When you think about all the ways that serious (even fatal) car accidents can occur, a wreck in a parking lot or garage probably doesn’t come to mind – but it should.
The National Safety Council says that “tens of thousands” of car wrecks happen in garages and parking lots every year.
Why are parking lots and garages so dangerous?
Probably the number one reason that parking lots and garages are prone to wrecks is that drivers often treat them as if they were basically “safe spaces.”
Something about being at the end (or start) of a journey makes it seem like the rules against distracted driving don’t apply. More than half of all drivers admit that they will send emails, text, check their social media accounts, watch videos or program their GPS while actually in motion as long as they’re in a garage or a lot.
Other reasons include:
- Unpredictable users: Parking lots are shared spaces used by various groups, including cars, pedestrians, cyclists, and sometimes even shopping carts. Different users have varying speeds, priorities and behaviors – which can make using the lot safely actually more challenging than being on a highway, for example, where everything is more predictable.
- Limited visibility: Parking lots and garages can have poor visibility due to the presence of large vehicles, such as SUVs and trucks, as well as obstacles like shopping carts and landscaping. Limited visibility makes it difficult for drivers to see pedestrians or other vehicles, especially when backing out of parking spaces.
- Reckless driving: Some drivers treat parking lots and garages as if they were the Indy 500, speeding along, ignoring traffic signs and not yielding to pedestrians. The close quarters and the likelihood that there’s nobody around to enforce the traffic rules may lead to a sense of complacency among some drivers.
- Impaired driving: Depending on where you are and what time it is, you may encounter drivers who have consumed a lot of alcohol before getting back in their vehicles. They may not realize how impaired they actually are until they cause a wreck.
If you’re injured in a parking lot crash or a wreck in a garage, you have every right to explore your legal options for recovery. Seeking legal guidance is a good way to start.