Holiday Parking Tips

Pay Attention! Parking Lot Crashes Could Be a Very Real Problem This Holiday Season

We all know just how brutal holiday shopping can get, but it’s not the long lines, the mad dashes for the newest product or the money and time we invest in finding the perfect gifts for our loved ones that we should be worried about. As the National Safety Council tells us, parking lot crashes are one of the biggest hazards in the shopping season.

For those who still go to brick-and-mortar stores (not online stores) for their holiday shopping, this warning from the National Safety Council makes perfect sense. Visit almost any shopping mall in December and you’ll see that traffic is thick, parking spots are hard to find and pedestrians are everywhere. The rise in both traffic and pedestrians is a combination that breeds risk for collisions. The numbers are alarming…

Remember These Important Statistics While Shopping This Year

The National Safety Council and the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration provide some figures that highlight the need for being as safe as possible this holiday season.

  • One out of every five vehicle crashes occur in parking lots and parking structures.
  • Around two-thirds of drivers talk on their phones while driving in parking lots.
  • Around 56 percent of drivers text while driving in parking lots.
  • Every year, over 50,000 crashes occur in parking lots and garages.
  • These crashes cause over 500 deaths and over 60,000 injuries.
  • Pedestrian injuries increased more than 9 percent in 2015 over the year before.
  • From 2001 to 2011, more than 11,000 pedestrians were injured because they were distracted while walking.

Interpreting the Numbers

There are several lessons we can learn from the statistics listed above. The first is that most drivers use their phones while in parking lots, and this is likely a major contributor to the high number of crashes. The second lesson is that pedestrians also play a role in parking lot safety. We all should pay closer attention to our surroundings and be mindful that other drivers and walkers might be also be distracted.

In other words, there’s a simple fix for most of these problems – pay attention. It’s tempting to think that because vehicles are traveling at low speeds there is no immediate danger in parking lots, but as we can see from the numbers, that is simply not the case. The impact of a collision, even at low speed, can be devastating for a pedestrian. The next time you are heading to your favorite store to shop, remember to put your phone away and focus on your environment.

Holiday Parking Lot Safety Tips

  • Use your phone only while your vehicle is still parked.
  • If you are using a GPS or navigation system, enter in your destination before your put your vehicle in drive or reverse.
  • Use your turn signals to notify others of your intentions.
  • When walking in a parking lot, avoid the temptation to use your phone.
  • Don’t wear headphones while walking in a parking lot.
  • When shopping with your children, always keep them close by and watch out for vehicles that are in reverse.
  • If possible, park away from clusters of other parked vehicles in the daytime.
  • Park in well-lit spaces.
  • To avoid having your car broken into, always keep bags or personal items in your trunk.
  • If you are concerned for your safety, ask a security guard to walk you to your vehicle.

If you’re hitting the shopping mall this season, remember to stay focused and look out for pedestrians and vehicles. Even if you aren’t using your phone, the chances are good someone else might be.