People treat parking lots as though they are inherently safe or at least safer than roads. Some people take their teenagers to large parking lots to practice driving for the first time. Others will tell their children that they don’t need to buckle up until they turn out of the parking lot onto an actual road. In general, people driving in parking lots travel at lower speeds, but that does not eliminate the risk of a collision with another vehicle.
As many as one in five motor vehicle collisions may occur in a parking lot, and some people even die because of those collisions. Why are parking lot crashes so common and so dangerous?
People don’t adequately protect themselves in parking lots
As previously mentioned, some people feel like they don’t need to use safety restraints or follow the rules of the road in parking lots. Even those who don’t embrace unsafe driving practices in parking lots may fail to adequately watch for other vehicles or pedestrians.
According to the National Safety Council (NSC), negligence is a major factor in such crashes. The NSC estimates that 9% of the fatalities reported in parking lots result from negligence or distraction. A driver backs up into a pedestrian when pulling out of a parking space without looking, for example.
People about to pull out of parking lots may still be in the process of inspecting their vehicles, adjusting their mirrors or making a call home to let their loved ones know that they are on the way.
What happens after a crash in a parking lot?
In some ways, a car crash in a parking lot is like a crash on public roads. You will need to document the scene of the crash, exchange information with the other driver and contact the police to file a report. If the other driver caused the crash, then you can make a claim against their insurance.
One of the ways a parking lot crash may be different than a crash on the open road is that there is a slightly better chance that there will be video footage of the collision because of security cameras in the parking lot. There will also be less pressure for you to move your vehicles right away after the wreck because there will be less impact on the flow of traffic in a parking lot than on a busy street.
Drivers should never take for granted that a certain area is safer than anywhere else they may encounter other motor vehicles. Knowing what steps to take after a parking lot car crash can lead to a quicker compensation claim and less stress for the people involved.