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Parking lots are not as safe as you think

Lafayette, IN auto accident attorney

Pedestrian fatalities are at an all-time high across the United States, according to federal statistics. Most pedestrian fatalities occur on roadsides with poor infrastructure and unaccommodating intersections. Speeding, distracted driving, and drunk driving are often cited as the leading causes.

There is a myth that many people subscribe to: parking lots are safer than major roads. Any location, however, where pedestrians encounter motorists is dangerous, even when cars typically travel at low speeds.

In November 2019, a woman sustained life-threatening injuries after being struck in a Fort Wayne Kroger parking lot. The woman was reportedly struck by an SUV while crossing in front of the store. Police ruled out drugs and alcohol as a factor, but the cause still remains under investigation.

In most cases, driver inattention and speeding are the leading causes of parking lot collisions involving pedestrians. According to the National Safety Council (NSC), there are "tens of thousands" of incidents that occur in parking lots and parking garages each year. Thousands of pedestrians sustain injuries and hundreds lose their lives. Parking lots can be especially dangerous around some holidays when shopping centers become crowded.

Distracted driving puts pedestrians at risk

To find out how prevalent distracted driving is in parking lots, the NCS surveyed more than 2,400 adult drivers across the U.S. According to the poll, respondents said they would engage in the following behaviors while driving through a parking lot:

  • 66 percent said they would make a phone call
  • 63 percent said they would program a GPS
  • 56 percent said they would send or read text messages
  • 52 percent said they would use social media apps
  • 50 percent said they would send or receive emails
  • 49 percent said they would take photos or watch videos

Other factors in parking lot collisions with pedestrians

Visibility is often a problem in parking lots, especially during the winter season when the days are shorter. The lines of parked cars often obstruct visibility for drivers backing out of parking spots and navigating turns.

Snow and ice can be problematic in parking lots this time of year. When drivers fail to slow down to a speed that is safe and prudent, they are more likely to lose control of their cars and cause a pedestrian's injury or death.

Parking lots are not highways. That means drivers are obligated to slow down and always be prepared to stop. The NSC suggests that drivers do the following when traveling through parking lots:

  • Stay in the correct lane and avoid cutting across lots
  • Slow down and use directional signals
  • Obey all signs and traffic signals
  • Pay attention and look both ways when backing out of a space
  • Be extra vigilant of small children and parents with baby strollers

Should you or a loved one be injured while walking in a parking lot, the attorneys at Vaughan & Vaughan can investigate your crash. Evidence gathered from surveillance cameras, a detailed police report, and witness statements can help our legal team build a strong legal claim for you.

For more than a century, our law firm has fought for the rights of injured pedestrians in the greater Lafayette area. To find out how we can help maximize your compensation, contact us online. We offer free case evaluations.

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