A parking lot isn’t the first place that comes to mind when thinking about distracted driving and traffic accidents. Yet, it may surprise you to learn that according to Insurance Institute for Highway Safety, 20 percent of vehicle accidents and more than half of back-over injuries take place in parking lots. Further, the Bureau of Justice Statistics reports that one of ten property crimes occur in a parking lot or garage. So, what can you do to protect yourself and other drivers and pedestrians?

Consider these five tips for keeping you, your property and others safe when parking your car or walking through a parking area:

  1. Never park at the end of an aisle. Why? Your vehicle becomes much more vulnerable to contact from turning vehicles. You also put yourself at greater risk when entering and departing from your car.
  2. Back out slowly from your parking space. This may seem like a no-brainer, but let’s face it—we’re all in a hurry to get to the next place. Backing up can be very dangerous. Adjust your mirrors and be aware of blind spots. When walking in a parking garage, be on alert for other drivers backing up suddenly or those distracted by cell phones.
  3. Park defensively. Avoid crowding vehicles next to you. The National Safety Council recommends backing up into your space—it not only makes for an easier exit but increases the likelihood that drivers will pay closer attention when exiting.  However, backing up carries certain responsibilities, as described in the next tip.
  4. Take precautions when backing out of a parking space. According to the National Safety Council, one of four vehicle accidents is caused by backing out moves. Further, backing accidents cause 500 deaths and 15,000 injuries per year. It’s recommended that you search for hidden hazards like potholes or other tire obstructions.  Look for any possible children in the area.
  5. Increase security measures. The IIAA reports that 80 percent of crimes committed at shopping facilities happen in parking lots. Avoid the potential for carjacking, theft and vandalism by parking in well-lit areas. Have your keys ready as you scan the area for threats. LOCK DOORS at all times and stay off your phone.

For more tips on parking lot safety, see the full Safe Parking Guide at parkwhiz.com. The distracted driving threats described in the first blog in this series, The Rising Cost of Distracted Driving: Facts and Stats apply to driving in parking lots. By following these tips, and others found in Car Parking Safety Tips, you can decrease the chances of becoming the victim of a car accident or crime.

At Nager, Romaine & Schneiberg Co., L.P.A., we understand the devastating effects of being injured in an auto accident in Cleveland caused by a distracted driver. In the coming weeks and months, we’ll provide more information about distracted driving and driving safety. Topics will include pedestrian safety as well as keeping kids and teen drivers safe.

Please read Distracted Driving Facts and Statistics to learn more about what distracted driving is and the devastating impact it can have on others. You can also visit our distracted driving and texting accident page on our website.

If you have been injured or have lost a loved one in a car accident caused by a distracted driver, speak to an auto accident lawyer at NRS right away. Our distracted driving accident attorneys have the experience you need to get the results you deserve and are entitled to by law. Call us toll-free at 1.855.GOT.HURT (1.855.468.4878) or contact us by filling out our No-Risk Consultation Form.