Yes, Car Accidents Can Happen in Parking Lots
Parking lots often give the impression of being very low risk accident areas where vehicles don’t go faster than a crawl. However, between the cars circling the parking lot, pedestrians walking around, children running all over, and cars pulling in and others backing out, parking lots are full of risks and potentially hazardous situations. Drivers, therefore, ought to not get complacent when operating their cars in such places. You do not want to find yourself in a situation that will leave you calling your car accident lawyer to help you out.
Below is a list of some important precautions you could take to help you avoid parking lot accidents.
Be completely aware of your surroundings
The National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) has commanded that all new vehicles implement rear-view cameras by 2018. Even though there is evidence that rear-view cameras have reduced parking lot accidents, they are not 100% effective. You still need to check for pedestrians and confirm that all directions are clear before backing out of a spot. Also, beware of smaller cars and light poles. If you have the tiniest doubt of what is behind you, step out of your car and check the back with your own eyes.
Do not rush
When making your way into or out of a parking lot, the best approach is to take your time and move slowly; don’t rush. Taking your time ensures an easier stop in case someone or another car enters your way. It will also offer others more time to spot you and clear the way. Moving at a speed of about 5mph could considerably minimize your risk of getting involved in a parking lot accident.
Find the right spot
Find a spot in the parking lot that allows you to pull forward when exiting the lot instead of having to back out. If a space is tight, do not try backing in as this is a very difficult maneuver which will only increase your risk of collision. Additionally, you should be mindful of the space for the drivers in those spots next to you. Remember, by extending some general courtesies to your fellow drivers such as allowing enough space to open car doors, congestion will be minimized, and the possibility of collisions will be reduced as well.
Understand who has the right-of-way
This is a very important tip given that there are no traffic signs in a parking lot and also due to the simple fact that no driver wants to admit they are at fault in case of an accident in the parking lot. By law, the car coming into the traffic lane has the right-of-way. This means that those pulling out of a parking spot should yield to those who are driving through.
Do not drive distracted
As stated earlier, most drivers assume parking lots to be safe places as opposed to roads. However, you are just as likely to get involved in an accident in a parking lot as you are on the road! Getting rid of any distraction is important to your safety. For instance, fight the urge to use your phone, keep your eyes on the road, and avoid turning your attention to other passengers in the car. Do not do anything else until you finally come to a complete stop.
Get Legal Help After a Crash
Following the above tips will minimize your likelihood of getting involved in a parking lot accident and will also significantly increase your safety. However, if you get involved in an accident, you should contact a car accident lawyer to advise you of the best way moving forward. Having a car accident lawyer will go a long way in making sure that you get compensated for any damages sustained if the accident was not at all your fault.