Common Parking Lot Car Accidents and How to Prevent Them

backing up from parking spaceWhen people think about car accidents, they often imagine multi-car pileups on the highway or rear-end accidents at intersections. However, there is another place where accidents frequently occur: parking lots.

Drivers are often reckless in parking lots, increasing the risk of accidents. Below, learn more about some of the dangerous behaviors in parking lots, common accidents and how to avoid them.

If you are injured in a parking lot accident, contact one of the experienced Sacramento car accident lawyers at the Arnold Law Firm to discuss your possible legal options.

Dangerous Driving in Parking Lots

A National Safety Council survey from 2016 revealed that two-thirds of drivers admitted to being distracted while driving in parking lots. Common distracted driving practices in parking lots include:

  • Programming GPS systems
  • Talking or texting on cellphones
  • Taking pictures
  • Video chatting
  • Using social media
  • Emailing
  • Talking to passengers

Additionally, drivers might speed, because they are frustrated about not being able to find a convenient parking spot.

Common Parking Lot Accidents

There are many different types of parking lot accidents, including:

  • Back-up accidents – These accidents occur when one vehicle is backing out of parking space and collides with another car that is passing by. In this situation, neither vehicle has the right of way and both drivers may be guilty of not checking to make sure it was safe before proceeding.
  • Forward-moving accidents – A driver might pull forward out of a parking space into oncoming traffic. Drivers who are already moving have the right-of-way in this situation, so the vehicle moving out of the space has the duty to check that it is safe before emerging.
  • Stop sign rear-end accidents – A vehicle may be stopped at a stop sign when another vehicle backs into it or hits it from behind. The driver of the moving vehicle will most likely be considered at fault in this type of situation because drivers are required to leave adequate distance between their vehicle and other vehicles.
  • Parking spot collisions – Two vehicles may be trying to park in the same spot at the same time and collide during the process. Both drivers may share responsibility for this type of accident. However, one driver may be at greater fault than the other driver, such as if one driver was turning right into the space while the other was turning left.

Tips on Avoiding Accidents

While there are risks with driving in a parking lot, many accidents can be avoided by employing safe-driving tips, such as:

1. Slow Down

Move through parking lots slowly and obey any posted speed limits. Look out for potential dangers, such as vehicles emerging from parking spots, people walking, or children darting out. Driving slowly will allow you to brake or take other actions to prevent an accident.

2. Park Strategically

Park in a spot that is safer to emerge from, such as one that is further away from other vehicles or one that will allow you to move forward out of the spot instead of backing up. This way you can see what is in front of you and if any cars are coming. Center your vehicle in between the space so that you can pull out at a straight angle.

3. Avoid Distractions

Avoid distractions like cellphones, GPS systems, playing music, or talking to other passengers while navigating a parking lot. Always stay focused on your surroundings. You can have a phone conversation or talk to passengers once you park or after exiting your vehicle.

4. Use Signals

Let other motorists know your intentions. Use turn signals when you are planning to move into a parking space. This can alert other drivers of your plan to move into a space so they will slow down or go around you.

5. Look Behind You

When backing out of a parking space, do not rely only on your rearview mirrors or backup cameras. Turn your head to look behind and to the sides of your vehicle. If you are surrounded by larger vehicles, like trucks or SUVs, back up slowly, so you can check if it is safe to proceed.

Schedule a Free Consultation with an Attorney

If you were hit by a reckless driver in a parking lot, it is important that you understand your rights and options for pursuing compensation for your damages. A personal injury lawyer can talk with you about your claim and how you can recover compensation for your injuries, vehicle damage, lost wages, and pain and suffering.

Call us today to schedule a free consultation. (916) 777-7777.