Many people may think that the slow speeds typical of vehicles in parking lots makes these locations safer than the road for pedestrians. However, motor vehicle collisions also take place in parking lots and garages, and according to the National Safety Council, hundreds of people die in these accidents every year, and thousands more are injured.

The following tips may help drivers to avoid the consequences of parking lot accidents that include personal injury and property damage.

Follow all parking lot and traffic rules

Many collisions occur because motorists ignore parking lot and traffic rules. Drivers should stay within their own lanes, use turn signals, obey signage and avoid cutting across lots.

Stay alert

With the amount of foot traffic in parking lots, it may seem that drivers would be more likely to put down their phones and pay attention. However, according to an NSC poll, many people report doing the opposite:

  • 66% make phone calls
  • 63% program their GPS systems
  • 56% text
  • 50% read and send emails
  • 49% take pictures or watch videos

Not only should drivers avoid these behaviors, they should also be hyperaware of their surroundings. Small children are often difficult to see, and pedestrians may suddenly step out from between vehicles into the path of oncoming cars.

Prevent back-up accidents

Safety experts recommend that a driver checks the vehicle’s surroundings before getting in to make sure there are no obstacles or other low-lying hazards in blind spots. Even when someone has a back-up camera, it is important to check all mirrors and do a head check to make sure that no pedestrians or vehicles are in the surrounding area.

In the event of a parking lot car accident, it is important for everyone involved to treat the situation like a regular motor vehicle accident, assessing people for injuries, contacting the authorities to report the incident and gathering pertinent information from the other drivers and photo evidence of the scene.