Parking Lot Accidents Rise Around the Holidays
Making your way happily through the store parking lot after you just scored that discounted holiday gift might not raise an extra-cautious eye for most drivers and pedestrians, but public parking lots are a hot bed for crashes with pedestrians this time of year. The Independent Insurance Agents and Brokers Association says 1 in 5 accidents take place in a parking lot and that number increases to 2 in 5 during the peak holiday shopping seasons because of the large volume of traffic and more people in a concentrated area.
Although most parking lot accidents tend to involve vehicle damage only, injuries and fatalities do happen, and they typically involve pedestrians. On average, 91,000 people are injured in parking lot related crashes each year. In addition, the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration reports an average of 1,621 people killed annually in crashes involving parking lots in the United States each year.
Drive Smart, Stay Alert
Some drivers make the mistake of traveling through shared pedestrian walkways to find parking spots. When this happens, it is likely they won’t see a pedestrian who is in a blind spot or being blocked by other vehicles. Drivers should keep an eye out for people traveling with kids, or unloading a shopping cart at their vehicle or returning their cart to an outdoor drop-off location. In particular, watch out for pedestrians at parking lot crosswalks, when turning into a new parking lot lane, backing up, or while parallel parking. In doing so you are likely to avoid parking lot accidents and injuring others.
You can take these additional steps to avoid a parking lot crash with a pedestrian:
- Keep your driving simple, use your turn signals, and take open spaces quickly versus driving around and searching for the perfect spot.
- Use your horn if you see other drivers, bicyclists or pedestrians participating in unsafe behaviors like texting while walking, talking on their phones or generally not paying attention. Giving a honk towards someone crossing an unsafe path while carrying bags or a child in front of their line of sight could prevent an injury or save a life.
- In general, stay alert, follow signage, stay in your lane, and away from distractions like your phone or eating. Always drive with two hands on the wheel, and wear your seatbelt.
If You Are in An Accident with A Pedestrian
If you are in an accident with a pedestrian, the first thing you should do is to stay calm. Your actions are important to ensure everyone gets the proper medical treatment they need. Then you should:
- Check for injuries and dial 911 immediately if needed
- Make sure you get out of harm’s way (move cars out of traffic if possible, use hazard lights, cones, flares and/or warning triangles if available)
- Call the police
- Gather information that might be needed later, including taking notes, pictures of vehicle damage, injuries, or the scene itself; and get the names of any witnesses as well as their contact information
- Call your insurance company
- Call 1-800-LEE-FREE for expert legal assistance
Contact Us Now About Your Injury and Accident
If you are a pedestrian who was hit by a vehicle this holiday season, we can help. Please call Lee Free and speak to our auto accident attorneys at 1-800-LEE-FREE (1-800-533-3733) or fill out the Free Case Evaluation Form. And remember, you pay nothing until we settle your vehicle accident case.