Although a parking lot may seem like a liminal space between someone’s vehicle and their final destination, it is a location fraught with risk. Many people who are on their way to their vehicles from the grocery store or heading in to get their nails done at a salon end up hurt by motorists.
Given the fact that cars and pedestrians must share space in a parking lot, many people might assume that drivers watch more carefully for pedestrians in parking lots. Unfortunately, according to research by the National Safety Council, the opposite is actually true.
Distraction is a leading cause of parking lot collisions
Even drivers who usually prioritize safety above all else might make unsafe decisions in a parking lot. Roughly two-thirds of drivers would make phone calls when driving in parking lots, which is more than the percentage of people who admit to regularly using their phones while actively driving on the road.
People often think that because they’re in a parking lot with less traffic their temporary distraction will be less of a risk. Unfortunately, their decision to double-check their navigation or respond to a text message might ultimately be the reason that they knock down and severely injure a pedestrian. Motorists who don’t have their eyes on the road could travel a significant distance while distracted and will fail to spot someone who is only a few feet in front of them or directly behind their vehicle when they pull out of a parking space.
Who is responsible for a parking lot collision?
As with crashes that occur on public roads, parking lot collisions are almost always the fault of the driver who strikes the pedestrian. However, there are some exceptions to this rule. For example, the business could be at least partially responsible for the crash and the scenario involving poor maintenance of a parking lot that leads to unsafe driving conditions.
Oftentimes, collisions in parking lots lead to insurance claims and/or civil lawsuits against distracted and negligent drivers, sometimes both. Learning more about what puts pedestrians at risk in public spaces like parking lots can help people avoid these dangerous collisions and to respond more appropriately after experiencing one.