This past month, the Florida Department of Highway Safety and Motor Vehicles heavily promoted their #ShareTheRoadFl campaign, as a way to remind automobile drivers that bicyclists, motorcyclists, and commercial vehicles all have the same rights and responsibilities on the road.
As successful as the campaign has been, drivers often neglect these same responsibilities in parking lots, garages and shopping centers.
According to The National Safety Council, as many as 66% of drivers may be pulling into and exiting out of parking spaces distracted. Additionally, 1 in every 5 accidents occurs in a parking lot or parking garage.
Additionally, the National Safety Council found that at least 60,000 people are injured and approximately 500 people die every year in the more than 50,000 parking lot crashes that occur.
Smartphones may be the reason for this alarming trend. Texting or talking on the phone is the leading reason for distracted driving in general, and the ease one feels in a parking lot may be the reason more drivers are willing to operate their vehicles while distracted. Researchers say the slower speeds in parking lots give people a false sense of security. Even though drivers tend to drive at a slower speed in parking lots and garages, the consequences of driving distracted can still be devastating and deadly.
“It’s just as dangerous to be distracted in a parking lot going 5 mph as it is going 50 mph,” National Safety Council president Deborah Hersman said.
“People have their heads down, they’re on their phones whether they’re behind the wheel or whether they are pedestrians. There is just a lot of inattention out there,” Hersman added.
So what can you do? Consider these 4 tips to avoid an unnecessary and dangerous parking lot accident.
- Back Out Slowly From Your Parking Space – While this may be common sense, we have all been in a rush to leave. Slowly backing out ensures you have checked all your blind spots and have enough time to correct your trajectory or stop if you didn’t notice something in your path.
- Practice Defensive Parking – Avoid squeezing into a space or crowding other vehicles next to you. If possible, back into the space. This will make leaving the space much more safe and easy.
- Take Precautions When Backing Out of a Space – According to the National Safety Council, one of four vehicle accidents is caused by backing out moves. Check for potholes, obstructions to your vehicle, other cars and pedestrians when backing out.
- Be Vigilant – As cautious as you may be while driving in parking spaces, other drivers and pedestrians may not be as careful. Be aware of your surroundings and do not drive distracted, while in parking lots and garage. The Zappitell Law Firm recently resolved a case for 6 figures after a woman was stuck while walking in a retail center by a vehicle backing out of a parking space.
If you have been injured or have lost a loved one in a car accident caused by a distracted driver, speak to us at Zappitell Law Firm. Our personal injury attorneys have the experience you need to get the results you deserve and are entitled to. Give us a call at (561) 330-6330 or check out our website at www.florida.law