In a recent blog post, we looked at who has the right of way in a parking lot. This might seem like a trivial topic for personal injury law. However, parking lot car accidents are more common than you might expect, and can be far more devastating than you would think, given the low speeds of the crash.
In this post, we will look at how common these accidents are. In our next post about car accidents, we will explain why parking lot accidents can be so severe.
Parking Lot Accidents are Far More Common Than Expected
People tend to underestimate the number of car crashes that happen in parking lots because they rarely see them happen in real time and often do not see the scene of the accident after the fact. Meanwhile, it is not uncommon to see the scene of a wreck on a normal roadway.
However, statistics show that 20 percent of car accidents – that is one out of every five – happen in a parking lot. These seemingly minor crashes cause around 500 deaths and 60,000 injuries every single year.
Confined Space and Poor Sight Likely to Blame
The two leading culprits for lots of the car crashes that happen in parking lots are the tight spaces and the poor sight lines.
Parking lots are designed to be filled with vehicles in the parking spaces. These obstruct the view of drivers who are navigating the other parts of the lot, as well as drivers who want to pull out of their parking space and merge into a parking lane. To make matters worse, there is little room to navigate when cars pull out in front of each other.
The issue is even worse for the pedestrians who are a constant presence in parking lots. As they go from the lot to the store or some other destination, they are far more difficult to see than other vehicles because of their smaller size.
Drivers are Even More Distracted in Parking Lots
But there is another issue that increases the number of parking lot accidents: Distracted driving.
According to a study by the National Safety Council, people were even more likely to engage in distracting activities when they were in a parking lot than on the roadway. The study found that, in parking lots:
- 66 percent of drivers make phone calls
- 63 percent set their GPS
- 56 percent text
- 52 percent use social media
- 50 percent use their email
- 49 percent take photos or watch videos on their phone
The reason is simple: Drivers think that parking lots are safer places to drive. So safe that they can let their guards down while they navigate them.
The reality, though, is that lots of things happen in parking lots, including 20 percent of all car crashes.
Missouri Car Accident Lawyers at the Smith Law Office
As we will show in our next article on car accidents, the crashes that happen in parking lots can be shockingly serious, especially when children are involved.
The car accident and personal injury lawyers at the Smith Law Office legally represent victims in St. Joseph, Springfield, Kansas City, and the rest of western Missouri. Contact them online or call their law office at (816) 875-9373.