As far as driving dangers go, parking lots probably rank near the bottom when it comes to hazardous areas where auto accidents can occur. But in reality, a public parking lot can be quite dangerous for both motorists and pedestrians.

As reported by the National Safety Council (NSC), “[t]ens of thousands” of collisions happen each year in parking garages and lots in the United States. Even though these are primarily low-speed crashes, thousands suffer injuries and hundreds die.

Why so dangerous?

Distractions are responsible for many of these accidents, as the NSC discovered after conducting an online public opinion poll. Respondents indicated that 66 percent of motorists stated they used their cellphones while cruising through parking lots.

They also admitted to doing the following:

  • 63 percent programmed their GPS systems
  • 56 percent sent and read text messages
  • 52 percent used social media
  • 50 percent read or sent emails
  • 49 percent watched videos or took pictures

The NSC learned that 59 percent of teenagers did personal grooming tasks in parking lots compared to 53 percent of adults. However, teens were not as likely to use their cellphone as adults (60 percent versus 66 percent).

How you can stay safer

Since the use of parking lots is an unavoidable part of most Texans’ lives, the below tips could help you avoid injuries or worse:

  • Stay in designated lanes and don’t cut diagonally across lots
  • Reduce speed and use your blinkers
  • Anticipate drivers’ actions
  • Obey posted speed and other signs
  • Make sure there are no people or cars behind you when backing out of your spot

Technology is your friend

When the NSC analyzed government data, they determined that 9 percent of parking lot pedestrian fatalities occurred as vehicles were backing up. Newer vehicles are often fitted with back-up cameras. These provide wider views that alert drivers to potential hazards.

Regardless of your on-board technologies, nothing replaces a quick double-check of a turned head. Using side and rear view mirrors can also reduce the possibility of an auto-pedestrian collision.

Were you injured by another motorist in a parking lot collision? If so, you may need to file a claim for damages to be fully compensated for your injuries and other losses.