Just as we head into the busiest part of the holiday shopping season, ConsumerAffairs.com is warning holiday shoppers to be careful in mall parking lots. According to the National Safety Council (NSC) an estimated 50,000 car accidents occur each year during parking lots and garages. These are not really comprehensive statistics because since these are considered “private property,” these types of incidents are not reported conscientiously to the authorities.
What Causes These Accidents?
Data from insurance companies compiled by ConsumerAffairs.com, however, show that parking lot accidents spike on Black Friday and run higher than normal throughout the holiday shopping season. While a number of these accidents are fender benders or result in minor injuries, some others tend to be serious. The NSC estimates that parking lot accidents claim 500 lives each year and result in 60,000 injuries. The fact that people tend to be distracted and busy around the holidays paves the way for more dangerous situations.
There are many reasons why parking lots are dangerous for drivers. Speed is one major reason. People tend to not realize how fast they are going in parking lots or parking structures and may not be able to stop in time for another vehicle or pedestrians. Safety experts say technology can also be a problem. An NSC opinion poll showed 63 percent of drivers admitted to programming their GPS systems while moving in a parking facility and 56 percent admitted to texting. Also, when pedestrians cut across or fail to cross in marked crosswalks, things could get dangerous.
Tips to Avoid Parking Lot Accidents
There are a number of steps you can take to ensure your safety and the safety of others in parking lots and parking structures, especially during this busy holiday season. Here are a few tips:
- Watch out when you’re backing out or if you are walking, look out for other vehicles that are pulling out. Many parking lot accidents occur when a driver is backing out of a space.
- Resist the temptation to cut across marked spaces to save time.
- If possible, use valet parking on particularly busy shopping days. It might be worth paying the price.
- Put away your cell phones and personal electronics when you leave your parking spot.
- Set your GPS before you move your car.
We hope you have a safe and enjoyable holiday shopping season!