Parking space showdowns, deserted shopping carts, and renegade vehicles are turning America’s parking lots into the Wild West at high noon. For some unknown reason, many motorists don’t always display the same etiquette in parking lots that they do on the open road. According to the Insurance Institute for Highway Safety, parking lot accidents account for more than 20 percent of automobile crash claims. In parking lots, unpredictable traffic patterns, preoccupied motorists and inattentive pedestrians can trigger an unfortunate marriage of shopping and sideswiping. Despite what you may expect, the majority of parking lot accidents don’t involve two drivers or even a vehicle and a pedestrian. Most accidents are the result of a driver backing into a parked vehicle. Unfortunately, this increases the chances of a hit and run and the likelihood that you will be left to pick up the shattered glass and the tab at an auto body shop.
A Little Caution Can Save A Lot
Practicing a little caution can help you avoid being the victim of a parking lot calamity or causing one. When driving through parking lots, be sure to follow traffic lanes and obey stop and yield signs as you would in the roadway. Remember to drive slowly and use your turn signal. Independent Insurance Agents and Brokers of America recommends the following tips to avoid parking lot mayhem:
• Never drive diagonally through a parking lot. Drive around empty parking spaces as if they had cars in them.
• When backing out of your parking space, double and triple-check the room behind you, and be aware of other motorists who may be backing out at the same time or waiting for your space.
• Be very cautious in parking lots of convenience stores, post offices and other businesses that have frequent customer turnover.
• Don’t take more than one parking space or park between spots, especially in busy lots. You may gain only retribution from angry fellow shoppers.
• During the day park away from buildings to reduce the chance of dings from other car doors or shopping carts; but avoid secluded areas, especially at night.
• Park in well-lit areas. If the lot is inadequately lit, complain to management. Retailers and parking lot owners can be and have been held liable for accidents in poorly lit parking lots.