avoided and navigated around. Other issues involve stray shopping carts and small children, quickly darting from between parked vehicles. The list goes on. Let’s take a look at how some common parking lot accidents occur, in an attempt to raise awareness for parking lot safety.

Some of the more common parking lot accidents include the following:

  • Two vehicles collide while backing out of their respective parking spots.
  • Two vehicles collide while the drivers are vying for the same parking spot.
  • A driver who is trying to navigate around cars or other obstacles in a parking lot, may strike a pedestrian.
  • Vehicles strike curbs, shopping cart corrals, or sidewalks.
  • A vehicle strikes a legally parked car.
  • A vehicle pulling out of a space strikes another car.

Accidents Happen

What if you are involved in an accident in a parking lot? First, be sure no one is hurt. If someone is injured, please immediately call for medical attention. Tempers can flare, so do your best to remain calm. Don’t apologize, as an apology may be interpreted as an admission of fault. Don’t leave the scene, as you can land yourself in big trouble for leaving the scene of an accident. If you absolutely can’t stay at the accident scene involving a parked vehicle, leave a note with your contact information, and take photos of the cars and the area where the accident occurred. If you are the victim of a hit and run, call the police and notify your insurance company immediately.

Assistance From Technology in Preventing Parking Lot Accidents

Backup cameras are now included with many newer cars, they provide a wide-angle view behind the car. Many cars also have warning systems that alert the driver by sound or vibration when the vehicle is getting too close to an obstacle. However, these systems aren’t full proof. It’s always a good idea to conduct a quick inspection of the surrounding area prior to getting into your vehicle. Use your mirrors before backing up.

Safety Tips for Driving in Parking Lots

  • Anticipate the actions of other drivers
  • Drive defensively
  • Drive slowly, and use directional signals
  • Stay in lanes and avoid cutting across parking spaces
  • Obey stop signs and no-parking signs
  • When backing out, be mindful of vehicles and pedestrians
  • Be on the lookout for small children, and parents with baby strollers
  • Whenever possible back into a spot, so you will not have to back up when leaving

For additional information on parking lot safety, please visit the National Safety Council.

Will a Parking Lot Accident Cause an Increase in My Auto Insurance Premiums?

Your auto insurance premiums may increase if you are involved in a collision. If you are at fault for the accident, unless you have “accident forgiveness,” your premiums will likely increase if the losses paid by your company are in excess of a certain dollar amount. If you don’t carry collision coverage, and you’re at fault for the accident, you may need to pay out-of-pocket for the repairs. On the bright side, most parking lot collisions are low speed and low impact, which normally translates into relatively minor costs of repair.

More Parking Lot Perils

Parking lots are a popular spot for other types of accidents besides vehicle accidents. For example, slips, trips, and falls are common in parking lots. The lack of adequate or clear signage, pavement striping (which can be very slippery), cracks, potholes, garbage or debris, snow, ice, and even puddles can cause mishaps. Another issue may be poor or inadequate lighting. You should be aware of each of these potential hazards in parking lots. Moreover, aside from the physical dangers of parking lots, criminals also pose a potential danger. Be smart when choosing a parking spot. It is best to park in a well-lit location and try to conceal any purchases or valuables that may be visible through the car’s windows. In addition, you should ALWAYS lock your car.

You may be entitled to compensation, should you or someone you know is involved in a car accident, please contact Scott Bonebrake for assistance. Scott is a general practitioner in Media, PA, and has been a licensed attorney for 25 years. If you have any legal questions, please feel free to contact Scott at 610-892-7700, or at sbonebrake@noelandbonebrake.com.